Humdingers from the Saints: St Lawrence

On his twitter feed a couple years back, Cardinal Dolan remarked, “To be a Catholic should be something liberating. Something fun. We aren’t Puritans, are we? Joy is what attracts people to the Church.” 

Amen, Cardinal Dolan. Amen!

I think sometimes we take ourselves, the saints, and our personal quests for holiness far too seriously. Holiness is far simpler and far more enjoyable than we make it out to be.

Below is a detail from Pellegrino Tibaldi's Martyrdom of St Lawrence (1592) An uncorroborated tradition holds that Lawrence was grilled to death in Rome, and that while being grilled he joked about being cooked well enough to eat, saying "Turn me over. I'm done on this side".  He is the patron saint of cooks and chefs.

I love reading about the saints and learning of their humor, especially in the face of adversity. For example, take St Lawrence, a deacon in the early church whose feast we celebrate every year on August 10. The Prefect of Rome believed the Church to be in possession of great material wealth and demanded that Lawrence bring him the Church’s treasure. Lawrence returned the next day with all the poor and the sick people of Rome whom he so lovingly served. Needless to say, the Prefect was a little “put-out.”

The Prefect was so infuriated that he ordered Lawrence’s death. Wanting it to be especially cruel, Lawrence was tied on top of an iron grill over a slow fire that roasted his flesh little by little. Apparently Lawrence felt nothing, as he was was burning with so much love of God. At one point, he even famously joked,

“Turn me over, I’m done on this side.” 

Ironically- he is now the patron saint of cooks…

You can’t say the Church does not have a sense of humor…

What are your favorite one-liners from the saints? Comment below-I’d love to hear from you!

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