Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A few thoughts on the Feast of St. Laurence

I heard with great interest in this morning's homily about St. Laurence of Rome (225-258 AD, martyr under the persecution of Valerian) that, because of his great work for the poor of the city of Rome (work with the poor is traditionally a role of special importance for deacons), his death sent shock waves through the pagan community at the time and a number of very important people, including several senators, ended up converting to Christianity as a result. And of course, his story has continued to inspire people over the centuries as well.

That's interesting in and of itself, but it also reminded me of a rather striking and challenging quote by Pope John Paul II that I happened to read last week in Memory and Identity: Conversations at the Dawn of a Millennium:
Taking their cue from the Council, Christians can engage with the modern world and enter into a constructive dialogue with it. Like the Good Samaritan, they can also come to the aid of suffering man, tending the wounds that he bears at the beginning of this twenty-first century. Care for the needy is incomparably more important than polemics and denunciations concerning, for example, the role of the Enlightenment in paving the way for the great historical catastrophes of the twentieth century. The spirit of the Gospel is seen primarily in this willingness to offer fraternal help to those in need.
Our pastor exhorted us in this homily to try to be people who can inspire others, even in our own small ways. It makes a lot of sense to me that love tends to be more inspiring than argument. :)

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