Pray Brethren

Pray Brethren

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Apostolic Doctor

St. Lawrence of Brindisi was named Julius Caesar by his father - but little did his father know how close his son would live up to the name, albiet as a priest weilding a crucifix rather than a sword. One online writer puts it this way:

Imagine if you were a commander facing a well-armed enemy of 80,000 foot and calvary and your troops were outnumbered four to one. You’ve had several skirmishes with the foe, but the big battle would be in a day or two. This gives you time to evaluate the situation, make a strategic retreat, negotiate terms, or do battle. You have a chaplain reputed to be a saint and he works miracles. You know the man and you believe that his reputation is well deserved. When you ask his advice he tells you to prepare for battle and trust God and His holy mother.

This is what happened that October day in 1601 in Hungary, just twenty-three years after the Moslems were defeated in the Mediterranean Sea in the Battle of Lepanto. The saint rallied the troops and led the charge into the enemy lines. Bullets, arrows, and canon balls flew all around him as he held the crucifix on high. One of the bullets miraculously got lodged in his hair. Scimitars were being swung at him from every direction but never did a blade even graze his flesh. Five horses fell wounded beneath him as he galloped back and forth urging the brave warriors to fight on for the victory would be theirs. It was far from an easy victory, but at the end of the day the Turks were routed; they would be back again, and defeated again, eighty years later, at the gates of Vienna. Among those who fought for the empire and Christendom in this battle were bands of German Lutherans. Many of these converted after witnessing the heroism of Father Lawrence and the divine protection so visibly allotted to him. The Moslems were convinced that they were defeated by a “Christian magician.”
St. Lawrence was not only a great warrior and leader, he was also a linguist, diplomat, mystic, and miracle-worker. He was also equally dedicated to the Virgin Mary and his priestly duties. Though his Masses tended to last three hours, a particular Christmas Mass continued for sixteen hours and he was even known to levitate at the altar. Most importantly for us, St. Lawrence is also a Doctor of the Church (bearing the title: "The Apostolic Doctor").

Now there are four kinds of male personalities: the priest, the laborer, the scholar, and the warrior. Sadly, it is very uncommon to find a great priest-scholar who is also a great warrior. Indeed pacifism - the opposite position of the warrior - is a constant temptation among the priestly personality. But when the men and officers in Hungary looked at St. Lawrence, they knew a man they could rightly call "Father".

In this way, St. Lawrence should be the model for every man of a priest-scholar personality.

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