December 26—ST. STEPHEN, First Martyr
THERE is good reason to believe that St. Stephen was one of the seventy-two disciples of our blessed Lord. After the Ascension he was chosen one of the seven deacons. The ministry of the seven was very fruitful; but Stephen especially, “full of grace and fortitude, did great wonders and signs among the people.” Many adversaries rose up to dispute with him, but “they were not able to withstand the wisdom and the spirit that spoke.” At length he was brought before the Sanhedrim, charged, like his divine Master, with blasphemy against Moses and against God. He boldly upbraided the chief priests with their hard-hearted resistance to the Holy Ghost and with the murder of the “Just One.” They were stung with anger, and gnashed their teeth against him. But when, “filled with the Holy Ghost and looking up to heaven, he cried out, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God,’ they rushed upon him, and dragging him forth without the city, they stoned him to death”
Reflection.—If ever you are tempted to resentment, pray from your heart for him who has offended you.
Ps 118:23; 118:86; 118:23
Sedérunt príncipes, et advérsum me loquebántur: et iníqui persecúti sunt me: ádiuva me, Dómine, Deus meus, quia servus tuus exercebátur in tuis iustificatiónibus.
Beati immaculáti in via, qui ámbulant in lege Dómini
Princes met and talked against me, and the wicked persecuted me wrongfully; help me, O Lord my God, for Your servant meditates on Your statutes.
Happy are they whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord.
Da nobis, quǽsumus, Dómine, imitári quod cólimus: ut discámus et inimícos dilígere; quia eius natalícia celebrámus, qui novit étiam pro persecutóribus exoráre Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum, Fílium tuum:
Grant us, we beseech You, 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, Your Son,
Lectio Actuum Apostolorum.
Act 6:8-10; 7:54-59
In diebus illis: Stéphanus plenus grátia et fortitúdine, faciébat prodígia et signa magna in pópulo. Surrexérunt autem quidam de synagóga, quæ appellátur Libertinórum, et Cyrenénsium, et Alexandrinórum, et eórum, qui erant a Cilícia et Asia, disputántes cum Stéphano: et non póterant resístere sapiéntiæ et Spirítui, qui loquebátur. Audiéntes autem hæc, dissecabántur córdibus suis, et stridébant déntibus in eum. Cum autem esset Stéphanus plenus Spíritu Sancto, inténdens in coelum, vidit glóriam Dei, et Iesum stantem a dextris Dei. Et ait: Ecce, vídeo coelos apértos, et Fílium hóminis stantem a dextris Dei. Exclamántes autem voce magna continuérunt aures suas, et ímpetum fecerunt unanímiter in eum. Et eiiciéntes eum extra civitatem, lapidábant: et testes deposuérunt vestiménta sua secus pedes adolescéntis, qui vocabátur Saulus. Et lapidábant Stéphanum invocántem et dicéntem: Dómine Iesu, súscipe spíritum meum. Pósitis autem génibus, clamávit voce magna, dicens: Dómine, ne státuas illis hoc peccátum. Et cum hoc dixísset, obdormívit in Dómino.
R. Deo gratias.
In those days, Stephen, full of grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people. But there arose some from the synagogue which is called that of the Freedmen, and of the Cyrenians and of the Alexandrians and of those from Cilicia and the province of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to withstand the wisdom and the Spirit Who spoke. Now as they heard these things, they were cut to the heart and gnashed their teeth at him. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up 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. But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed upon him all together. And they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And while they were stoning Stephen he prayed and said, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, saying, Lord, do not lay this sin against them. And with these words he fell asleep.
R. Thanks be to God.
Act 6:5; 7:59
Elegérunt Apóstoli Stéphanum Levítam, plenum fide et Spíritu Sancto: quem lapidavérunt Iudaei orántem, et dicéntem: Dómine Iesu, áccipe spíritum meum, alleluia.
The Apostles chose Stephen to be a levite, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit: whom the Jews stoned, praying and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. Alleluia.
Auxiliéntur nobis, Dómine, sumpta mystéria: et, intercedénte beáto Stéphano Mártyre tuo, sempitérna protectióne conferment.
May the sacrament we have received aid us, O Lord; and by the intercession of blessed Stephen, Your Martyr, may it sustain us under Your everlasting protection.