Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARTYRS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on LOVE, SAINT of the DAY, St PAUL!

Thought for the Day – 26 December – The Armament of Love

Thought for the Day – 26 December – Feast of St Stephen the ProtoMartyr and The Second Day in the Christmas Octave

The Armament of Love

Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe (460-533)
Bishop

An excerpt from his Sermon 3

Yesterday, we celebrated the birth in time of our eternal King.   Today, we celebrate the triumphant suffering of His soldier.   Yesterday, our king, clothed in His robe of flesh, left His place in the virgin’s womb and graciously visited the world.   Today, His soldier, leaves the tabernacle of His body and goes triumphantly to heaven.yesterday we celebrated the birth in time today we - st fulgentius of ruspe - st stephen 26 dec 2019.jpg

Our king, despite His exalted majesty, came in humility for our sake, yet, He did not come empty-handed.   He brought His soldiers a great gift, that not only enriched them but also made them unconquerable in battle, for it was the gift of love, which was to bring men to share in His divinity.   He gave of His bounty, yet without any loss to Himself.   In a marvellous way He changed into wealth, the poverty of His faithful follower,s while remaining in full possession of His own inexhaustible riches.

And so, the love that brought Christ from heaven to earth, raised Stephen from earth to heaven – shown first in the king, it later shone forth in His soldier.   Love was Stephen’s weapon by which he gained every battle and so won the crown signified by his name. His love of God kept him from yielding to the ferocious mob, his love for his neighbour made him pray for those who were stoning him.   Love inspired him to reprove those who erred, to make them amend, love led him to pray for those who stoned him, to save them from punishment.   Strengthened by the power of his love, he overcame the raging cruelty of Saul and won his persecutor on earth as his companion in heaven.   In his holy and tireless love, he longed to gain by prayer, those whom he could not convert by admonition.

Now at last, Paul rejoices with Stephen, with Stephen he delights in the glory of Christ, with Stephen he exalts, with Stephen he reigns.   Stephen went first, slain by the stones thrown by Paul but Paul followed after, helped by the prayer of Stephen.   This, surely, is the true life, my brothers, a life in which Paul feels no shame because of Stephen’s death and Stephen delights in Paul’s companionship, for love fills them both with joy.   It was Stephen’s love that prevailed over the cruelty of the mob and it was Paul’s love, that covered the multitude of his sins, it was love that won for both of them the kingdom of heaven.

Love, indeed, is the source of all good things, it is an impregnable defence and the way that leads to heaven.   He who walks in love can neither go astray, nor be afraid, love guides him, protects him and brings him to his journey’s end.

My brothers, Christ made love the stairway that would enable all Christians to climb to heaven.   Hold fast to it, therefore, in all sincerity, give one another practical proof of it and by your progress in it, make your ascent together.

St Stephen, Pray for Us!st stephen pray for us 26 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in CARMELITES, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, CHRISTMASTIDE!, MARTYRS, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on LOVE, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 26 December – “See the gold that I expect of you” – St Stephen

Quote/s of the Day – 26 December – Feast of St Stephen the ProtoMartyr and The Second Day in the Christmas Octave

“Love, indeed, is the source
of all good things,
it is an impregnable defence
and the way that leads to heaven.   
He who walks in love
can neither go astray,
nor be afraid,
love guides him,
protects him
and brings him
to his journey’s end.”

St Fulgentius of Ruspe (460-533)love indeed is the source of all good things - st stephen - by st fulgentius 26 dec 2019.jpg

“He [St Stephen],
followed the Lord in what may be,
by nature, the most difficult and even,
apparently, impossible for the human heart.
He fulfilled the command to love one’s enemies,
as did the Saviour Himself.
The Child in the manger,
who has come to fulfill His Father’s will,
even to death on the Cross,
sees before Him in spirit,
all who will follow Him on this way.
His heart goes out to the youth
whom He will one day await with a palm
as the first to reach the Father’s throne.
His little hand points him out to us,
as an example, as if to say,
“See the gold that I expect of you.”

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

[Edith Stein] (1891-1942)see the gold that i expect of you - st teresa benedicta of the cross 26 dec 2019 st stephen.jpg

“For believers, the day of death
and even more so,
the day of martyrdom,
is not the end of everything
but rather, the “passage”
to immortal life,
it is the day of the final birth,
the “dies natalis.”
Thus is understood,
the link that exists between
the “dies natalis” of Christ
and the “dies natalis”
of St Stephen.
If Jesus had not been
born on earth,
men would not have been able
to be born for heaven.
Precisely because
Christ was born,
we are able
to be “reborn.”

Pope Benedict XVI

26 December 2006for believers the day of death - st stephen - pope benedict 26 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, ONE Minute REFLECTION, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on PRAYER, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN!, St PAUL!, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 26 December –  The prayers of righteous men avail much. 

One Minute Reflection – 26 December – Feast of St Stephen the ProtoMartyr and The Second Day in the Christmas Octave, Readings:  Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59, Psalm31:3-4, 6, 8, 16-17, Matthew 10:17-22

“… You will be hated by all for my name’s sake.” … Matthew 10:22

REFLECTION – “When the blood of Stephen was shed, Saul, then a young man, was standing by “consenting unto his death” and “kept the raiment of them that slew him” (Acts 22:20).   Two speeches are recorded of the Martyr in his last moments one, in which he prayed that God would pardon his murderers – the other, his witness, that he saw the heavens opened and Jesus on God’s right hand.   His prayer was wonderfully answered. Stephen saw his Saviour, the next vision of that Saviour to mortal man was vouchsafed to that very young man, even Saul, who share in his murder and his intercession.

Strange indeed it was and what would have been St Stephen’s thoughts could he have known it!   The prayers of righteous men avail much.   The first Martyr had power with God to raise up the greatest Apostle.   Such was the honour put upon the first-fruits of those sufferings, upon which the Church was entering.   Thus, from the beginning, the blood of the Martyrs was the seed of the Church.” … St John Henry Newman (1801-1890) Cardinal, Theologian, Apologist – Parochial and Plain Sermons II #9matthew 10 22 you will be hated by all - st stephen - the prayers of righteous men - st john henry newman 26 dec 2019.jpg

PRAYER –
C. By the merits and prayers of blessed Stephen
R. Be merciful, O God, to Your people

Almighty and everlasting God, who consecrated the first-fruits of Your martyrs in the blood of blessed Stephen the deacon, grant, we beg You, that he may pray for us, even as he prayed for his persecutors, to our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son, who lives and reigns, world without end.  AmenPrayer-for-the-feast-of-st-stephen-26-dec-2018 and one min refl 2019.jpg

Posted in BREVIARY Prayers, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, HYMNS, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS to the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 26 December – Help us, Holy Stephen

Our Morning Offering – 26 December – Feast of St Stephen the ProtoMartyr and The Second Day in the Christmas Octave

Help us, Holy Stephen
Breviary Prayer/Hymn
for the Feast of St Stephen

Jesus the Christ-Child brought new life to all men
And in His Manhood, conquered death and evil,
Risen, resplendent, in the Father’s glory
He reigns forever.

Stephen the Deacon was the first to follow
Christ’s great example, done to death by sinners,
Though all his actions and his words were prompted
By the Lord’s Spirit.

Enemies’ anger destined him to perish,
Stoned by his hearers, victim of their fury,
Yet like his Saviour, in his dying moments
Pleading their pardon.

Witness to Jesus, help us, holy Stephen,
Mourning and contrite to attain the Kingdom,
Gain us the graces which we need to bring us
Safely to heaven.

Of the same nature as the blessed martyrs,
Let us sing praises to our God Almighty,
Who honoured Stephen with a martyr’s glory,
First among thousands.
Amenhelp us holy stephen - 26 dec 2019 st stephens feast breviary hymn.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 26 December – Saint Vincenza Maria Lopez (1847- 1890)

Saint of the Day – 26 December – Saint Vincenza Maria Lopez (1847- 1890) professed religious and the founder of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate.    Born as Vincenza Maria Lopez y Vicuña on 24 March 1847 in Cascante, Navarra, Spaind and died on 26 December 1890 (aged 43) in Madrid, Spain of natural causes.   She is the Patron of the Order she founded.st VicentaLopezVicuña.jpg

Her order was dedicated to administering to “working girls”, or young women in domestic employment and she took the view that these housemaids and other domestic servants needed care, with a particular emphasis on girls who suffered abuse.

Young working women, especially those who earn their living in today’s large cities, are subject to many temptations regarding faith and morals.   Saint Vincenza Maria Lopez dedicated her life to mothering such working girls.   In fact, she found the work a complete delight and declared herself ready to suffer anything, even death, rather than abandon this apostolate.

Vincenza was thus a social activist on behalf of women workers, even as her contemporary, Blessed Adolf Kolping (1813-1865), was a social activist on behalf of working men.   Both dealt with people exposed to those trials of the marketplace that became acute during the Industrial Revolution.

This “foster mother” was a Spaniard, born at Cascante, in Navarre, to devout middle-class parents.   In 1854 the Lopezes sent their daughter to Madrid for schooling, and from that time on she became a Madrilena.   She lived with her aunt, Eulalia y Vicuna and this admirable women set her an example that shaped her whole adult life and her growth in holiness.

Eulalia had already established a hospice for jobless young servant girls.   Vincenza was attracted by this sort of charity.   Realising its necessity, she worried what would become of the hospice if anything happened to her aunt.   At 19, increasingly convinced that she herself was called to the religious life in its “active” rather than contemplative form, she took a private vow not to marry.

Senor and Senora Lopez, despite their piety, were not pleased with their daughter’s decision.   They wanted her either to marry or to join the Visitation nuns, a cloistered order.   When Vincenza refused their proposal, they ordered her to come back to Cascante.   Apparently they thought that the only remaining alternative was for her to live at home as a spinster.

She did return home.   When she fell ill, however, her parents became concerned and rather ashamed of themselves, so they eventually allowed her to go back to Madrid.   Now Vincenza’s plans began to mature.   In 1871 she and her aunt and a few other women on the hospice staff began to lead a community religious life.   Then in 1876, with the assistance of a Jesuit, Father Hidalgo y Soba, they drew up a rule of life that would commit them to conduct homes for working girls and teach them domestic arts.   Thus was founded the Daughters of Mary Immaculate for Domestic Service.   Vincenza and three others received the veil from the bishop of Seville that year.   They pronounced their vows as sisters two years later.st vincza lopez.jpg

Since the hospice was already flourishing, the Daughters had merely to continue and expand their efforts.   Further homes, hostels, technical schools, canteens and other institutes were established as needed and the work spread throughout Spain and to other European countries and even into South America.   After her death, Africa would welcome the Sisters.   Aunt Eulalia continued to contribute her whole time and fortune. But Mother Vincentia’s general plan of financing, positively excluded her sisters’ operating regular schools, in order to earn support for their charitable work.   She chose the harder way – begging.

Vincenza’s Daughters had a motto:  “Steady employment is the safeguard of virtue.” What was true of their working girls is equally true of the thousands of youths who run away each year to the large cities for want of occupations and then fall into vice.   Let us not forget to help such idle youth by helping the good people, who try to do for them today, what Saint Vincenza tried to do in her time.

The task she undertook was not easy.   Not only were finances a problem, her own health was always poor and she was only 43 when she died.   But she would not, for all the world, have chosen any other role.   “I count myself happier in the service of these my sisters, than the great ones of this world, in the service of their lords and kings.”

Venerable Pope Pius XII presided over her Beatification on 19 February 1950 and St Pope Paul VI Canonised this modern woman in 1975.   She is an exemplar of social charity for our times and a wonderful icon of Catholic Social Teaching.st vincenza maria lopez y vicuna

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

The Second Day in the Christmas Octave, the Feast of St Stephen the ProtoMartyr and Memorials of the Saints – 26 December

St Stephen the ProtoMartyr (c 05-c 34) (Feast) The Second Day in the Christmas Octave
St Stephen’s Story:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/12/26/saint-of-the-day-st-stephen-the-first-martyr-26-december-the-second-day-in-the-octave-of-christmas/

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 Vincenza Maria Lopez (1847- 1890)
St Zeno of Gaza
St Pope Zosimus