Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers

Christmas is………….

Christmas is………….

… a gift of love wrapped in human flesh and
tied securely with the strong promises of God.
… angelic music in the form of a carol
and oratorio with a celestial descant.
… “glory to God,” “good will to man,”
and “joy to the world.”
… “peace on earth” for those who accept it
and live in unity with God’s will.
… a man on duty tending sheep, or machine,
who senses the upward call and stops to worship.
… a tall green tree which serves as festive altar
for any household which discovers the true meaning behind it all.
… a ringing bell calling a distraught humanity
to gladness and hope.
… a glowing hearth gently placed
in the winter of man’s loneliness.
… an altar to which man can bring his heartache for comfort,
his lostness for guidance and his sin for forgiveness.
… the sparkle of anticipation and the steady light of faith
in the eyes of a little child as he hears the old, old story.
… the shining star of hope in the sky of all mankind.
… more than words can tell,
for it is a matter for the heart to receive, believe and understand

Author Unknown

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Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

Celebrating the CHRISTMAS SEASON 26 December: The FEAST of ST STEPHEN

Celebrating the CHRISTMAS SEASON 26 December: The FEAST of ST STEPHEN

“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.”
Daily Meditation:
The gates of heaven opened for Stephen, the first of the martyrs;
in heaven, he wears the crown of victory. Entrance Antiphon

We remember the first martyr today to emphasize the invitation we have
as followers of Jesus to witness to his presence in our world, even when
it is unpopular, counter-cultural, or may even cost us our lives.

May we ask for the grace today to pray for our enemies and to
surrender even our lives in sharing this Good News with others.

Closing Prayer:
God of all great love,
you know how full of courage Stephen was
and how full of fears I am.

Help me to have the strength to be a witness for my faith,
standing up for those who are weaker,
speaking out for what I believe
and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.

Lord, give me a share in your compassion and understanding
that I might pray for those who oppose me,
those who ridicule me,
and those who dismiss me.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

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Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 26 December

Thought for the Day – 26 December

Stephen died as Jesus did: falsely accused, brought to unjust condemnation because he spoke the truth fearlessly. He died with his eyes trustfully fixed on God and with a prayer of forgiveness on his lips. A “happy” death is one that finds us in the same spirit, whether our dying is as quiet as Joseph’s or as violent as Stephen’s: dying with courage, total trust and forgiving love.

St Stephen Pray for us!

Image below – The Stoning of St Stephen by Friedrich Christoph Steinhammer around 1620

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Posted in CATHOLIC Quotes, CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Quote of the Day – 26 December

Quote of the Day – 26 December

Above all, St Stephen speaks to us of Christ, of the Crucified and Risen Christ as the centre of history and our life.  We can understand that the Cross remains forever the centre of the Church’s life and also of our life.  In the history of the Church, there will always be passion and persecution. And it is persecution itself which, according to Tertullian’s famous words, becomes “the seed of Christians”, the source of mission for Christians to come.”

~~~~ Pope Benedict XVI – General Audience delivered by Pope Benedict XVI in January 2007

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Image “The Stoning of St Stephen by Adam Elsheimer 1604

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 26 December

One Minute Reflection – 26 December

God is love and he who lives in love lives in God and God in him…..1 Jn 4:16

REFLECTION – Love is the source of all good things.  It is an impregnable defense and the way that leads to heaven.  Those who walk in love can neither go astray nor be afraid.  Love guides and protects them and brings them safely to their journey’s end……….St Fulgentius

PRAYER – Loving Father, pour forth Your love into my heart and help me always to act in accord with it.  Let me be ruled by Your love in all things so that I may experience it completely with You in Heaven.  St Stephen you are an example of total love, pray for us all! Amen.

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Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS

Our Morning Offering – 26 December

Our Morning Offering – 26 December

Christmas Prayer of St Pope John XXIII

O sweet Child of Bethlehem,
grant that we may share with all our hearts
in this profound mystery of Christmas.
Put into the hearts of men and women this peace
for which they sometimes seek so desperately
and which You alone can give to them.
Help them to know one another better,
and to live as brothers and sisters,
children of the same Father.
Reveal to them also Your beauty, holiness and purity.
Awaken in their hearts
love and gratitude for Your infinite goodness.
Join them all together in Your love.
And give us Your heavenly peace, amen.

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Posted in SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

Saint of the Day – 26 December

Saint of the Day – 26 December – St Stephen the ProtoMartyr/Deacon/Preacher (1st cent died c34) – Patron of against headaches, brick layers, casket makers, coffin makers, deacons, horses, masons, stone masons, Metz, France, diocese of Owensboro, Kentucky, diocese of Toulouse, France, archdiocese of,• 92 cities

One of the first deacons of the Church was a man named Stephen, a man filled with the  Holy Spirit and with faith. Besides his job of overseeing the distribution of the poor, he also preached. A group of Jewish Hellenists strongly resented Stephen’s preaching of salvation through Jesus. The situation became so tense that they found witnesses to falsely testify that Stephen had committed blasphemy.

Stephen was arrested and brought to the court. The odds were against him and Jesus said, “When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you to say will be given to you in that hour; for it not you who speak but the Spirit of your father speaking through you (Mathew 10:19–20). Stephen knew he would be helped by the Holy Spirit, and he wasn’t afraid.

When Stephen testified in court, he made two major points. First he believed that God could be found everywhere, not just in a single place like temple or a single person like Abraham. Second he demonstrated how from the beginning, the Israelites had consistently rejected God’s messengers, prophet’s and chosen servants. And now they rejected and killed God’s Son who had been sent to them.  In his speech, Stephen recalled God’s guidance through Israel’s history, as well as Israel’s idolatry and disobedience. He then claimed that his persecutors were showing this same spirit. “[Y]ou always oppose the holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestors” (Acts 7:51b).

His speech brought anger from the crowd. “But [Stephen], filled with the holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God and he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God….’ They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him…. As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit…. Lord, do not hold this sin against them’” (Acts 7:55-56, 58a, 59, 60b).

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Stoning of Saint Stephen, altarpiece of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, by Jacopo & Domenico Tintoretto

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St. Stephen – Domenico Ghirlandaio

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Jean Fouquet Etienne Chevalier with St Stephen (detail of Stephen)

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, SAINT of the DAY

Saints and Feasts – 26 December

St Stephen the ProtoMartyr (Feast)
St Abadiu of Antinoë
Bl Agata Phutta Bi
Bl Agnès Phila
St Amaethlu of Anglesey
St Archelaus of Mesopotamia
Bl Bibiana Khamphai
Bl Cecilia Butsi
Bl Daniel of Villiers
St Dionysius, Pope
St Euthymius of Sardis
St Evaristo of Constantinople
Bl Giovanni Orsini
Bl Jean of Hainaut
Bl Lucie Khambang
St Margaret of Hohenfels
Bl Maria Phon
Bl Marinus of Rome
Bl Paganus of Lecco
Bl Pierre Boffet
St Tathai of Wales
St Theodore the Sacristan
St Vincentia Lopez y Vicuña
St Zeno of Gaza
St Zosimus, Pope