Skip to comments.Angelus: St. Stephen
Posted on 12/26/2007 9:44:36 PM PST by ELS
Dear brothers and sisters,
The day after Christmas, the liturgy celebrates the 'birth in heaven' of the first Christian martyr, St. Stephen.
'Filled with faith and the Holy Spirit' (Acts 6,5), he was chosen as a deacon by he community if Jerusalem, along with six other disciples who had a Greek education.
With the power given to him by God, Stephen performed many miracles and announced the Gospel in the synagogues with "inspired wisdom.' He was stoned at the gates of the city and died, like Jesus, invoking forgiveness for his executioners (Acts 7,59-60).
The profound link that united Christ to his first martyr Stephen was divine charity: the same love that made the Son of God strip himself and be obedient up to dying on the Cross (cfr Phil 2,6-8) later impelled the Apostles and other martyrs to give their life for the Gospel.
It is necessary always to note this distinctive characteristic of Christian martyrdom: it is exclusively an act of love, for God and for men, including their persecutors. That is why today, in the Holy Mass, we prayed to the Lord to teach us to "love even our enemies as Stephen did, who, in dying, prayed for his persecutors" (Collect prayer).
How many sons and daughters of the Church, in the course of centuries, have followed his example! From the first persecutions in Jerusalem, to those of the Roman emperors, down to the ranks of martyrs in our time.
In fact, it is not rare that even today, we get news from various parts of the world about missionaries, priests, bishops, religious and lay faithful, who are persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, deprived of freedom or prevented from exercising freedom because they are disciples of Christ and apostles of the Gospel. And some suffer and die because of their communion with the universal Church and loyalty to the Pope.
In the encyclical letter Spe salvi (cfr par. 37), recalling the experience of the Vietnamese martyr Paul Le Bao Thin, I note how suffering is transformed to joy through the strength of hope which comes from faith.
The Christian martyr, like Christ, and through union with him, "accepts the Cross and death in his most intimate being, transforming these into an act of love. That which is brutal violence seen from the outside becomes interiorly an act of completely self-giving love. Thus, violence is transformed to love, and death to life" (Homily at Marienfeld, Cologne, Aug. 20, 2005).
The Christian martyr actualizes the victory of love over hate and death.
Let us pray for those who suffer because of their loyalty to Christ and his Church. Most Holy Mary, Queen of Martyrs, help us to be credible witnesses for the Gospel, replying to our enemies with the disarming force of truth and charity.
In English, he said:
I greet all those present for todays Angelus.
On this Feast of Saint Stephen the Martyr, Christians throughout the world are reminded that those who stand firm with Christ to the end will be saved. Confident of our Lords love for us, may we always make a place for him in our hearts and in our lives.
During these Christmas days, may God bless you with the saving power of his peace and love.
|Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae;
Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto.
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.
Ecce ancilla Domini.
Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.
Ave Maria, ...
Et Verbum caro factum est.
Et habitavit in nobis.
Ave Maria, ...
Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genetrix.
Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.
Oremus.Gratiam tuam, quaesumus, Domine, mentibus nostris infunde; ut qui, Angelo nuntiante, Christi Filii tui incarnationem cognovimus, per passionem eius et crucem, ad resurrectionis gloriam perducamur. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum.
|The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and in the hour of our death. Amen.
Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
Be it done unto me according to thy word.
Hail Mary, ...
And the Word was made Flesh.
And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary, ...
Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray. Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that, we to whom the Incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an Angel, may by His Passion and Cross, be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord.
There was no general audience today, but Benedict XVI did lead the Angelus prayer from his window overlooking St. Peter's Square.
Please let me know if you want to be on or off this list.
What a difference from the “prosperity gospel” that is so en vogue right now.
Saint Stephen, First Martyr
The Martyrdom of St Stephen
1603-04 - Oil on canvas
Musée du Louvre, Paris
St. Stephen was a deacon in the early Church and was the first Christian martyred for his faith. He was one of the seven deacons who helped the apostles (Acts 6:1-6) and was "filled with faith and with the Holy Spirit," and was "full of fortitude" (Acts 6:5,8). Stephen died praying for his executioners. The similarities between Stephen's martyrdom and the crucifixion of Our Lord emphasize his imitation of Christ even unto the complete gift of self. His name is included in the Roman Canon.
Source: Daily Roman Missal, Edited by Rev. James Socías, Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois ©2003
today we celebrate the entrance of St. Stephen
into eternal glory.
He died praying for those who killed him.
Help us to imitate his goodness
and to love our enemies.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.
First Reading: Acts 6:8-10;7:54-59
And Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, arose and disputed with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.
Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth against him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into 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 together upon him. Then 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 as they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 31:3cd-4, 6 and 8ab, 16bc and 17
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Be thou a rock of refuge for me,
a strong fortress to save me!
Yea, thou art my rock and my fortress;
for thy name's sake lead me and guide me,
Into thy hand I commit my spirit;
thou hast redeemed me,
O LORD, faithful God.
I will rejoice and be glad for thy steadfast love,
because thou hast seen my affliction,
My times are in thy hand;
deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors!
Let thy face shine on thy servant;
save me in thy steadfast love!
Gospel Reading: Matthew 10:17-22
Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
Related Link on the Vatican Website: