Happy Tuesday of the 4th Week of Lent Everybody!
It's Victor from Alabama again. We are past the half-way mark of Lent...so hang in there...keep running hard after the Lord. And don't forget to SMILE along the way.
Today's Station Church is San Lorenzo in Damaso. Originally on this site were the stables of one of the chariot teams of Ancient Rome!
Over time this area became residential. One home built on this site was that of Pope St. Damasus (304-384 AD). He was elected Pope in 366 AD. He helped to defend the Church against a couple strongly supported heresies (i.e. false beliefs) and also worked hard to encourage devotion to the many saints and martyrs buried in Rome. He encouraged this devotion by adorning their burial sites and by writing many beautiful verses and reflections about their lives.
St. Damasus had a special devotion throughout his life to St. Lawrence--one of the famous martyrs of Rome. Thus, during his papacy, he converted his home into this Church dedicating it to his favorite Roman martyr saint--St. Lawrence. You have heard much about St. Lawrence from other posts, but I take a moment to recall a few details. St. Lawrence was a deacon of the Church in Rome. Being especially intelligent and capable as an administrator, he was placed in charged of all of the Roman Churches relics and treasures. During his life, the Emperor Valerian began to seriously persecute Christians. In one instance, a Senator under Valerian ordered St. Lawrence to bring all of the Church's treasures to his palace.
So, St. Lawrence went around Rome gathering up all of the poor, blind, lame, and cripple of the streets and brought them before the Senator. The Senator was outraged and demanded that St. Lawrence show the treasures that he had brought. St. Lawrence responded, "Well here they are. These poor are, indeed, the greatest treasures that the Church has to offer."
Not appreciating St. Lawrence's sense of humor and irony, Lawrence was sentence to be grilled to death. Lawrence met his death with an incredible bravery, peace, and...believe it or not...a great sense of humor! Tradition holds that as Lawrence calmly laid on the grill burning to death, he told his executioners, "Hey! You better turn me over, I am done on this side!" Hahaha. It is easy to see why he stands today as the patron saint of Comedians.
What a strange Paradox...a seeming contradiction...that Christian Joy presents to this world!!! Being so in love with God...so filled with the Holy Spirit...as to joke, laugh, and persevere even in the midst of one's "darkest hour."
Thank you St. Lawrence for you inspiring example of the HOPE and JOY we have in Jesus Christ.
Now for some pictures.
This is a shot of the nave and sanctuary of the Church
This is a closer shot of the main altar. It contains the remains of Pope St. Damasus and another saint named Eutyches
Here is a statue in the church of St. Charles Borromeo, a famous Italian Saint from Milan. My first seminary was named after him, so I figured we should take a picture together.
Here is one of those precious treasures that St. Lawrence was talking about. Every time I have visited this Church I have beheld at least one such treasure. I am sure St. Lawrence and his biggest fan--St. Damasus--are pleased to have their company
Alright, I am not sure why everything is underlined right now. But I cannot seem to fix it...so ENJOY!!!
Have a Blessed Day!