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 MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 13 August – The Memorial of Sts Pontian & Hippolytus

Thought for the Day – 13 August – The Memorial of Sts Pontian & Hippolytus

“It is in their captivity that Saints Pontian and Hippolytus reconciled with one another. Both died of torture and deprivation.

We have lived in an age when so many in the Church have divided themselves into factions, forsaking unity in Christ for the cause of ideology.   Being a member of Christ’s Body has, sadly, become for so many a question of choosing sides.   Sts Pontian and Hippolytus serve as a sign of contradiction to all this.

The substance of the apostolic faith is far greater than the pretenses of ideology that we would use to subvert the communion of the Church.  Great suffering revealed this truth to Saints Pontian and Hippolytus — I wonder what it will take for us to reach this conclusion?

Let us pray that the tired ideologies of the present will quickly become a thing of the past and that we all will find the richness of the apostolic faith, the faith of the martyrs Pontian and Hippolytus, unity and peace. “….Fr Steve Grunow CEO of Word on Fire

Sts Pontian and Hippolytus, pray for us!

sts pontian and hippolytus pray for us