Archive for the ‘St. Lawrence’ Category

The Saint Lawrence

August 10, 2020

The Feast of St. Lawrence

The Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario) comprise the largest body of freshwater in the world. All told, these five lakes contain one-fifth of all the freshwater on the surface of the earth, about six quadrillion gallons (that’s six million billions) a figure not fully fathomable for the human mind. Like all moving waters, these flow downhill from high to low. Near Buffalo, New York, between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, they descend 167 feet with a mighty rushing sound at Niagara Falls. Leaving Lake Ontario, they become a river that flows past a “royal mountain” and city of the same name: Montréal. The name of this river in which whales swim, which empties into the world-spanning ocean, is the Saint Lawrence River.

The river is named for St. Lawrence, one of the Seven Deacons of Rome under St. Pope Sixtus II. (Both of these saints’ names are invoked at Mass in Eucharistic Prayer I.) In 258 A.D., the Roman Emperor Valerian issued an edict commanding that all bishops, priests, and deacons should immediately be put to death. The pope and many others were martyred, including St. Lawrence on his present feast day, August 10th. Back then, deacons managed the Church’s funds and charitable efforts. Though the tale is uncertain, St. Ambrose of Milan writes that when his persecutors demanded that Archdeacon Lawrence handover the Church’s treasures, he showed them the poor and the sick. This same source also recounts how during his slow death upon a gridiron over a fire St. Lawrence quipped, “I am cooked on that side; turn me over…

God’s graces are like The Great Lakes; vast, life-giving waters beyond our full comprehension. They flow down from above into a channel open to receive them, like the Saint Lawrence. Through such rivers, waters pour forth across the world in the sight of the Royal Mountain and the City of God to the delight of the angels. Let us imitate St. Lawrence and God’s other saints who by humble willingness became mighty streams of His goodness and glory.