For some reason, I got it into my head this morning that today is the feast of St. Stephen. I must have been suffering a senior moment. (Is that a symptom of COVID 19)? I know it's not the feast of St. Stephen, so where did that come from? (His feast is actually December 26th.)
Today, in fact, is the feast of St. Louis de Montfort. Much as I love him and will be renewing my consecration to Our Lady today, I'm leaving up this post honoring St. Stephen. There must be a reason he's on my mind today.
I love this icon showing Stephen holding the Church. It calls to mind Tertullian's statement, "The blood of the martyrs is the seedbed of the Church." Is our beloved faith in such disarray today because so few, clergy or religious or laity, are willing to risk much, if anything at all, to advance the kingdom?
I wonder if Stephen was in the upper room "sheltering in place" with the apostles after the Crucifixion. Was he quaking in fear over the virus of hate out in the streets of Jerusalem? If so, the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost transformed him into a bold crusader for Christ.
Was St. Paul listening when Stephen preached to the Sanhedrin outlining the history of Israel? (Acts chapter 7) Did Stephen's prayers for his murderers prepare the hard ground of Saul's heart to reap his immediate conversion on the road to Damascus?
How I want to imitate St. Stephen and all the holy saints and martyrs who longed so much to bring the entire world to Christ, that they were willing to die for Him. But I know how weak I am. I'm not even able to say the Act of Love without amending it.
O my Jesus,I'm asking St. Stephen's intercession today that I might have at least a portion of his faith and courage. He was willing to risk everything to proclaim the saving power of God. Give us, O Lord, even a pinch of his spirit, that little bloody seed growing to a harvest of 30, 60, or 100 fold.
I(please help me to) love you with my whole heart, mind, soul, and strength and my neighbor as myself for love you. I ask pardon of all those I have offended and forgive all those who have sinned against me through Christ our Lord. Amen
St Stephen, pray for us.