Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Still Catching Up on Forgotten Saints

This one is actually another Doctor of the Church, though few have ever heard of him. Despite his obscurity in modern times, St. Lawrence of Brindisi was a genius by any measure. He mastered at least ten languages and was considered a brilliant theologian by everyone who knew of him. Sadly, I am unaware of any readily available (or even rare) compilation of his works, despite the fact that a twelve volume set was assembled by his Capuchin brethren. It's a shame that Catholics do not have better access to treasures such as these. But I digress.

Lawrence got to be really famous by preaching conversion among the Jews of his day. This was critical for him, and he had great success. He was so comfortable in Jewish settings and spoke the various Semitic languages so well that a lot of them actually thought he must have been a Jew himself. This is very telling with regards to another famous Churchman who I have mentioned here previously.

Lawrence was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Blessed John XXIII back in 1959. I would quote from the relevant encyclical, but the Vatican web site only has it available in Latin and my Latin sucks. How strange, though, that this Pope who is regarded as such a radical ecumenist would elevate a saint so devoted to the conversion of others to such a high station. I think it says a lot about Blessed John that he took such an action. In this age where you have Christians of all sorts who are content to leave Jews ignorant of the wonders of Christ, St. Lawrence provides an example of true charity, the sincere willing of the ultimate good (God Himself) for his fellow man.

St. Lawrence of Brindisi, pray for us!

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