Saturday, December 26, 2015 Feast of Saint Stephen
John, Chapter 7, verse 13:
Still, no one spoke openly about him because they were afraid of the Jews.
Stephen is unjustly persecuted; yet he prays for his persecutors. Can we excuse ourselves if we do not love our enemies? Were not Stephen, and others who have imitated him, men like ourselves? With the grace of God, could not we do what they have done? Could we call ourselves Christians were we not to do this? No; for the love of our neighbor, and of our enemy also, is the chief token of the Christian; since it is only by this love that we become like Christ, and resemble our heavenly Father, Who makes His sun to shine upon the evil and the good, and sendeth rains upon the just and upon the unjust (Matt. v. 45). Let us, therefore, imitate the love of God, of Christ, and of St. Stephen, and then we may one day be able to give up our souls with calmness into the hands of our Maker.
Supplication to St. Stephen
O St. Stephen, first of the martyrs, who wast filled with fortitude, grace, and love, whose guiltless face shone like the face of a pure angel, I beseech thee, by the grace which rendered thee worthy to see heaven opened and Jesus sitting at the right hand of the Father, that thou wouldst, by thy prayers, procure for me from God a pure conscience, and a holy, meek love, that like thee I may readily forgive those who injure me; may pray for them ; may not only desire for them whatever is good, but may do them good indeed, and thereby merit the grace of a happy death. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
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