Thoughts for July 21 from Fr Willie Doyle

St Lawrence of Brindisi, Doctor of the Church

Feast of St Lawrence of Brindisi (1559-1619), Doctor of the Church

“I will give thee hidden treasures.” Isaiah 45. 3. Jesus has treasures which He hides from those who love Him not and do not seek Him. To His favoured ones, His faithful servants, He opens wide the storehouse where they lie and pours His graces forth unmeasured. He is a hidden God. He dwells not with the proud and haughty. He lingers not amid the tumult of the world.

COMMENT: Fr Doyle didn’t write these sentences about St Lawrence of Brindisi, but they are entirely apt for this feast. I’m not aware that Fr Doyle ever wrote about St Lawrence, but I imagine that he had some affection for him, for St Lawrence was himself a military chaplain, though not quite in the mode of Fr Doyle.

St Lawrence was a remarkable man with a stunning list of achievements. He was a first rate scholar with a command of numerous European and Biblical languages. He was a super-star preacher for who was surrounded by crowds eager to hear him preach (and snip off a piece of his beard or clothing as relics!). He was an advisor to Popes and was sent on delicate diplomatic missions on behalf of the papacy. He was an advisor to royalty throughout Europe. He was an inspirational military chaplain, largely responsible for military victories at a critical juncture in the history of Europe. He held, at one time or another, every office in the Capuchin order, including that of vicar-general (overall superior) and was the founder of several monasteries and convents. To top it all off, he was a renowned mystic and miracle worker.

Fr Doyle tells us today that Jesus has a storehouse of graces which he will pour out on those who love Him and seek Him. We see this in an extraordinary way in the life of St Lawrence. We also see it, albeit with less fireworks, in the life of Fr Doyle.

But we can also experience it in our own lives. We are unlikely to be called to extraordinary acts, but we are called to certain specific duties in life. The welfare and happiness of others depends on our fulfilling these duties properly. We are also called to be an example of vibrant, loving Christianity in our own environment. Perhaps one of the reasons why the Church is under so much pressure in the West, and specifically in Europe and especially in Ireland, is that many people have never actually met genuine, faithful Catholics who have strived to develop the human and supernatural virtues as they ought.

Such a task is not the work of a moment, but rather the challenge of a lifetime. We cannot do this without accessing that storehouse of graces. But we can be confident that Jesus will give us those hidden treasures of grace if we ask for them, and do not block their operation by our attachment to sin.

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