Today is the Memorial for Saint Lawrence of Brindisi. He was born in 1559 in Italy but lost his parents at a young age. He entered the Capuchin Franciscan order at 16, was ordained a priest at 23 and was a quick study in foreign languages. His knowledge of Hebrew allowed him to study the original texts of the Old Testament and to preach to the Jews in Italy.
Saint Lawrence had a combination of brilliance, human compassion and administrative skill. After being elected minister general of the Capuchins, he was responsible for a great expansion of the Order. Lawrence was appointed papal emissary and peacemaker, which took him to a number of foreign countries. While trying to achieve peace for his native kingdom of Naples, he visited the king of Spain but died from an illness in 1619 in Lisbon.
Saint Lawrence’s role as a peacemaker fits well with our 1st reading today from the Old Testament prophet, Micah. Micah asks the Lord to bring His people to the peace and safety of Bashan and Gilead, 2 places famous for their fertile land and dense forests. Micah was confident God would treat His people gently and mercifully and was convinced of God’s faithfulness to His promises.
We know that God’s promise of peace was fulfilled in the mission of His Son, Jesus Christ. In the 1st chapter of Colossians, we hear that Jesus reconciled all things, “making peace by the blood of His cross”.
So what does this mean for us? In the Beatitudes, Jesus tells us: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." How is God calling us to be peacemakers? Let us ask for the intercession of St. Lawrence to help us take on the challenge of bringing peace and understanding to those we meet today.
-Deacon Steve Whiteman