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One Minute Reflection – 26 December – St Stephen – ‘ … It was love …’

One Minute Reflection – 26 December – St Stephen the ProtoMartyr (c 05-c 34) – Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59, Matthew 23:34-39 – Scripture search here:

And falling on his knees, he cried with a loud voice, saying: Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” – Acts 7:59

REFLECTION – “Yesterday we celebrated the birth in time, of our eternal King; today we celebrate the triumphant death of a soldier… Our King, although He is most high, came for our sake, in great humility but He could not come empty-handed. He brought with Him, as it were, a great bonus for His soldiers which not only made them abundantly rich but also gave them, strength to fight and conquer. The gift He brought was love, which brings men into fellowship with the Godhead

The love, then, that brought Christ down from Heaven to earth, lifted Stephen from earth to Heaven… And Stephen, so as to deserve to win the crown— which is what his name means—had love as his weapon and by it was everywhere victorious. Through love of God, he did not yield to the raging of his enemies and through love of his neighbour, he prayed for those who were stoning him. Through love, he accused those, who were in the wrong that they might be corrected. Through love, he prayed for those stoning him, to save them from punishment. Trusting in the strength of love, he overcame the cruel raging of Saul and so, won for himself, as a companion in men, the man who had been his persecutor on earth, This holy and untiring love, ardently desired to acquire as converts by his prayers, those whom he had been unable to convert by argument.

Now Paul rejoices with Stephen, with Stephen he enjoys the brightness of Christ; he exults with Stephen, he reigns with Stephen. There, where Stephen arose, the first, stoned under Paul’s very eyes, there too, Paul has risen with the help of Stephen’s prayers.” – St Fulgentius of Ruspe (c 462 – 533) Bishop in North Africa (Sermon 3, 1-3, 5-6).

PRAYER – Grant us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, to imitate what we celebrate, so that we may learn to love even our enemies because we keep the anniversary of the death of him, who knew how to plead, even for his persecutors with our Lord, Jesus Christ, Thy Son. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).


Thought for the Day – 5 January – Epiphany of the Lord – It was Love

Thought for the Day – 5 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

The Epiphany

it was love which inspired the magi - antonio bacci 5 jan 2020.jpg

“Let us consider the faith of the Magi, a faith which was willing, lively and active.
They saw in the sky, the star which heralded the Infant Jesus and experienced the divine inspiration in their hearts.
Immediately, they went in search of Him.
They were not even deterred by the long and hazardous journey, which lay before them.

When they arrived at Jerusalem, they found Herod, who did not know what they were talking about.   The star disappeared and the priests replied coldly to the questions they asked.
But all the time, their trust in the divine call continued to grow.
Eventually, they reached a poor barn, where they found, not an earthly King but a little child, who was crying on the straw bed of a manger.
As a reward for their trouble and perseverance, a voice in their hearts told them, that this was Jesus, the King of Kings and Saviour of the world.

Unfortunately, when we hear the divine call, no matter how clear and simple it is, we find a thousand excuses for delaying and perhaps for not responding to it at all.

Let us humbly promise to be more generous in listening for it and more energetic in complying with it, regardless of the cost!

It was love which inspired the Magi.
Love sustained them on their journey and made them fall prostrate in adoration before the Infant Jesus.
Even before they offered Him material gifts, they offered Him, their hearts!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci