God laughs at man’s plans.
That’s because God has already given us the only plan we need. A plan to get through this life worthy of the next. And that is enough.
Lawrence of Rome Followed the Plan
Today is the feast day of Saint Lawrence of Rome. Lawrence is the patron saint of, among others, comedians.
Lawrence was the leader of a group seven deacons whose mission was to distribute alms to the poor. This mission was established by the Apostles (Acts 6:1-6,8:1,4-8) and was still in practice 200 years later when Lawrence lived.
Christianity was still against the law in Rome during Lawrence’s time. Punishable by death. After the pope (Sixtus II) and the other six deacons were beheaded, Lawrence was called before the Roman tribunal. He was ordered to bring with him the treasures of the church.
Lawrence quickly disbursed all of the church’s treasure amongst the poor so the Caesar couldn’t get it. Then, when he appeared before the tribunal, he brought with him dozens of the widows, orphans, poor, and lame he cared for.
“These are the church’s treasures,” he told the tribunal.
For cracking wise, the tribunal ordered Lawrence tortured to death: roasted on a gridiron over hot coals. (See the featured image.) While on the gridiron, instead of begging for mercy, Lawrence mocked his executioners, saying, “I’m done on this side; turn me over.”
Why Should We Follow the Plan?
I don’t want to get morbid here, but things aren’t going so well if you haven’t noticed. The kinds of people who read this blog are being targeted by Antifa mobs for violence, silenced on Facebook and Twitter, and threatened even by politicians of the Democratic party.
For the time being, President Trump holds our torturers and persecutors at bay. But Trump won’t be president forever. He could be out of office a year from now should the Democrats take over the House and Senate in January. And, if Trump is impeached and convicted, the future President Pence has little chance of winning in 2020.
We could then fight a bloody civil war. It would be a low-level war fought in small skirmishes. A guerilla war that lasts for decades.
As that war wears on, America’s economy would falter. Our ability to maintain a defense would languish. We would be at the mercy of foreign powers like China, Russia, and even Iran. Even if the forces on the right prevailed in the civil war, the victory would be pyrrhic. The America we’d inherit would scarcely resemble the America of our birth or even of America’s birth.
And, in the end, we’d all have blood on our hands. At least all of us who took up arms or supported one side in the war.
But I’m not sure that’s God’s will. What’s the point of gaining the whole world if we lose our souls in the process?
Our early Christian fathers and mothers didn’t fight Rome with arrows and fire. They fought evil with good works, prayer, and hope in Christ. They were tortured and died following the plan. The Plan.
The plan, which I mentioned yesterday, is pretty simple: love God above all things, love your neighbor as yourself, pray incessantly, share the plan with others by preaching the good news, and receive the sacraments. In short, live the life of a saint and do it more out of love of God than out of fear of eternal punishment.
The Plan Isn’t Easy
I know all too well how difficult it can be to follow the plan. People who know me best know that I follow the plan the way a drunk walks the line. Serpentine.
But just because the plan is hard is no reason to give up. In fact, the plan’s difficulty is probably what makes it worth living. (Maybe I started taking cold showers and fasting regularly to prepare to follow the Plan.) When Christ said to Peter “If you love me, follow me,” He was talking about the cross. Follow me to the cross.
[Find out how to hold your breath for 3 minutes by fasting.]
I don’t know if I’ll be able to walk the line straight this time. Maybe if you pray for me, that God sends His Holy Spirit to flood my heart and soul. But I’m going to chronicle my journey here in hopes that it might help others. If you notice I’m writing more about politics than about the Plan, you’ll know I’ve staggered off the line. Feel free to nudge back on.
If I don’t make it, maybe you will. I seem to have a bit of a gift for getting large numbers of people moving in the same direction. Plus, we are told that following the Plan leads to unimaginable joy and happiness. St. Lawrence is, I believe, happier than the Romans who roasted him. And happiness loves company.