12.26.13 ~ Feast of St. Stephen, first martyr


Acts 7:54

At hearing this, they were cut to the heart…

Mt 10:19

… words will be given you when the time comes; it is not you who speak, it is the Spirit of your Father that speaks in you.

In Conversation with God:

We have only just celebrated the birth of Our Lord and already the liturgy presents us with the feast of the first person to give his life for this Baby who has been born. Yesterday, we wrapped Christ in swaddling clothes; today, he clothes Stephen with the garment of immortality. Yesterday, a narrow manger cradled the baby Christ; today, the infinite heaven has received Stephen in triumph. 

The Church wants to make us realise that the Cross is always very close to Jesus and his followers…

Every age is an age of martyrdom… All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…

… when Paul came to Rome, Christians were already known by the unmistakeable sign of the Cross and of contradiction: with regard to this sect – said the Jews of Rome to Paul – we know that everywhere it is spoken against…

Persecution has taken many forms. During the first centuries it tried to destroy the Christian faith by physical violence. At other times Christians have also been – and are – deprived of their most elementary rights, or attempts are made to confuse simple people by campaigns aimed at undermining their faith. Even in countries with a great Christian tradition, every sort of obstacle and difficulty is put in the way of parents who wish to educate their children in a truly Christian way. Or Christians, simply because they are Christians, are denied a fair chance of advancing in their profession.

In societies which describe themselves as ‘free’ it is not unusual for a Christian to have to live in an obviously hostile atmosphere. Then there is hidden persecution, by a sarcastic ridiculing of Christian values or by pressure of opinion which tries to frighten the ‘weaker brethren’ into conformity…

In former times… Christians were incited to renounce Christ; now they are taught to deny Christ. Then they were forced, now they are taught; then violence was used, now it is deception; then one heard the shouts of the enemy; now, when he prowls around, gentle and insinuating, it is difficult to recognize him…

If you always pursue this determination to die rather than fail to reach the end of the road, the Lord may bring you through this life with a certain degree of thirst but in the life which never ends, he will give you great abundance to drink and you will have no fear of its failing you. 


… rid me of myself, i belong to You, lead me… to the cross…


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