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The message is familiar: We must give. The message is very familiar to us. We must sacrifice; we know that. To be good Christians, we must give, and we must keep on sacrificing. That is the essence of Christianity. St. Lawrence adds another component to the giving Christian, the sacrificing Christian. What is it? We must sacrifice cheerfully. Sometimes we forget that. Yes, we do sacrifice, but we put on “long faces.” We also complain. We also give in to whining and crying because we lose that very important component of sanctity, which is cheerfulness. We cannot be sad saints. Cheerfulness and holiness always go together.

There is no way of verifying the way St. Lawrence was killed. His biographers claim that when St. Lawrence was being burned in the plaza, he turned to his tormentors and said, “Will you please turn me because this side is overcooked already.” There is no way of verifying this. I am led to believe that. There must be some truth to it because this deacon was known for his cheerfulness even in the midst of his sufferings.

The second component of suffering, giving, and sacrifice is that we must keep it simple. You know we have a tendency to complicate life too much. When life is so simple, we get bored or become afraid because we can understand life too easily. We figure things out too quickly. We get insecure when things are too simple and things are too clear. We think to ourselves that it should not be so.

St. Lawrence was called by the emperor because he was a deacon and he was taking care of the poor. The emperor asked St. Lawrence, “You give me all the treasures of the Church. The Church is very rich. The Church has so many hidden treasures; that’s why you are able to do this. Turn over to the emperor treasures; that is, we of the church.” Lawrence said, “But you’ll have to give me three days because it will take so long to gather all the treasures of the Church.” The emperor said, “I give you three days and then come back bringing to me the treasures of the Church.” After three days, there was a rally in front of the emperor’s house because Lawrence brought all the poor people. Then he said to the emperor, “Your Highness, these are the treasures of the Church.” Such is the simplicity, cheerfulness, courage, and faith of the man we are remembering today.

Sacrifice, yes. It might be painful, yes. But do not give up being cheerful because simplicity and cheerfulness put together lead to holiness.

Jn. 12:24
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