Sunday, August 07, 2016

The Tears of San Lorenzo

We are having the local fiesta in honor of St Lawrence, so I went to mass last evening at the local neighborhood chapel instead of the larger church in town.

The local Philipino saint is Lorenzo Ruiz, who got martyred when he went to Japan with the Jesuits in medieval times, but our St Lawrence is the deacon who got roasted to death because he refused to tell local officials where he was hiding the church's wealth. When they asked him to point out the riches of the church, he took them into the slums and pointed to the poor people there. As Deacon, in those days his job was that described in Acts: To administer the charitable work so that the apostles could preach and hold the eucharistic services.

So when t the Pope spreads confusion by deciding to "investigate" deconesses, one has to remember that female deacons back then did a similar work of charity, not liturgical work... unless you think dressing  women being immersed for baptism is a work of baptism.

The deaconate gradually evolved, with "brothers" and monks taking over the job of caring for the poor, while deacons became a half step into the priest hood. After Vatican II, deacons were local married men who could hold weddings and funerals and prayer services and baptisms in areas where there was a priest shortage.

The pantssuited new age nuns who are evolving to a higher power, of course, want to be priests, which makes most laypeople shudder. Don't mix them up with the pious nuns who actually do serve the poor. ((Andrew Greeley's satirical novel Virgin and Martyr has a nice picture on the nun fads, but if you read it closely he does include one quiet nun who simply does her work while the main characters are having dramatic stuff going on... I think he is reminding one that these faddish nuns are not the real backbone of the church, even though he wouldn't have a problem with wimen priests who were pious.)

Well, anyway, the feast of St Lawrence is at the same time as the Perseid meteor shower, hence the name "St Lawrence's tears". from the Times of Malta:

Saviour Grech, public relations officer of the Astronomical Society, explained to The Times how a meteor shower is formed: "As night settles this evening our planet silently plunges through the orbit of the comet Swift-Tuttle, encountering debris left over by the comet each time it approaches the sun, every 130 years. This debris rams into the upper atmosphere at speeds of 60 kilometres per second, causing the air to ionise and shed bright streaks of light as the grain sized particles vaporise. This is what we see as meteors or shooting stars. This meteor shower has been observed for a long time and is known as the Perseid Meteor Shower or Dmugh Ta' San Lawrenz (St Lawrence's tears) in Maltese.

Worth watching if it's not overcast.

And the award winning film "night of the Shooting Stars" is named after this phenomenum. Alas, I heard it was a great movie, but when I watched it I found it was mainly people on all sides busy trying to kill each other  even though the war was almost at an end... or maybe because the war was almost at an end. A pretty film but don't watch it unless you want to be depressed.

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