Laurence (or Lawrence) was chief of the seven deacons of the congregation at Rome, the seven men who, like Stephen and his companions (Acts 6:1-6), were in charge of administering the church budget, particularly with regard to the care of the poor. In 257, the emperor Valerian began a persecution aimed chiefly at the clergy and the laity of the upper classes. All Church property was confiscated and meetings of Christians were forbidden. The bishop of Rome, Sixtus II, and most of his clergy were executed on 7 August 258, and Laurence on the 10th. This much from the near-contemporary records of the Church.
The accounts recorded about a century later by Ambrose and the poet Prudentius report that the Roman prefect, knowing that Laurence was the principal financial officer, promised to set him free if he would surrender the wealth of the Church. Laurence agreed, but said that it would take him three days to gather it. During those three days, he placed all the money at his disposal in the hands of trustworthy stewards, and then assembled the sick, the aged, and the poor, the widows and orphans of the congregation, presented them to the prefect, and said, “These are the treasures of the Church.” The enraged prefect ordered him to be roasted alive on a gridiron. Laurence bore the torture with great calmness, saying to his executioners at one time, “You may turn me over; I am done on this side.” The spectacle of his courage made a great impression on the people of Rome, and made many converts, while greatly reducing among pagans the belief that Christianity was a socially undesirable movement that should be stamped out.
Commemoration Ss. Tiburtius Agrestius Chromatus was vicar to the prefect of Rome, and had condemned several martyrs in the reign of Carinus; and in the first years of Diocletian, St. Tranquillinus, being brought before him, assured him that, having been afflicted with the gout, he had recovered a perfect state of health by being baptized. Chromatius was troubled with the same distemper, and being convinced by this miracle of the truth of the Gospel, sent for a priest, and, receiving the Sacrament of Baptism, was freed from that corporal infirmity. Chromatius’s son, Tiburtius, was ordained subdeacon, but accused by a traitor, he was brought before the prefect Fabianus and tried. He confessed his faith, which he confirmed by a miracle, for, protecting himself only by the sign of the cross, he walked barefoot over red-hot coals without suffering any injury. But the miracle was ascribed to magic and Tiburtius was beheaded at the third milestone of the Via Labicana in the year 286. The spot of execution was called “at the two laurel trees” (ad duas lauros). His father, Chromatius, retiring into the country, lived there concealed, in the fervent practice of all Christian virtues.
St. Susanna (icon) The beautiful daughter of Gabinius, a priest, and niece of Pope Caius, Susanna refused Emperor’s Diocletian request that she marry his son-in-law, Maximian and converted two of her uncles, Claudius and Maximus who were court officers sent by Diocletian to persuade her to marry, to Christianity. Diocletian was so enraged by what she had done that he sent one of his favorites, Julian, to deal with the matter. Julian had Maximus, Claudius and his wife, Praepedigna, and their two sons, burned to death at Cumae, and then had Susanna and her father beheaded.
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INTROIT Psalm 96: 6
Praise and beauty are before Him: holiness and majesty in His sanctuary. (Ps. 95: 1) Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle; sing to the Lord all the earth. v. Glory be…etc
Grant us, we beseech Thee O almighty God, to extinguish the flames of our evil dispositions, as Thou didst grant blessed Lawrence to overcome the fires of his torments. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.
Commemoration Ss. Tiburtius and Susanna
May the constant protection of Your holy Martyrs, Tiburtius and Susanna, support us, O Lord, for You never fail to look mercifully upon those whom You have given the help of such intercession. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
EPISTLE 2 Corinthians 9: 6, 10
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians. Brethren, He who soweth sparingly, shall also reap sparingly: and he who soweth in blessings, shall also reap of blessings. Everyone as he hath determined in his heart; not with sadness, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound in you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work; as it is written, He hath dispersed abroad, He hath given to the poor: His justice remaineth forever. And He that ministereth seed to the sower, will both give you bread to eat, and will multiply your seed, and increase the growth of the fruits of your justice.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 18: 3
Thou hast proved my heart, O Lord, and visited it by night. V. Thou hast tried me by fire, and iniquity hath not been found in me. Alleluia, alleluia. V. The levite Lawrence wrought a good work, who by the sign of the cross gave sight to the blind. Alleluia.
GOSPEL John 12: 24-26
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: “Amen. amen, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground, die, itself remaineth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life, shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world, keepeth it unto life eternal. If any man minister to Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there also shall My minister be. If any man minister to Me, him will My Father.”
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 95: 6
Praise and beauty are before Him: holiness and majesty are in His sanctuary.
Accept, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the gifts offered Thee, and, by the interceding merits of blessed Lawrence, grant that they may be to as a help unto our salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever.
Commemoration Ss. Tiburtius and Susanna
Heed the prayers of Your people, O Lord; look with favor on their offerings, so that what is offered in this sacred rite may please You by the intercession of Your Saints. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
COMMUNION ANTIPHON John 12: 26
If any man minister to me, let him follow Me: and where I am, there also shall My minister be.
Filled with Thy sacred gift, we humbly beseech Thee, O Lord, that what we celebrate with our homage duly given by the intercession of Thy blessed martyr Lawrence, we may also know as an increase of Thy saving grace within us. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever.
Commemoration Ss. Tiburtius and Susanna
We have received, O Lord, the pledge of everlasting redemption; may it, by the intercession of Your holy Martyrs, be our help both now and in the life to come. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.