Superior Roles: Laurence

By Moe Lane (


Everyone wonders about Laurence's Roles.

To begin with, he maintains fewer ones than any other Superior: among other things, he simply doesn't have the time to stay away from the War very often. He never talks about them, either: while you can count on Michael chuckling over some demonic drill sergeant getting the surprise of his life, or perhaps Novalis showing off pictures of the baby she helped deliver last week, Laurence just sits there and smiles. His Servitors have learned to recognize when their Archangel is maintaining a particular Role, though, and while nobody means to blab, well, word gets out. When that happens, those interested keep an eye out for young idealism on any number of violent battlefields. Most believe that he emulates Michael and goes to be a soldier: some suspect, instead, that he becomes a police officer of some sort.

They couldn't be more wrong.

Somewhere in the world, there's a monastery. The actual one changes every seventy years or so, but there's always one that seems especially peaceful. The monks are particularly known for their holiness and charity, the surroundings (whether in the countryside or in a busy city) are amazingly serene, and the music that comes from it ... well, there's no other word for it than 'glorious'.

And, somewhere in the middle of it all, is a monk, humble, pious and happy.

Laurence never seeks to be abbot: he never even seeks to be more than a simple monk. He starts as a postulant of no particular rank or station, and goes about his days and prayers with a fervor that is no less real for having been done dozens of times before. He grows 'old' in his Role (with one or two of his most trusted Servitors to hold his place when he must put his full effort into the War), and in the process, quietly and joyfully reaffirms the faith of those around him. His fellow-monks soon learn that Brother Laurence seems to have a special understanding of the world, God, and man's relationship to both - and that he is the person to speak to when one is struggling with one's vocation. By the time that he finally dies of 'old age', he has forged links among his brethren that last even after he's gone. Not that Laurence is ever really gone: there'll always be Servitors of the Sword that will be in the area. The Archangel of the Sword may not be able to protect every Catholic institution, but by God he'll protect these.

It may seem odd for such a ferocious warrior to devote himself so wholeheartedly to a Role dedicated to peace, but Laurence has his reasons. Doing this means that he has a constant reminder about why there's a War in the first place. You can't effectively defend something that you don't love. Being among humans, ministering to the sick, feeding the hungry, comforting the dying and bereaved, deliberately seeking a subordinate position in obedience to God's will - all of this reminds Laurence about why he loves humanity. It also allows him to serve this maddening, contradictory, wonderful species directly. Laurence misses that. There are many joys in service. The peace that he finds here stays with him when he must do war upon the Enemy.

And, admittedly, it does give him a place where he can sit and think without too much distraction.


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