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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Readings for the Feast of Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr, August 10

Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr – Feast

Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”  John 12:24

This is a catchy phrase, but it reveals a truth that is hard to accept and live.  Jesus speaks directly about the need to die to yourself so that your life will bear abundant good fruit.  Again, easy to say, hard to live.

Why is this hard to live?  What is hard about it?  The hard part begins with the initial acceptance of the fact that dying to yourself is necessary and good.  So let’s look at what that means.

We begin with the analogy of a grain of wheat.  That grain must detach from the head and fall to the ground.  This image is one of complete detachment.  That single grain of wheat must “let go” of everything.  This image tells us that if we want God to work miracles in us, we must be ready and willing to let go of all to which we are attached.  It means we enter into a true abandonment of our will, our preferences, our desires and our hopes.  This can be very hard to do because it can be very hard to understand.  It can be hard to understand that detaching from all that we want and desire is actually good and is actually the way that we become prepared for the new and much more glorious life awaiting us through the transformation of grace.  Death to ourselves means we trust God more than the things we are attached to in this life.  It means we believe that God’s plan is infinitely better than any plan we can come up with.

When the grain of wheat does die and enters the ground, it fulfills its purpose and grows into so much more.  It is transformed into abundance.

Saint Lawrence, a third century deacon and martyr whom we remember today, presents us with a literal image of one who gave up everything, including his very life, so as to say “Yes” to God.  He gave up all his wealth, and when commanded by the prefect of Rome to turn over all the treasures of the Church, Lawrence brought to him the poor and the sick.  The prefect, in anger, sentenced Lawrence to death by fire.  Lawrence gave up everything to follow His Lord.

Reflect, today, upon that which God may be calling you to let go of.  What is it that He wants you to surrender?  Surrendering is the key to letting God do glorious things in your life.

Lord, help me to let go of my own preferences and ideas in life that are not in accord with Your divine will.  Help me to always believe that You have an infinitely better plan.  As I embrace that plan, help me to trust that You will bring forth an abundance of good fruit.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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