This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August 10 -- Feast of Saint Lawrence

Although he is the patron of cooks, restaurant suppliers, and the poor, ill, and neglected, he ought to also be the patron of wise-ass replies and those who make them.

Lawrence was a deacon (assistant to the bishop in charge of providing for the needs of the poor) during the reign of Valerian and the papacy of Sixtus II. Sixtus and all seven deacons got gaffled up during the persecution and everyone but Lawrence was sentenced to death. As the others were being led to their beheadings, Lawrence asked Pope Sixtus, "Holy Father, how can you leave your deacon behind?" The Pope's answer was something like, "Oh, you're not being left behind for long. You'll be joining us in a few days."

And of course he was right. Emperor Valerian released Lawrence with instructions to return three days later with all the Church's treasure. Lawrence set about selling everything he could lay his hands on and distributing all the money to the poor. Then he gathered up the most miserable, pathetic group of blind, crippled, leprous beggars he could find and trooped them into Valerian's palace, announcing, "These truly are the greatest treasure of the Church." Oh, those Christians -- will they ever stop kidding around?!!

Not until the day they die. The Emperor was not amused, so rather than a quick beheading, Lawrence got the slow roast. The legend says that he took it in good humor, declaring at one point, "You can turn me over. This side is done." At the point of death he said, "I think I am fully cooked now." He then uttered a final prayer and died.

Lest you think that he and Sixtus were the only ones with a sense of humor about this, Lawrence is actually considered the patron of cooks. By the way, the blog from which I took the image suggests that this is a good day to barbecue chicken.

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