Tuesday, September 28, 2010


According to Pope John Paul II, the saint whom we honor today, the first Filipino saint, was the “most improbable of saints.” Lawrence or Lorenzo Ruiz was the son of a Chinese father and a Tagala mother who worked as a calligrapher for the Dominican parish in Manila. A husband and father of three, he was implicated in a murder. He went to the priests for help and they, believing his innocence but fearing that he would not get a fair trial, put him on a ship. Lorenzo thought the ship was going to Taiwan where, because he was half Chinese, he thought he would find refuge until the matter was forgotten. Instead, the ship went to Japan where Lorenzo and the missionaries on board were soon arrested and put to death. As we continue to pray that the Word of God may transform hearts so that authentic human development and peace may come to the world, let us reflect on the following words of Pope John Paul II when he beatified Lorenzo in 1981 and canonized him in 1987.

The example of Lorenzo Ruiz … reminds us that everyone’s life and the whole of one’s life must be at Christ’s disposal. Christianity means daily giving, in response to the gift of Christ who came into the world so that all might have life and have it to the full (John 10: 10). … To die for the faith is a gift to some; to live the faith is a call for all. …Faith conquers the world. San Lorenzo demonstrated [heroism] as a lay witness to the faith … which is very important in today’s world. The witness of San Lorenzo is the testimony we need of courage without measure to show us that it is possible. Faith and life for Lorenzo were synonymous and inseparable. Life without faith would have been without value; …he proved that sanctity and heroism are there for anybody and the final victory is made to size for each one of us.

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