July 21, 2006

Lawrence of Brindisi

Today we celebrate St. Lawrence, a Capuchin friar who had an illustrious preaching career around the turn of the 17th century. He was declared a doctor of the church in 1959.

Three Franciscans have been declared doctors: Anthony of Padua, Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, and Lawrence of Brindisi. That might not sound like very many, but it actually is compared to the other religious families of the western church. As far as I know the Jesuits have two, Robert Bellarmine and Peter Canisius, the Dominicans have two, Catherine of Siena and Thomas Aquinas, and the Carmelites have two, Therese of Lisieux and John of the Cross. Not that this is a competition.

These saints participated in the teaching ministry of Christ in very special ways. Nevertheless, all the baptized have a share in Christ the teacher. The ways we pray and behave and treat one another are an education for those around us. Our lives teach people whether or not the message we bring is really good news, whether it's worth the risk to try to love, whether or not there just might be Someone here whom we clumsily call "God."

Read more about Lawrence here, and check out one of his sermons here. Learn more about the doctors of the church here.


Crescentius said...

My dear Brother:

How true your words ring, like the bell I hear every morning calling me to prayer!

I found fruit in your words about our lives teaching the Gospel; or at least, our lives should not give people an excuse to discredit the Gospel message.

I am still in Central America and have taken your words to heart and have seen this teaching in the brothers around me. You see, I have been very sick the past week. The doctor thought I might have dengue. I had a high fever and was in pain. After tests, it turns out I have a nasty intestinal infection.

In my room for four days in bed I realized that it was hard to pray while sick. You canot "manufacture" a God moment through verbal prayer or even meditation. The only thing I could do was be still and accept. I accepted the Love of God as he was showing me how frail and small I really am. I accepted the Love of my brother friars, many I have just met for the first time. It was in the love they showed me, in my helplessness that I was tought about the Gospel message.


Honora said...

How true -- it is often in helplessness that our greatest lessons come.