Skip to comments.Sermon: Preaching is an apostolic duty [St. Lawrence of Brindisi]
Posted on 07/21/2008 8:26:32 AM PDT by Salvation
From a sermon by Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, priest 1559 - 1619
Preaching is an apostolic duty
There is a spiritual life that we share with the angels of heaven and with the divine spirits, for like them we have been formed in the image and likeness of God. The bread that is necessary for living this life is the grace of the Holy Spirit and the love of God. But grace and love are nothing without faith, since without faith it is impossible to please God. And faith is not conceived unless the word of God is preached. Faith comes through hearing, and what is heard is the word of Christ. The preaching of the word of God, then, is necessary for the spiritual life, just as the planting of seed is necessary for bodily life.
Christ says: The sower went out to sow his seed. The sower goes out as a herald of justice. On some occasions we read that the herald was God, for example, when with a living voice from heaven he gave the law of justice to a whole people in the desert.
On other occasions, the herald was an angel of the Lord, as when he accused the people of transgressing the divine law at Bochim, in the place of weeping. At this all the sons of Israel, when they heard the angel's address, became sorrowful in their hearts, lifted up their voices, and wept bitterly. Then again, Moses preached the law of the Lord to the whole people on the plains of Moab, as we read in Deuteronomy. Finally, Christ came as God and man to preach the word of the Lord, and for the same purpose he sent the apostles, just as he had sent the prophets before them.
Preaching therefore, is a duty that is apostolic, angelic, Christian, divine. The word of God is replete with manifold blessings, since it is, so to speak, a treasure of all goods. It is the source of faith, hope, charity, all virtues, all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, all the beatitudes of the Gospel, all good works, all the rewards of life, all the glory of paradise: Welcome the word that has taken root in you, with its power to save you.
For the word of God is a light to the mind and a fire to the will. It enables man to know God and to love him. And for the interior man who lives by the Spirit of God, through grace, it is bread and water, but a bread sweeter than honey and the honeycomb, a water better than wine and milk. For the soul it is a spiritual treasure of merits yielding an abundance of gold and precious stones. Against the hardness of a heart that persists in wrongdoing, it acts as a hammer. Against the world, the flesh and the devil it serves as a sword that destroys all sin.
Source: The Liturgy of the Hours - Office of Readings Saint Lawrence 1559 - 1619 was born in 1559 at Brindisi, Kingdom of Naples. He was educated by the Conventual Franciscans there and by his uncle at St. Mark's in Venice. At 16, he entered the Capuchin Friars at Verona. He pursued his higher studies in theology, philosophy, Sacred Scripture, along with several languages including Greek, Hebrew at the University of Padua. He was ordained a priest and taught theology to his fellow religious. He became the definitor general of his order in Rome in 1596 and would hold this position five times. He became famous throughout Europe as an effective and forceful preacher.
He was sent to Germany with Bl. Benedict of Urbino to combat Lutheranism. They founded friaries at Prague, Vienna and Gorizia. At the request of Emperor Rudolf II, Lawrence helped raise an army among the German rulers to fight against the Moslems, who were threatening to conquer all of Hungary. Lawrence became its chaplain as it was about to march against the Moslems. Thebattle of Lepanto had only temporarily checked the Moslem invasion. Mohammed III had conquered a large art of Hungary. The emperor, determined to prevent a further advance, sent Lawrence to appeal to the German princes to join the imperial army to stop the Turks. He was successful recruiting the Germans and the daring attack against Moslem-held Albe-Royal in 1601 was on with 18,000 Christian soldiers against 80,000 Turks. In battle, Lawrence rode on horseback, crucifix in hand and took the lead in the battle, which drew an inspired army with him. The city was finally taken and the Turks lost 30,000 men. Many attributed the ensuing victory to Lawrence.
In 1602 Lawrence was elected vicar general of the Capuchins and was sent to Spain as a papal nuncio to the court of Maximilian of Bavaria. There he served as peacemaker in several royal disputes. In 1618 he was called again to meet with King Philip of Spain, but while there, he suffered from heat and exhaustion and at the age of 60, he died at Lisbon in 1619. Saint Lawrence wrote a commentary on Genesis and several treatises against Luther, but his main writing are in the nine volumes of his sermons. He was canonized in 1881 and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope John XXII in 1959. The above is one of his sermons:
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Everyone is a preacher.. We preach more loudly what we do or do not do than by our words.. One famous Roman Catholic said.. “I always preach, sometimes even with words”..(paraphrased)..
This is so true — might even be called evangelization, huh?
Saint Lawrence of Brindisi,
Priest & Doctor of the Church
(1559-1619). He was Italian and a Capuchin with great teaching, writing, and leadership abilities. His writings include a commentary on Genesis, several treatises against Luther, and nine volumes of sermons. He preached in many religions of Europe and died in Lisbon.
Source: Daily Roman Missal, Edited by Rev. James Socías, Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois ©2003
for the glory of your name and the salvation of souls
you gave Lawrence of Brindisi
courage and right judgement.
Help us to know what we should do
and give us the courage to do it.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you ad the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
First Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:1-2,5-7
Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.
Gospel Reading: Mark 4:1-10, 13-20 [or Mark 4:1-9]
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, "Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight--" John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel's hair, and had a leather girdle around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, "After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove.
And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel."
And passing along by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men." And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and followed him.
Our Patron, St. Lawrence of Brindisi (1559 1619), was born as Julius Caesar Russon, in Brindisi, Italy, on July 22, 1559.
He entered the Capuchin Franciscan Order in Venice when he was only 16 years old. He studied philosophy and theology at the University of Padua and was ordained a priest when he was 23 years old.
By the time he died on his sixtieth birthday, he had accomplished many things. He was widely recognized for his outstanding intellect, human compassion and administrative skills. As a scholar, he was good at languageshe studied the Bible using the original texts. But his skill in languages also came in handy when the Pope asked him to travel to several foreign countries as a peacemaker. In keeping with the Franciscan tradition, he was always concerned with the ordinary people.
He was elected the Minister General of the Capuchins in 1602. With St. Lawrence as its leader, the Capuchin Order grew rapidly.
St. Lawrence died on his sixtieth birthday in Lisbon, Portugal, on one of his peacemaking trips for the Pope to the King of Spain. St. Lawrence was beatified in 1783 and was canonized in 1881. In 1959 he was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope John XXIII. His feast day is July 21.
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