‘As a theologian steeped in Sacred Scripture and in the Fathers of the Church, [Lawrence was]… able to illustrate Catholic doctrine in an exemplary manner to Christians who, especially in Germany, had adhered to the Reformation. With his calm, clear exposition he demonstrated the biblical and patristic foundation of all the articles of faith disputed by Martin Luther. These included the primacy of St Peter and of his Successors, the divine origin of the Episcopate, justification as an inner transformation of man, and the need to do good works for salvation.
Lawrence’s success helps us to realise that today too, in pursuing ecumenical dialogue with such great hope, the reference to Sacred Scripture, interpreted in accordance with the Tradition of the Church, is an indispensable element of fundamental importance.
…Even the simplest members of the faithful, those not endowed with great culture, benefited from the convincing words of Lawrence, who addressed humble people to remind them all to make their lives consistent with the faith they professed.
This was a great merit of the Capuchins and of other religious Orders which, in the 16th and 17th centuries, contributed to the renewal of Christian life, penetrating the depths of society with their witness of life and their teaching. Today too, the new evangelisation stands in need of well-trained apostles, zealous and courageous, so that the light and beauty of the Gospel may prevail over the cultural tendencies of ethical relativism and religious indifference and transform the various ways of thinking and acting into genuine Christian humanism.
It is surprising that St Lawrence of Brindisi was able to continue without interruption his work as an appreciated and unflagging preacher in many cities of Italy and in different countries, in spite of holding other burdensome offices of great responsibility.
Indeed, within the Order of Capuchins he was professor of theology, novice master, for several mandates minister provincial and definitor general, and finally, from 1602 to 1605, minister general.
In the midst of this mountain of work, Lawrence cultivated an exceptionally fervent spiritual life. He devoted much time to prayer and, especially, to the celebration of Holy Mass — often protracted for hours — caught up in and moved by the memorial of the Passion, death and Resurrection of the Lord.
At the school of the saints, every priest, as was emphasised frequently during the recent Year for Priests, may only avoid the danger of activism — acting, that is, without remembering the profound motives of his ministry — if he attends to his own inner life’.
Pope Benedict XVI
O God, who didst bestow on blessed Lawrence of Brindisi, thy Confessor and Bishop, the spirit of wisdom and fortitude to endure every labour for the glory of thy Name and the salvation of souls: grant us, in the same spirit, both to perceive what we ought to do, and by his intercession to perform the same; 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. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Fr Lee Kenyon