O God, giver of that ardour of love for you
by which Saint Lawrence was outstandingly faithful in service
and glorious in martyrdom,
grant that we may love what he loved
and put into practice what he taught.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
(Collect for the Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr)
A friend of mine frequently asks half-jokingly, “Do you even love Jesus?” when he feels some amount of fraternal correction is in order. Depending on the context, the effect varies from being quite hilarious to quite sobering. It’s one thing to be asked whether you love Jesus when you admit that you’ve been negligent in your daily Rosary; it’s something else to hear it when you admit to being negligent in washing the dishes.
Or at least, it seems that way—but when it comes right down to it, every aspect of our lives should be lived out of love for Jesus, and our love for Jesus should inform and energise every aspect of our lives.
I can tend to be a very all-or-nothing kind of guy. The kind of guy who is inspired to pray the entire Rosary every day, but if I realise I won’t have time or opportunity to pray all 20 decades, is then tempted to think, Why bother praying even one, then? And this attitude applies to every aspect of my life. I’ve had to realise that this is absurd and unhealthy, and to consciously force myself to do whatever I can in the moment, rather than to hold out for the opportunity for the grand gestures, because if I’m not being faithful in loving Jesus in the small, day-to-day moments, and in the ordinary people in my life, the opportunity to love Him “when it counts ” will never come. The everyday moments are when it counts!
Yesterday was the Feast of St. Lawrence. This Deacon of the early Church knew that the honour of dying for his love of Jesus began with his living for his love of Jesus. His diligent stewardship of the Church’s finances, his filial obedience to Pope Sixtus II, and his willingness to see Jesus in the poorest of the poor prepared and fortified him for the final, grand gesture of his love for Jesus. Lawrence witnessed the truth of the Gospel by laying down his life for Jesus long before he was put to death for Him.
Like St. Lawrence, if we desire to be able to make the ultimate heroic sacrifice, we need to be living every moment with heroic virtue. Our martyrdom begins now.
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