II Corinthians 9.6-10; Psalm 111; John 12.24-26
“Bring me the treasure of the church” the Roman prefect demanded of Lawrence, one of the seven Deacons of the Roman Church. St Ambrose records that Lawrence asked for three days to respond to the request. On the third day a procession of the blind, lame and indigent, with Lawrence at their head, made their stumbling way towards the astonished prefect. “Here they are,” Lawrence proclaimed. “These are the treasures of the church.”
Little can be said with certainty about Lawrence’s life (ca 225-258). He was apparently born in Aragon and came to Rome with the future Pope Sixtus II after being taught by him in Spain. He was martyred on a gridiron during the persecution of Emperor Valerian. (A tradition that can’t be verified has it that after he had lain for some time on the hot coals he shouted out “Turn me over; I’m done on that side!”) Five ancient basilicas in Rome are dedicated to him, including one built over his tomb.