“Where’s the money?” demanded the Roman official. “What money?” Lawrence asked. “The Church’s gold and silver,” answered the official. “We know that you’re in charge of the treasury, Lawrence. The government has a right to confiscate those funds. Hand them over.” The Roman official had seen that Pope Sixtus II and four other deacons had been executed, but he didn’t want to kill this deacon, Lawrence, until he had the wealth in his hands. Lawrence responded, “Yes, I will show you the real treasures of the Church, but give me three days.” Lawrence had already sold the gold chalice and other sacred items and had given the money to those who were poor.
In three days, the official returned. He saw rows and rows of people who were diseased, orphaned, blind, lame, and widowed. Lawrence’s comment was “These are the treasures of the Church.” This incident shows how well Lawrence had put on the mind and heart of Christ. Deacons were to serve others, especially those who are poor. Lawrence valued people more than his life.
The Roman official had a huge grill built and placed it over burning coals. This way, he hoped that Lawrence would die very slowly and painfully from the burning heat. But Lawrence is said to have laughed in the face of death. Soon he would see Jesus face-to-face.
Excerpted from Christ Our Life, by Sisters of Notre Dame of Chardon, Ohio
Image credit: Lawrence before Valerianus by Fra Angelico, 1450. Public Domain via Wikimedia.