Reformed much of the administration and clerical life in his diocese. Worked to restore and rebuild Christ Church cathedral. As archbishop he accepted the imposition onto Ireland of the English form of liturgy in 1172. Noted for his personal austerity, he wore a hair shirt under his ecclesiastical robes, made an annual 40 day retreat in Saint Kevin‘s cave, never ate meat, fasted every Friday, and never drank wine – though he would color his water to make it look like wine and not bring attention to himself at table. Acted as peacemaker and mediator at the second siege of Dublin in 1170.
In 1171 he travelled to Canterbury, England on diocesan business. While preparing for Mass there he was attacked by a lunatic who wanted to make Lawrence another Thomas Beckett. Everyone in the church thought Lawrence had been killed by the severe blow to the head. Instead he asked for water, blessed it, and washed the wound; the bleeding stopped, and the archbishop celebrated Mass.
Negotiated the 1175 Treaty of Windsor which made upstart Irish king Rory O’Connor and vassal of king Henry II of England, but ended combat. Attended the General Lateran Council in Rome, Italy in 1179. Papal legate to Ireland. Died while travelling with King Henry II, a trip taken as a peacemaker and on behalf of Rory O’Conner. It resulted in his imprisonment and ill-treatment by the king who decided he had had his fill of meddling priests.
Died 14 November 1180 at Eu, diocese of Rouen, Normandy, France of natural causes.
Propers for Lawrence of Dublin - Bishop and Reformer
O ALMIGHTY God, who hast called us to faith in thee, and hast compassed us about with so great a cloud of witnesses; Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of thy Saints, and especially of thy servant Lawrence O'Toole, may persevere in running the race that is set before us, until at length, through thy mercy, we with them attain to thine eternal joy; through him who is the author and finisher of our faith, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle - Philippians 4:4-9.
REJOICE in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice, Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
The Gospel - St. Matthew 25:31-40.
WHEN the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
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