Holy Martyrs Laurence and Romanus – No vocation too small for Christ

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Dear beloved, let us remember the Holy Martyrs Archdeacon Laurence, Pope Sixtus, Felicissimus and Agapitus, deacons, and others, and Martyr Romanus of Rome, may all these saints pray for us.

Martyr Romanus, soldier of Rome, converted to Christianity through Holy Martyr Archdeacon Laurence, when the soldier was imprisoned. The soldier admired the strong faith of St Laurence, and asked to be baptized by the saint. Eventually, St Romanus became a doorman (ostiary) at a church in Rome, and was eventually martyred on August 9, 258, a day before the martyrdom of Holy Martyr Laurence.

The material world compresses and pressurizes many to compete against one another in wealth and fame, and in turn, displace others along such competitive climbs to material summits. The poor gets poorer, while the very few rich, gets richer. Many people trapped in the material world mistake material achievement with actualization, when true actualization is about reconciliation with God, and serving the people of Christ. In true service to Christ and His people (Mark 3:28-35), we find the greatest joy even if it means sacrificing much in our own material desires. Christ encouraged us, that those of us who heartily and dutifully follows the Will of God, will be His relatives.

The Church itself is not spared from people who harbor ambitions. The notion of “ecclesial ambition” is not restricted to particular communities. Even the Orthodox Church may have people who harbor such ambitions. But we need to understand that personal ambition has no bearing when it comes to reconciling with God. 2 Corinthians 10:7-18 reminds us, that we are not to take things by mere appearance, however glorious they may seem. We are not to be proud of ourselves, for only God can commend us if we are doing things right by His Will. Let us never boast, never crave, never harbor ambition, and never forget our one and only goal in life, is to be a humble servant to God, just as Christ Himself showed us what being in service meant, as did all the Holy Apostles and saints before us. The soldier St Romanus was the same. He gladly became the doorman and guard of the Church, and harbored no ambition except to be a dutiful Christian, and God commended him.

The founder of cenobitic monasticism (communities of monks) was St Pachomius the Great, of Egypt. While St Anthony was attributed as a founder of monasticism, he was the father of eremetic monasticism (hermits). St Pachomius was said to be humble and shied away from ambition, rather with strict discipline and faith kept to the rule of monasticism. Many great saints of the Church are the same – away from the world of materialism, facing people in need, but praying in the confines of walls of monasteries. He too, did not harbor ambition, except to pray for the healing of God’s people.

When we think about service to God and His people, what do our hearts say and harbor? Do we follow what 2 Chronicles 7:14-16 and Psalm 25:8-10 admonish us, that we follow the footsteps of saints before us, in humility and acceptance of the Will of God? Let the soldier of Rome, St Romanus, be our example.

Be as children, and let us rely on our Lord, simply pray “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”.

Let us close by praying the thanksgiving prayer:

It is truly meet to call thee blest, the Theotokos, ever blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious than the Seraphim, without corruption thou gavest birth to God the Word: True Theotokos, we magnify thee.

O virgin Theotokos, rejoice; O Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Savior of our souls, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Fr Raphael+

2 Chronicles 7:14-16
Psalm 25:8-10
Mark 3:28-35
2 Corinthians 10:7-18