Today the church remembers Laurence, Deacon, and Martyr at Rome, 258.One of the ancient and sacred duties of a deacon is to distribute food and to care for the poor. Laurence was one deacon who certainly took that assignment seriously. He was the trusted right-hand man of Bishop Sixtus II of Rome. When the Roman emperor, Valerian, had Bishop Sixtus jailed, the bishop entrusted the whole treasury of the church in Rome to Deacon Laurence. Laurence gave it all to the poor and sick. When Valerian learned that Laurence had been given the treasury of the church, he hauled the deacon into court and demanded that he turn over that treasury—the funds of an illegal organization. Laurence responded by assembling a mob of infirm and impoverished persons and presenting them to the ruler, saying, “These are the treasure of the church!” Valerian was greatly angered by this and had Laurence publicly executed. Tradition says that Laurence was roasted alive, slowly, on a skewer. We have no nobler testimony to the faith and character of the third-century Christian church than that of Laurence, deacon and martyr. Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy Deacon and martyr Laurence triumphed over suffering, and despised death: Grant, we beseech you, that enduring hardness, and waxing valiant in fight, we may with the noble army of martyrs receive the crown of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Almighty God, you called your deacon Laurence to serve you with deeds of love, and gave him the crown of martyrdom: Grant that we, following his example, may fulfill your commandments by defending and supporting the poor, and by loving you with all our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.