FEAST OF ST. LAWRENCE
Judith, Chapter 8, Verse 8
No one had a bad word to say about her, for she feared God greatly.
Think what it would be like if you could hear what others say about you? Would no one have a bad word to say about you? How is Judith described?
· She was a widow of a successful man “Mannasseh” who died of heat stroke during a barley harvest.
· During the war she had been a widow for 3 years and 4 months choosing not to remarry.
· She lived in a tent on the roof of her house and mourned her husband and worshipped.
· She fasted except for the Holy Days.
· She was beautiful and very lovely to behold.
· She maintained her husband’s property which she owned.
Judith, Instrument of Yahwah
War had been declared between God and Nebuchadnezzar, god against God. Each divinity has an acting human representative. Judith and Holofernes. Judith is a model of Jewish observance. She is a widow whom all knows that she is under the protection of God. She is a strong woman, with the fear of God. Judith counsels the elders of the city Bethulia, that is a mountain stronghold that prevents Holofernes from marching on Jerusalem. The people are thirsty the cisterns are empty all is hopeless, and the elders want to quit. Judith challenges their resolve. She scolds the elders for limiting God to human understanding. "You cannot plumb the depths of the human heart or grasp the workings of the human mind; how then can you fathom God, who has made all these things, or discern his mind, or understand his plan?” Judith prepares for war with prayer. Her call for action has 3 parts.
1. They must set an example because the fate of the nation, the temple, and the people depend on them.
2. They must be grateful to God for this test their affliction is a proof of God’s love for them.
3. They must remember that God tests those He loves and never doubt his fidelity in the midst of their sufferings.
Judith’s prayer illustrates three principles of Holy War
· Trust in God. Do not trust in horses or chariots. Trust in armament is the same as trusting in another god-it is idolatry.
· Power comes from God. Frequently the power of God comes from a chosen person; Moses, David, Jesus, Peter and Judith or Mary Mother of God. The weapons of God are not the same as man. God’s chosen instrument is sometimes weak.
· Victory belongs to the lowly and vulnerable. The weak have no hope except in the power of God. Judith calls on God to win the victory.
St. Lawrence is the patron of cooks-today, have a BBQ in honor of his death for the faith.This young deacon and heroic martyr is numbered among those saints who were most highly venerated by the ancient Roman Church. Even though we have no genuine account of St. Lawrence's martyrdom, we do possess considerable evidence from most ancient times regarding the particulars of his passion. Legendary Acts tell how Lawrence was a disciple of Pope Sixtus II (257-258), who dearly loved him because of his special talents, but principally because of his innocence; in spite of his youth, the Pope numbered him among the seven deacons of Rome and raised him to the position of archdeacon. As such, Lawrence had the immediate care of the altar and was at the side of the saintly Pope whenever he offered the holy Sacrifice; to him also was confided the administration of the goods of the Church and the responsibility of caring for the poor. During the persecution of Emperor Valerian (253-260), Sixtus II and his four deacons were martyred. Lawrence was dispersing items in the house of a certain Narcissus, a blind man named Crescentius asked for healing help by the imposition of hands. The holy deacon made the Sign of the Cross over him and the man began to see. From his relations with Pope Sixtus, it was known that he acted as the steward over the Church's property. He was arrested and while in prison Lawrence cured the blind Lucillus and several other blind persons. Ordered by the authorities to surrender the treasures of the Church, Lawrence asked for two days’ time during which to gather them. The request was granted, and he brought together the poor and the sick that he had supported. These he led to the judge. "Here are the treasures of the Church!" Lawrence was tortured, scourged, and scorched with glowing plates; in other words, Barbequed alive. In the midst of excruciating pain, he prayed: "Lord Jesus Christ, God from God, have mercy on Your servant!" And he besought the grace of faith for the bystanders. At a certain point the soldier Romanus exclaimed: "I see before you an incomparably beautiful youth. Hasten and baptize me." He had observed how an angel dried the wounds of Lawrence with a linen cloth during his passion. Again, during the night, he was dragged before the judge and threatened with immediate death. But he replied: "My God I honor and Him alone I serve. Therefore, I do not fear your torments; this night shall become as brightest day and as light without any darkness." When placed upon the glowing gridiron, he jested with his executioners and the cruel tyrant. "Now you may turn me over, my body is roasted enough on this side." Shortly after this had been done, he cried again: "At last I am finished; you may now take from me and eat." Then turning to God in prayer: "I thank You, O Lord, that I am permitted to enter Your portals." To comfort him during his torments God said to him: "My servant, do not be afraid. I am with you." He was put to death upon the Viminal Hill and buried on the Tiburtinian Way.
Jamie Gavin made headlines worldwide in 1985 when he became the world's youngest heart and lung transplant patient in Harefield hospital, Middlesex. Jamie's surgery was regarded as a success and he returned to Dublin to his brother John and his three sisters Leslie, Katie and Melanie. He was able to live a normal life to a certain extent and attended school with his friends, despite having to regularly return to England for tests and checkups, as well Crumlin hospital in Dublin. The bravery of Jamie was recognized a year after his surgery when Princess Diana presented him with a child of courage award. Tragedy struck the household when Jamie passed away from lymphoma at the age of 11.Science is a great gift to mankind, yet it does not erase the fear of death; only Christ can do this. In fact, we are engaged in a great spiritual battle where our fears are the very chains that enslave us.
Napoleon Hill writes in his tale “Outwitting the Devil” his thoughts on fear during an imaginary interview with the devil to obtain his secrets.
Q. Go ahead and describe your clever tricks, Your Majesty.
A. One of my cleverest devices for mind control is fear. I plant the seed of fear in the minds of people, and as these seeds germinate and grow, through use, I control the space they occupy. The six most effective fears are the fear of poverty, criticism, ill health, loss of love, old age, and death.
Q. Which of these six fears serves you most often, your majesty?
A. The first and the last-poverty and death! At one time or another during life I tighten my grip on all people through one or both of these. I plant these fears in the minds of people so deftly that they believe them to be their own creation. I accomplish his end by making people believe I am standing just beyond the entrance gate of the next life, waiting to claim them after death for eternal punishment. Of course, I cannot punish anyone, except in that person's own mind, through some form of fear-but fear of the thing which does not exist is just as useful to me as fear of that which does exist. All forms of fear extend the space I occupy in the human mind.
Although Napoleon thoughts may not be theologically correct; he still makes a strong case as does our God that fear is the root of sin.
 The Collegeville Bible Commentary