Posted in AUGUSTINIANS OSA, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES on MARTYRDOM, St PAUL!, The GOOD SHEPHERD, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 25 January – Saul, Paul

Quote/s of the Day – 25 January – Feast of the Conversion of St Paul, Apostle – Acts 9:1-22, Matthew 19:27-29 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/

Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?

Acts 9:4.

So Saul was led to Ananias –
the ravaging wolf is led to the sheep.
But the Shepherd,
Who guides everything from Heaven above,
reassures him…
“Do not fear, I will show him
what he will have to suffer, for My Name’s sake”
(Acts 9:16).
What wonder is this!
The wolf is led, a captive, to the sheep…
The Lamb who died for the sheep,
teaches it not to be afraid any more!

St Augustine (354-430)
Father and Doctor of the Church

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

Yet I live, no longer I
but Christ lives in me;
insofar as I now live in the flesh,
I live by faith in the Son of God,
Who has loved me
and given himself up for me.

Galatians 2:20

It is possible that, as he lay dying,
Stephen looked up at Saul
and uttered his last prayer for this sincere
and honest young Jew, who had been led astray
by the prejudice and passion of the mob.
… Let us endeavour too, to suffer, pray
and work for the conversion of our fellowmen,
so many of whom, are wandering
in the darkness of error
or struggling in the clutches of vice.
Let us try, by our sufferings,
prayers and good example,
to draw down God’s grace
on our unhappy brothers.
If we succeed, we shall share
in the merits of their good actions
and we shall have ensured
our own everlasting salvation
.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Posted in "Follow Me", MARTYRS, QUOTES on LOVE, St PAUL!, The WORD

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: https://www.drbo.org/

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).

Posted in Uncategorized

St Stephen the ProtoMartyr, Madonna della Acheropita / Our Lady of Rossano, Italy (1140) and Memorials of the Saints – 26 December

St Stephen the ProtoMartyr (c 05-c 34) 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/
AND:
https://anastpaul.com/2018/12/26/saint-of-the-day-26-december-st-stephen-the-protomartyr-c-05-c-34-26-december/

Madonna della Acheropita, Maria Santissima Acheropita / Our Lady of Acheropita, Rossano, Italy (1140) – 26 December:
HERE:
https://anastpaul.com/2021/12/26/st-stephen-the-protomartyr-c-05-c-34-feast-the-second-day-in-the-christmas-octave-madonna-della-acheropita-maria-santissima-acheropita-our-lady-of-acheropita-rossano-italy-1140-and-memoria/

St Abadiu of Antinoë
St Amaethlu of Anglesey
St Archelaus of Mesopotamia
Bl Daniel of Villiers

St Pope Dionysius (Died 268) Bishop of Rome from 22 July 259 to his death on 26 December 268. According to early Church records, Dionysius was the first Pope not Martyred for his Faith.
Biography:

https://anastpaul.com/2020/12/26/saint-of-the-day-26-december-st-pope-dionysius-died-268/

St Euthymius of Sardis
St Evaristo
Blessed Giovanni Orsini (1333-1411) Cardinal Archbishop of Turin
Bl Jean of Hainaut
St Margaret of Hohenfels
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) Religious Sister, Founder of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate.
Biography:

https://anastpaul.com/2019/12/26/saint-of-the-day-26-december-saint-vincenza-maria-lopez-1847-1890/

St Zeno of Gaza

St Pope Zosimus (Died 418) Bishop of Rome from 18 March 417 to his death on 26 December 418, Confessor. Greek by birth, his short Pontificate was characterised by serious conflicts with the Bishops of Gaul and those of Africa.
St Zosimus’ Life:

https://anastpaul.com/2021/12/26/saint-of-the-day-saint-pope-zosimus-died-418/

Posted in MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES on ENEMIES, QUOTES on PERSECUTION, St PAUL!

Quote of the Day – 3 August – ‘Let us endeavour too, to suffer, pray and work for the conversion of our fellowmen, …’

Quote of the Day – 3 August – The Finding of the Relics of St Stephen, Protomarty – Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-60. Matthew 23:34-39

It is possible that, as he lay dying,
Stephen looked up at Saul
and uttered his last prayer for this sincere
and honest young Jew, who had been led astray
by the prejudice and passion of the mob.
… Let us endeavour too, to suffer, pray
and work for the conversion of our fellowmen,
so many of whom, are wandering
in the darkness of error
or struggling in the clutches of vice.
Let us try, by our sufferings,
prayers and good example,
to draw down God’s grace
on our unhappy brothers.
If we succeed, we shall share
in the merits of their good actions
and we shall have ensured
our own everlasting salvation
.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Posted in "Follow Me", CHRIST the WORD and WISDOM, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DIVINE MERCY, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARTYRS, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES on ENEMIES, QUOTES on FORGIVENESS, QUOTES on MERCY, QUOTES on PERSECUTION, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 3 August – “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” – Acts 7:60

One Minute Reflection – 3 August – “The Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” – The Finding of the Relics of St Stephen, Protomartyr – Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-60. Matthew 23:34-39

“Lord, do not hold this sin against them” – Acts 7:60

REFLECTION – “Let us imitate our Lord and pray for our enemies … He was Crucified and yet, at the same time, prayed to His Father for the sake of those who were crucifying Him. But how could I possibly imitate our Lord, one might ask? If you want to, you can. If you weren’t able to do it how could He have said: “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart”? (Mt 11:29) …

If you have difficulty in imitating our Lord, at least imitate him who is also His servant, His Deacon – I would speak of Stephen. Just as Christ, in the midst of those crucifying Him, without considering the Cross, without considering His own predicament, pleaded with the Father, on behalf of His tormentors (Lk 23:34), so His servant, surrounded by those who were stoning him, attacked by all, crushed beneath a hail of stones and, without taking any account of the suffering they were causing him, said: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60). Do you see how the Son spoke and how His servant prayed? The former said: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” and the latter said: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” Moreover, to make us realise the fervour with which he was praying, he did not just pray, as he stood beneath the blows of the stones but, he spoke on his knees with sincerity and compassion …

Christ said: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Stephen cried out: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” Paul, in his turn, said: “I offer up this sacrifice for my brethren, my kin according to race” (cf. Rm 9:3). Moses said: “If you would only forgive their sin! And if you will not, then strike me out of the book that you have written!” (Ex 32:32). David said: “May your hand fall on me and my kindred,” (2 Sam 24:17). … What kind of forgiveness do we think we shall get if we ourselves do the opposite of what is asked of us and pray against our enemies, when the Lord Himself and His servants, of both Old and New Testaments, direct us to pray on their behalf?” – St John Chrysostom (345-407) Father and Doctor of the Church – Sermon for Good Friday “The Cross and the bandit”

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 invention of Him, Who knew how to plead even for His persecutors with our Lord, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who with |Thee. lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, MARTYRS, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, PRAYERS to the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 3 August – The Finding of the Relics of St Stephen, Protomartyr.

Saint of the Day – 3 August – The Finding of the Relics of St Stephen, Protomartyr.
St Stephen, the ProtoMartyr (c 05-c 34) – 26 December the Second Day in the Octave of Christmas.

The Finding of the Relics
of St Stephen, the ProtoMartyr

By Fr Francis Xavier Weninger SJ (1805-1888)

After St Stephen, the First Martyr, had been stoned to death by the Jews for having uncontestably proved that Christ, Whom they had Crucified, was the true Messiah, some pious men, filled with deep sorrow, buried him with all due reverence. Foremost among these was St Gamaliel, who had formerly been a rabbi and later a disciple of St Paul. He arranged everything, so that the body of St Stephen was carried, during the night, by some Christians, from the spot in which it lay, to his country-seat, which was a few miles from Jerusalem.

The burial of St Stephen

“In the course of time and in consequence of the persecution of the Christians in Juda, the location of his tomb was forgotten, until it pleased the Almighty to reveal it, in the time of the Emperor Honorius. There lived, at that period, in the place where St Stephen was buried, a Priest of the Church of Jerusalem, named Lucian. St Gamaliel appeared to this holy man in his sleep and disclosed to him where the bodies of St Stephen, St Nicodemus, his son St Abibon and his own body, were lying, telling him, at the same time, to inform St John, Bishop of Jerusalem, of this fact and to say that it was the will of God that he should exhume them for the benefit of many men. Lucian awakening and fearing it was but a dream, or perhaps even a delusion from Satan, did not tell the Bishop but humbly prayed to God that, if it were a revelation from on high, He would grant him a repetition of the vision. To this effect, Lucian continued in prayer and fasting for eight days, when Gamaliel again appeared to him and repeated all he had said before.

Lucian did not yet obey but, to be more certain, fasted and prayed eight days more. St Gamaliel appeared to him for the third time and, with a severe countenance, reproving him for not believing his words, commanded him to make the Bishop acquainted with the facts immediately, in order that the faithful might no longer be deprived of the benefits which they would obtain by the intercession of St Stephen and the other Saints.

After this third apparition, Lucian could no longer doubt and, betaking himself to the Bishop of Jerusalem, he communicated to him all that had happened. The joy of the holy Bishop was exceedingly great. He called the Bishops and Priests of the neighbouring Churches and, accompanied by them and a great number of Christians, he went to the place indicated and had the satisfaction of finding four coffins, on which were engraven the names of the Saints abovementioned – St Stephen, St Nicodemus, St Abibon, St.Gamaliel. When the coffins were reverently opened, there issued from them a fragrance as if the place had been filled with blooming flowers.

St Stephen mourned by Saints Gamaliel and Nicodemus

More than seventy persons, some of whom were sick and others possessed by evil spirits, were instantly restored to health, or relieved of their torments, upon touching the Sacred Relics, especially those of St Stephen. The body of the Protomartyr was carried with great solemnity to Jerusalem, and deposited in the Church of Sion, the oldest and largest Church in that City.

During the reign of Theodosius the Younger, it was transported to Constantinople, and thence to Rome in the reign of Pope Pelagius I. The rearkable discovery of the relics of St Stephen and the miracles, which had been wrought at their touch, were soon known all over the Christian world. The heretics, who, at that time persecuted the Church, were ashamed and the faithful strengthened in the True Faith and animated in their veneration for the Protomartyr.

All Countries and Cities applied for portions of the Relics and many were favoured with them, to the great benefit of the people. Many received only some of the earth in which the holy body had rested; others, a piece of linen which had touched his coffin but, by the pious use of them, as many miracles were wrought as by the relics themselves.

In St Augustine, we have an indisputable witness of this, as he lived at the time of the discovery. Among other things, he tells us, in the twenty second book of the “City of God,” of many great miracles wrought, in his presence, by these relics, in the city of Hippo, of which he was bishop, as also in adjacent Countries. A few of these we will here relate.

A blind woman’s sight was immediately restored, by touching her eyes with a flower, which, at her request, had been laid on the Relics of St Stephen. Lucillus, a Bishop, was cured of a dangerous fistula by devoutly carrying the Sacred Relics. Eucharius, a Priest, arose again to life, when they placed upon his corpse, a tunic which had rested on St Stephen’s body. Two men suffering with gout were cured by the same. A lad who was killed by being run over by a carriage, was not only restored to life, but his broken limbs were healed. A nun who had died, retuned to life and health, when her habit was laid upon her, ,after it had touched the Sacred Relics. Eleusinus placed the corpse of his child upon the spot where the Relics of the Saint had rested, and immediately, the child lived again. Upon the head of Marial, a hardened Jew, his brother-in-law–a Christian–laid a flower, which had been on the Altar near the Relics and the next day the Jew requested to be Baptised. Two sisters, who were afflicted with epilepsy, were instantly cured by these relics. Many other miracles are narrated by St Augustine and he concludes with these words: “If I alone were to relate what I know of the miraculous cures performed by St Stephen at Calama and in its neighbourhood, I should have to write many books and yet, not be able to collect all of them!”

What does a non-Catholic think or say on reading or hearing these and many other things which the holy Fathers have written of the Sacred Relics? He rejects all these histories and accuses St Augustine and other great teachers, of falsehood and superstition. But, if he believes even one of these miracles, how can he, according to the doctrines of his religion, condemn the veneration of Relics and the invocation of the Saints!?”

For us, who believe in the powerful intercession of our Saints through their holy Relics, let us pray:

A Prayer to the Holy Martyrs
to Obtain Their Protection
By St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787)

O you blessed Princes of the heavenly Kingdom!
you who sacrificed to the Almighty God the honours,
the riches received in return, the unfading glory
and never-ending joys of Heaven!
you who are secure in the everlasting possession
of the brilliant Crown of glory
which your sufferings have obtained!
Look with compassionate regard upon
our wretched state in this vale of tears,
where we groan in the uncertainty
of what may be our eternal destiny.
And from that Divine Savior,
for Whom, you suffered so many torments
and Who now repays you with so unspeakable glory,
obtain for us that we may love Him,
with all our heart and receive in return,
the grace of perfect resignation,
under the trials of this life,
fortitude, under the temptations of the enemy
and perseverance, to the end.
May your powerful intercession
obtain for us that we may one day,
in your blessed company,
sing the praises of the Eternal
and even as you now do,
face-to-face, enjoy the Beatitude of His Vision!
Amen

Posted in MARIAN TITLES, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

The Finding of the Relics of St Stephen, Protomartyr, Maria Santissima Scala del Paradiso / Holy Mary, Ladder to Paradise, Sicily, Italy (1498) and Memorials of the Saints – 3 August

The Finding of the Relics of St Stephen, Protomartyr

Maria Santissima Scala del Paradiso / Holy Mary, Ladder to Paradise, Noto, Siracusa, Sicily, Italy (1498) – 3 August:
HERE:

https://anastpaul.com/2021/08/03/maria-santissima-scala-del-paradiso-holy-mary-ladder-to-paradise-noto-siracusa-sicily-italy-1498-and-memorials-of-the-saints/

St Abibas

St Aspren (1st Century) The First Bishop of Naples, Consecrated by St Peter as Bishop. Patronages – Archdiocese of Naples, Italy, against migraine.
Biography:

https://anastpaul.com/2021/08/03/saint-of-the-day-3-august-st-aspren-1st-century/

Blessed Augustine Gazotich OP (1262-1323) Bishop of Lucera, Croatia, Of the Order of Preachers. He was also noted for being the guide for Dante Alighieri as the poet travelled through Croatia. His reputation for personal holiness remained noted long after his death; this resulted in Pope Innocent XII confirming the late Bishop’s Beatification in 1700.
Biography:

https://anastpaul.com/2018/08/03/saint-of-the-day-3-august-blessed-augustine-gazotich-o-p-1262-1323/

St Dalmatius
St Euphronius of Autun
St Gamaliel
St Gaudentia
Bl Godfrey of Le Mans
Bl Gregory of Nonantula
St Hermellus
St Nicodemus
St Senach of Clonard (Died 6th Century) One of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland
St Trea of Ardtree

St Waltheof of Melrose O.Cist. (c 1095-1159) Monk, Abbot, Apostle of charity, Mystic.
His Life:

https://anastpaul.com/2019/08/03/saint-of-the-day-3-august-saint-waltheof-of-melrose-o-cist-c-1095-1159/

Martyrs of Vercelli – 4 Saints:

Posted in CHRIST the WORD and WISDOM, DIVINE MERCY, DOCTORS of the Church, GOD the FATHER, MARTYRS, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES on ENEMIES, QUOTES on FORGIVENESS, QUOTES on MERCY, QUOTES on PERSECUTION, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 26 December – “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” – Acts 7:60

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

“Lord, do not hold this sin against them” – Acts 7:60

REFLECTION – “Let us imitate our Lord and pray for our enemies … He was crucified yet, at the same time, prayed to His Father for the sake of those who were crucifying Him. But how could I possibly imitate our Lord, one might ask? If you want to, you can. If you weren’t able to do it how could He have said: “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart”? (Mt 11:29) …

If you have difficulty in imitating our Lord, at least imitate him who is also His servant, His Deacon – I would speak of Stephen. Just as Christ, in the midst of those crucifying Him, without considering the cross, without considering His own predicament, pleaded with the Father on behalf of His tormentors (Lk 23:34), so His servant, surrounded by those who were stoning him, attacked by all, crushed beneath a hail of stones and, without taking any account of the suffering they were causing him, said: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60). Do you see how the Son spoke and how His servant prayed? The former said: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” and the latter said: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” Moreover, to make us realise better the fervour with which he was praying, he did not just pray, as he stood beneath the blows of the stones but, he spoke on his knees with sincerity and compassion …

Christ said: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Stephen cried out: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” Paul, in his turn, said: “I offer up this sacrifice for my brethren, my kin according to race” (cf. Rm 9:3). Moses said: “If you would only forgive their sin! And if you will not, then strike me out of the book that you have written!” (Ex 32:32). David said: “May your hand fall on me and my kindred,” (2 Sam 24:17). … What kind of forgiveness do we think we shall get if we ourselves do the opposite of what is asked of us and pray against our enemies, when the Lord Himself and His servants of both Old and New Testaments, direct us to pray on their behalf?”St John Chrysostom (345-407) Father and Doctor of the Church – Sermon for Good Friday “The Cross and the bandit”

PRAYER – Grant us Your Grace, Lord God Almighty, to practise what we worship. Teach us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. As we keep the feast of Saint Stephen, may we learn from him, who learned from You and prayed, even for the men who stoned him to death. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.

Posted in MARIAN TITLES, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

St Stephen the ProtoMartyr (c 05-c 34) (Feast) The Second Day in the Christmas Octave, Madonna della Acheropita, Maria Santissima Acheropita / Our Lady of Acheropita, Rossano, Italy (1140) 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/
AND:
https://anastpaul.com/2018/12/26/saint-of-the-day-26-december-st-stephen-the-protomartyr-c-05-c-34-26-december/

Madonna della Acheropita, Maria Santissima Acheropita / Our Lady of Acheropita, Rossano, Italy (1140) – 26 December:

The Abbot Orsini relates: “Tradition has it that one night, a woman in great brightness appeared to a watchman on duty where a new Church was being built in Rossano, Italy. She asked him to withdraw from the place. The next morning there was seen in the building a picture of the Blessed Virgin, painted but not by the hand of man. For that reason it came to be called “Acheropita,” not made by human hands.

The latest historical research has established that the image of Acheropita – a fresco on a pillar – was found in a small Chapel near the cave of one of the many hermits who formed the aura of Saint Nicholas of Vallone in the 6th century.
It seems a holy hermit named Ephrem was very devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the year 580, a certain Captain Mauricio, was deflected from his course by the winds and landed near present day Rossano. The hermit Ephrem went to meet him with the strange sounding greeting of:
It was not the winds that brought you here but Our Lady, for once you are appointed emperor, you will build a Church here.”
A mere two year later, in the year 582, Mauritius was crowned Emperor and remembering the prophesy, had artists brought to the cave to paint a fitting image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Although the artists toiled all day, during the night their work always mysteriously disappeared. The Governor, unsure of what was happening, ordered that the cave be guarded at night.
That night as the guards went about their duty in front of the cave, a young woman of rare beauty came out of nowhere amidst a bright light wearing a white silk cape. She asked the guard to depart from the site, which they did. Informed the next morning of what had happened, the Governor went to the Church. To everyone’s surprise he observed an image that perplexed him, for painted on the bottom of the inner wall was a beautiful picture of Our Lady, similar to the Byzantine icons he had seen before. It was exactly where his artists had been trying in vain to draw the image.
The news of the miracle soon spread throughout the City. The faithful began arriving to the place, shouting in wonder and cheering in tears with songs of praise, “Acheropita! Acheropita!
The image became an object of veneration for the people of Rossano and a new Church had to be built to satisfy popular piety in a more worthy manner. That Church is now known as the Rossano Cathedral, and it was built next to the grotto where the image is still preserved. It is also said, that later, the Saracens attacked, trying to surprise the City of Rossano but they were repulsed by Our Lady, who appeared dressed in purple and holding in her hand a lighted torch. The sight of her majesty terrified the Saracens, who turned and fled.
On 26 May 1949, the Diocesan Cathedral was erected at the Shrine. From 16 August to 16 October 1949, a silver Statue of Our Lady was carried on a triumphal pilgrimage through the Archdiocese. 15 August is the annual date for the celebration of the Madonna Acheropita and it is said that during the celebration a wonderful atmosphere envelops the whole of the City, with the festival offering an opportunity for the faithful to demonstrate their love for the Blessed Virgin.
On 18 June 1950, Cardinal Micara crowned the image of the Blessed Virgin.

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 Pope Dionysius (Died 268) Bishop of Rome from 22 July 259 to his death on 26 December 268. According to early Church records, Dionysius was the first pope not Martyred for his Faith.
Biography:

https://anastpaul.com/2020/12/26/saint-of-the-day-26-december-st-pope-dionysius-died-268/

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) Religious Sister, Founder of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate.
Biography:

https://anastpaul.com/2019/12/26/saint-of-the-day-26-december-saint-vincenza-maria-lopez-1847-1890/

St Zeno of Gaza
St Pope Zosimus (Died 418) Bishop of Rome from 18 March 417 to his death on 26 December 418.

Posted in MARTYRS, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on HEAVEN, QUOTES on MARTYRDOM, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on TEMPTATION

Thought for the Day – 26 December – St Stephen, the First Martyr

Thought for the Day – 26 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

St Stephen, the First Martyr

“Among the original seven Deacons nominated by the Apostles, there was one name Stephen, who was outstanding for his sanctity and extraordinary spiritual gifts.
Being enlightened by God, this young man dared to rebuke the Jews in public for their hardness of heart and openly defended the doctrine of Christ, Whom he proclaimed to be the Saviour and Redeemer of the world.
One day when he was threatened by his foes, Stephen raised his eyes trustfully towards Heaven and said: “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
The Jews could no longer restrain their fury and proceeded to drag the young man outside the city.
There they left their garments in the care of a youth named Saul, while they savagely stoned Stephen to death.
Stricken to his knees by the force of the missiles, the saintly young disciple continued to look towards Heaven.
“Lord Jesus,” he cried, “receive my spirit.”
Before he breathed his last, he forgave his enemies in the manner of his divine Master.
“Lord,” he prayed, “do not lay this sin against them.”
And with these words he fell asleep (Cf Acts 7:51-60; 8:1-2).

Let us admire and imitate the courage of this Martyr.
We may never be called on, to endure a martyrdom of blood on behalf of our faith but, we shall almost certainly be obliged to undergo the martyrdom of the assault of the passions on our purity of soul, or of severe physical or mental suffering…
If we accept these trials from God with perfect resignation and love, they will certainly prove as valuable to us, as real martyrdom.
If we endure them with the courage and fortitude of St Stephen, we shall be rewarded as he was, by seeing Jesus standing at the right hand of God and offering us the palm of victory!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in "Follow Me", MARTYRS, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on LOVE of GOD, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 26 December – “Love was Stephen’s weapon …”

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

“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.”
(The meaning of the anme
STEPHEN is “crown/wreath”)

“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.”

More here:
https://anastpaul.com/2019/12/26/quote-s-of-the-day-26-december-see-the-gold-that-i-expect-of-you-st-stephen/

St Fulgentius of Ruspe (460-533)

Posted in "Follow Me", DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARTYRS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FORGIVENESS, QUOTES on SACRED SCRIPTURE, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 26 December – “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” – Acts 7:60

One Minute Reflection – 26 December – Feast of St Stephen the ProtoMartyr and The Second Day in the Christmas Octave, Readings: Acts 6:8-107: 54-59Psalms 31:3-46 and 816 and 17Matthew 10:17-22

“Lord, do not hold this sin against them” – Acts 7:60

REFLECTION – “Let us imitate our Lord and pray for our enemies … He was crucified yet, at the same time, prayed to His Father for the sake of those who were crucifying Him. But how could I possibly imitate our Lord, one might ask? If you want to, you can. If you weren’t able to do it how could He have said: “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart”? (Mt 11:29) …

If you have difficulty in imitating our Lord, at least imitate him who is also His servant, his deacon. I would speak of Stephen. Just as Christ, in the midst of those crucifying Him, without considering the cross, without considering His own predicament, pleaded with the Father on behalf of His tormentors (Lk 23:34), so His servant, surrounded by those who were stoning him, attacked by all, crushed beneath a hail of stones and without taking any account of the suffering they were causing him, said: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60). Do you see how the Son spoke and how His servant prayed? The former said: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” and the latter said: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” Moreover, to make us realise better the fervour with which he was praying, he did not just pray as he stood beneath the blows of the stones but he spoke on his knees with sincerity and compassion …

Christ said: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Stephen cried out: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” Paul, in his turn, said: “I offer up this sacrifice for my brethren, my kin according to race” (cf. Rm 9:3). Moses said: “If you would only forgive their sin! And if you will not, then strike me out of the book that you have written!” (Ex 32:32). David said: “May your hand fall on me and my kindred,” (2 Sam 24:17). … What kind of forgiveness do we think we shall get if we ourselves do the opposite of what is asked of us and pray against our enemies, when the Lord Himself and His servants of both Old and New Testaments, direct us to pray on their behalf?” – St John Chrysostom (345-407) Father and Doctor of the Church – Sermon for Good Friday “The Cross and the bandit”

PRAYER – Grant us Your Grace, Lord God Almighty, to practise what we worship. Teach us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. As we keep the feast of Saint Stephen, may we learn from him, who learned from You and prayed, even for the men who stoned him to death. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

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/
AND:
https://anastpaul.com/2018/12/26/saint-of-the-day-26-december-st-stephen-the-protomartyr-c-05-c-34-26-december/

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 Pope Dionysius (Died 268)
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)
Biography:

https://anastpaul.com/2019/12/26/saint-of-the-day-26-december-saint-vincenza-maria-lopez-1847-1890/
St Zeno of Gaza
St Pope Zosimus

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, 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 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

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, CHRISTMASTIDE!, MARTYRS, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS to the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY NAME, THOMAS a KEMPIS

Our Morning Offering – 26 December – The Memorial of St Stephen the First Martyr and the Second Day in the Octave of Christmas

Our Morning Offering – 26 December – The Memorial of St Stephen the First Martyr and the Second Day in the Octave of Christmas

O Sweet Name of Jesus
By Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)

O sweet Name of Jesus,
holy above all names
in heaven and on earth
and to which every knee,
both of men
and of angels in heaven,
on earth and in hell bends.
You are the the Way of the just,
the Glory of the saints,
the Hope of those in need,
the Balm of the sick,
the Love of the devout
and the Consolation
of those that suffer.
O, Jesus be to me a help
and a protector
so that Your Name
may be blessed for all times.
Amen

Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471) CRSA …(Manualis Parvulorum XIII)o sweet name of jesus by thomas a kempis 26 dec 2018

The Apostles chose Stephen the Deacon, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, who was stoned while he prayed, saying “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit and lay not this sin upon them.”

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.
Amen.Prayer for the feast of st stephen 26 dec 2018

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MARTYRS, PATRONAGE - ALTAR SERVERS and/or DEACONS, PATRONAGE - BUILDERS, CONSTRUCTION WORKERS, PATRONAGE - HEADACHES, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 26 December – St Stephen, the ProtoMartyr (c 05-c 34) – 26 December

Saint of the Day – 26 December – St Stephen, the ProtoMartyr (c 05-c 34) – 26 December the Second Day in the Octave of Christmas2nd snip st stephen

“As the number of disciples continued to grow, the Greek-speaking Christians complained about the Hebrew-speaking Christians, saying that their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.   So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, ‘It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.’   The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit…” (Acts 6:1-5).ststephen11

Acts of the Apostles says that Stephen was a man filled with grace and power, who worked great wonders among the people.   Certain Jews, members of the Synagogue of Roman Freedmen, debated with Stephen but proved no match for the wisdom and spirit with which he spoke.   They persuaded others to make the charge of blasphemy against him.   He was seized and carried before the Sanhedrin.

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. “…you always oppose the holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestors” (Acts 7:51b).st stephen martyr

Stephen’s speech brought anger from the crowd.   “But he, 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).st stephen snip

More about St Stephen here: 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/SOD-1226-SaintStephen-790x480

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 26 December – The Memorial of St Stephen the First Martyr and the Second Day in the Octave of Christmas

Thought for the Day – 26 December – The Memorial of St Stephen the First Martyr and the Second Day in the Octave of ChristmasSt. Stephen [Large]

Today the Church remembers the witness of Saint Stephen, the first of the Church’s martyrs. The cruelty of his death is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, as is the manner in which he died, transforming the violence that took his life into an occasion to give witness to an authority greater than those fallen powers who would rule us by fear and threats.

That the Church remembers Saint Stephen today is no accident.  Strip away the sentimentality that obscures the story of Christ’s Nativity and one realises that Christ came into this world and from the first instant He showed His infant face, He was opposed.   Recall yesterday’s excerpt from the magnificent prologue to the Gospel of John which testifies that Christ came to His own (us) and His own (again, that means us) “knew him not.”   But worse than this- we refused Him.

And many still do.

The Holy Child came ready for this fight and the world was willing to fight Him. However, the world discovered that it was outmatched and the fallen powers of this world turned against those whom the Holy Child loves.   Unable to harm the Body of His human nature any longer, the world strikes at His Body, the Church.

Therefore, when the Church remembers its martyrs, like Saint Stephen, it is not merely out of a concern that the faithful become conversant in the details of Church history. Instead it is to keep us honest- not only about the past but also about the present.   It has never been easy to be a Christian and being a Christian has always been counter-cultural.   If lived authentically, it is lived in defiance against the fallen powers of the world.

This means that like our Saviour we have to be ready.   We have to learn the strategy that He used to defeat the fallen powers of this world and how He claimed victory when it seemed that these fallen powers could not be defeated.   We must learn His strategy- enacted in the witness of Saint Stephen and all the Church’s martyrs, past and present- lest in our opposition to the powers of this world, we become just like them.  (Fr Steve Grunow)

Grant, Lord we pray,
that we may imitate what we worship,
and so learn to love even our enemies,
for we celebrate the heavenly birthday
of Saint Stephen, who knew how to pray for his persecutors.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

St Stephen, pray for us!st stephen - pray for us - 2017

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, PAPAL HOMILIES, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on LOVE, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 26 December – The Memorial of St Stephen the First Martyr and the Second Day in the Octave of Christmas

Quote/s of the Day – 26 December – The Memorial of St Stephen the First Martyr and the Second Day in the Octave of Christmas

“The deep bond which links Christ
to His first martyr Stephen, is divine Charity –
the very Love which impelled the Son of God
to empty Himself and make Himself obedient
unto death on a Cross …It is always necessary
to notice this distinctive feature of Christian martyrdom,
it is exclusively an act of love for God and for man,
including persecutors.”

Pope Benedict XVI – 26 December 2007

” …Like his Master, St Stephen died forgiving his persecutors
and thus makes us realise that the entry into the world
of the Son of God gives rise to a new civilisation,
the civilisation of love that does not yield to evil
and violence and pulls down the barriers
between men and women, making them brothers and sisters
in the great family of God’s children.”

Pope Benedict XVI – 26 December 2009the deep bond - pope benedict - 26 dec 2017

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

One Minute Reflection – 26 December – The Memorial of St Stephen the First Martyr and the Second Day in the Octave of Christmas

One Minute Reflection – 26 December – The Memorial of St Stephen the First Martyr and the Second Day in the Octave of Christmas

“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.” …Matthew 10:19-20

REFLECTION – “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.”…from a sermon by Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe (460-533)yesterday we celebrated - st fulgentius - 26 dec 2017

PRAYER – O God, the teacher and ruler of all that minister unto Thee, who did adorn the first beginnings of thy Church both with the ministrations of Thy blessed Deacon Stephen and with the precious blood of his martyrdom:   grant, we beseech Thee, that we, in the hour of our departure, obtaining Thy pardon, may be followers of his example and assisted by his prayers. Amen. – Milanese Sacramentaryst stephen pray for us

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, PATRONAGE - ALTAR SERVERS and/or DEACONS, PATRONAGE - BUILDERS, CONSTRUCTION WORKERS, PATRONAGE - HEADACHES, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – St Stephen, The First Martyr (c 05-c 34) – 26 December – The Second Day in the Octave of Christmas

Saint of the Day – St Stephen, The First Martyr (c 05-c 34) – 26 December – Deacon, Preacher.   the name “Stephen” – Stéphanos, meaning “wreath, crown” and by extension “reward, honour,” often given as a title rather than as a name.   Patronages – against headaches, of brick layers, casket makers, coffin makers, deacons, altar servers, horses,  masons, stone masons, Metz, France, Diocese of• Owensboro, Kentucky, Archdiocese of Toulouse, France, 92 cities.   Attributes – stones, dalmatic, censer, miniature church, Gospel Book, martyr’s palm frond.

Angelico,_niccolina_18
St Stephen – Fra Angelico
ststephen11

St Stephen was according to the Acts of the Apostles a deacon in the early church at Jerusalem who aroused the enmity of members of various synagogues by his teachings. Accused of blasphemy, at his trial he made a long speech denouncing the Jewish authorities who were sitting in judgement against him and was then stoned to death.   His martyrdom was witnessed by Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee who would later himself become a follower of Jesus and known as Paul the Apostle.

The only primary source for information about Stephen is the New Testament book of the Acts of the Apostles.   Stephen is mentioned in Acts 6 as one of the Greek-speaking Hellenistic Jews selected to participate as a deacon in the early Church by the eleven – before the twelfth was elected.

447px-Luis_de_Morales_-_St_Stephen
Luis de Morales  (1509–1586)

“Good King Wenceslaus went out, on the Feast of Stephen”.   This is the Feast of St Stephen, the day after Christmas, when we commemorate the first disciple to die for Jesus.

Stephen
Carlo Crivelli

In the Acts of the Apostles, St Luke praises St Stephen as “a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit,” who “did great wonders and signs among the people” during the earliest days of the Church.   Luke’s history of the period also includes the moving scene of Stephen’s death – witnessed by St Paul before his conversion – at the hands of those who refused to accept Jesus as the Jewish Messiah.   Stephen himself was a Jew who most likely came to believe in Jesus during the Lord’s ministry on earth.   He may have been among the 70 disciples whom Christ sent out as missionaries, who preached the coming of God’s kingdom while travelling with almost no possessions.   This spirit of detachment from material things continued in the early Church, in which St Luke says believers “had all things in common” and “would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.”   But such radical charity ran up against the cultural conflict between Jews and Gentiles, when a group of Greek widows felt neglected in their needs as compared to those of a Jewish background.

Stephen’s reputation for holiness led the Apostles to choose him, along with six other men, to assist them in an official and unique way as this dispute arose.   Through the sacramental power given to them by Christ, the Apostles ordained the seven men as deacons and set them to work helping the widows.

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

As a deacon, Stephen also preached about Christ as the fulfillment of the Old Testament law and prophets.   Unable to refute his message, some members of local synagogues brought him before their religious authorities, charging him with seeking to destroy their traditions.   Stephen responded with a discourse recorded in the seventh chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.   He described Israel’s resistance to God’s grace in the past and accused the present religious authorities of “opposing the Holy Spirit” and rejecting the Messiah.

Before he was put to death, Stephen had a vision of Christ in glory. “Look,” he told the court, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”  

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St Stephen – Domenico Ghirlandaio

The council, however, dragged the deacon away and stoned him to death.   “While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,’ records St. Luke in Acts 7.   “Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’   When he had said this, he fell asleep.”

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