Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The St. Lawrence Tear-Way

The martyrdom of St. Lawrence is remembered this week. The story that caught my eye was in yahoo news with a faulty link to space.com. I think this is the source article.
"Laurentius, a Christian deacon, is said to have been martyred by the Romans in 258 AD on an iron outdoor stove. It was in the midst of this torture that Laurentius cried out: 'I am already roasted on one side and, if thou wouldst have me well cooked, it is time to turn me on the other.'

The saint's death was commemorated on his feast day, Aug. 10. And the abundance of shooting stars seen annually between approximately Aug. 8 and 14 have come to be known as St. Lawrence's 'fiery tears.'"

We call these the Perseid meteors. And if you were sailing in a spaceship, this might be your porthole view,
(I think these were Leonids)

This fanciful story of the Saint asking to be turned on the spit is not acknowledged in the Catholic Encyclopedia 1913.

Other versions are that as the late Saint's friends were carrying the body to be buried, they witnessed the meteor shower and opined that the heavens were crying firey tears.

I have another version that is not for those prone to mal de mer. In my version, as the Saint roasted, the fat dripping on the coals flamed and spat just like the meteor shower that was already known to occur at that time of year.

If this is the case, instead of the tears of St. Lawrence, the Pereids should be called the "flaming spittles of fat" of St. Lawrence.

Early this morning at 4:00 a.m., I arose and scanned the heavens. Despite the glow from city lights, I was able to count 12 meteors in 1 hour. 11 were Perseids, 1 came from another direction directly towards Perseus, perhaps that was a St. Lawrence tear.

1 comment:

The Underground Pewster said...

From Psalm 97 appointed to be read this morning,

4 His lightnings light up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness;
and all the peoples behold his glory.

Are these the verses of St. Lawrence?