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Catholic Caucus: Daily Mass Readings, 12-26-11, Feast, St. Stephen, First Martyr
USCCB.org/RNAB ^ | 12-26-11 | Revised New American Bible

Posted on 12/25/2011 8:04:14 PM PST by Salvation

December 26, 2011

Feast of Saint Stephen, First Martyr

 

Reading 1 Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59

Stephen, filled with grace and power,
was working great wonders and signs among the people.
Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen,
Cyrenians, and Alexandrians,
and people from Cilicia and Asia,
came forward and debated with Stephen,
but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke.

When they heard this, they were infuriated,
and they ground their teeth at him.
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."
But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears,
and rushed upon him together.
They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.
The witnesses laid down their cloaks
at the feet of a young man named Saul.
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out
"Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 31:3cd-4, 6 and 8ab, 16bc and 17

R. (6) Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety.
You are my rock and my fortress;
for your name's sake you will lead and guide me.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
I will rejoice and be glad because of your mercy.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

Gospel Mt 10:17-22

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts
and scourge you in their synagogues,
and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake
as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over,
do not worry about how you are to speak
or what you are to say.
You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will hand over brother to death,
and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved."


TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; Prayer; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; christmas; prayer; saints
For your reading, reflection, faith-sharing, comments, questions, discussion.

1 posted on 12/25/2011 8:04:17 PM PST by Salvation
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...
Alleluia Ping!
 
If you aren’t on this ping list NOW and would like to be, 
please Freepmail me.

2 posted on 12/25/2011 8:07:15 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59

Stephen’s Arrest


[8] And Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among
the people. [9] 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. [10] But
they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.

The Martyrdom of Stephen


[54] Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground
their teeth against him. [55] 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; [56]
and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing
at the right hand of God.” [57] But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped
their ears and rushed together upon him. [58] Then they cast him out of the ci-
ty and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a
young man named Saul. [59] And as they were stoning Stephen, he prayed,
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

*******************************************************************************************
Commentary:

8-14. From the text it would appear that Stephen preached mainly among Hel-
lenist Jews; this was his own background. Reference is made to synagogues
of Jews of the Dispersion (Diaspora). These synagogues were used for worship
and as meeting places. The very fact that these Hellenist Jews were living in
the Holy City shows what devotion they had to the Law of their forebears.

No longer is it only the Sanhedrin who are opposed to the Gospel; other Jews
have been affected by misunderstanding and by misrepresentation of the Chris-
tian message.

The charge of blasphemy—also made against our Lord—was the most serious
that could be made against a Jew. As happened in Jesus’ case, the accusers
here resort to producing false witnesses, who twist Stephen’s words and ac-
cuse him of a crime the penalty for which is death.

55-56. “It is clear”, St. Ephraem comments, “that those who suffer for Christ
enjoy the glory of the whole Trinity. Stephen saw the Father and Jesus at His
side, because Jesus appears only to his own, as was the case with the Apos-
tles after the Resurrection. While the champion of the faith stood there help-
less in the midst of those who had killed the Lord, just at the point when the
first martyr was to be crowned, he saw the Lord, holding a crown in His right
hand, as if to encourage him to conquer death and to show that he inwardly
helps those who are about to die on his account. He therefore reveals what
he sees, that is, the heavens opened, which were closed to Adam and only
opened to Christ at the Jordan, but open now after the Cross to all who share
Christ’s sufferings, and in the first instance open to this man. See how Ste-
phen reveals why his face was lit up: it was because he was on the point of
contemplating this wondrous mission. That is why he took on the appea-
rance of an angel—so that his testimony might be more reliable” (”Armenian
Commentary, ad loc.”).

57-59. The cursory trial of Stephen ends without any formal sentence of death:
this Jewish tribunal was unable to pass such sentences because the Romans
restricted its competence. In any event no sentence proves necessary: the
crowd becomes a lynching party: it takes over and proceeds to stone Stephen,
with the tacit approval of the Sanhedrin.

Tradition regards Stephen as the first Christian martyr, an example of fortitude
and suffering for love of Christ. “Could you keep all God’s commandments,” St.
Cyprian asks, “were it not for the strength of patience? That was what enabled
Stephen to hold out: in spite of being stoned he did not call down vengeance
on his executioners, but rather forgiveness.... How fitting it was for him to be
Christ’s first martyr, so that by being, through his glorious death, the model of
all the martyrs that would come after him, he should not only be a preacher of
the Lord’s Passion, but should also imitate it in his meekness and immense
patience” (”De Bono Patientiae”, 16).

Martyrdom is a supreme act of bravery and of true prudence, but to the world
it makes no sense. It is also an expression of humility, because a martyr does
not act out of bravado or overweening self-confidence; he is a weak man like
anyone else, but God’s grace gives him the strength he needs. Although mar-
tyrdom is something which happens rarely, it does show Christians what hu-
man nature can rise to if God gives it strength, and it establishes a standard,
both real and symbolic, for the behavior of every disciple of Christ.

“Since all the virtues and the perfection of all righteousness are born of love of
God and one’s neighbor,” St. Leo says, “in no one is this love more worthily
found than in the blessed martyrs, who are nearest to our Lord in terms of imi-
tation of both His charity and His Passion.

“The martyrs have been of great help to others, because the Lord has availed
of the very strength as He granted them to ensure that the pain of death and
the cruelty of the Cross do not frighten any of His own, but are seen as things
in which man can imitate Him....

“No example is more useful for the instruction of the people of God than that of
the martyrs. Eloquence is effective for entreating, argument for convincing; but
examples are worth more than words, and it is better to teach by deeds than
by speech” (”Hom. on the Feast of St. Laurence”).

The Second Vatican Council has reminded us of the excellence of the martyr-
dom as a form of witness to the faith. Although there are heroic ways of imita-
ting and following our Lord which do not involve the drama of bloodshed and
death, all Christians should realize that confession of the faith in this way is
not a thing of the past and is sometimes necessary.

“Since Jesus, the Son of God, showed His love by laying down His life for us,
no one has greater love than he who lays down his life for Him and for his bro-
thers (cf. 1 John 3:16; John 15:13). Some Christians have been called from the
beginning, and will always be called, to give this greatest testimony of love to
all, especially to persecutors. Martyrdom makes the disciple like his Master.
[...] Therefore, the Church considers it the highest gift and supreme test of love.
And although it is given to few, all must be prepared to confess Christ before
men and to follow him along the way of the Cross amidst the persecutions
which the Church never lacks.

“Likewise the Church’s holiness is fostered [...] by the manifold counsels which
the Lord proposes to His disciples in the Gospel” (Vatican II, “Lumen Gentium”,
42).

The Liturgy of the Church sums up the asceticism and theology of martyrdom
in the preface for Christian martyrs: “Your holy martyr followed the example of
Christ, and gave his life for the glory of Your name. His death reveals Your po-
wer shining through our human weakness. You choose the weak and make
them strong in bearing witness to You.”

Like Jesus, Stephen dies commending his soul to God and praying for his
persecutors. At this point St. Luke brings in Saul who cooperates in the pro-
ceedings by watching the executioners’ clothes; Saul will soon experience
the benefits of Stephen’s intercession. “If Stephen had not prayed to God,
the Church would not have had Paul” (St. Augustine, “Sermons”, 315, 7).

Stephen has died, but his example and teaching continue to speak across
the world.

*******************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


3 posted on 12/25/2011 8:11:43 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Matthew 10:17-22

Jesus’ Instructions to the Apostles


(Jesus said to His disciples,) [17] Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to
councils, and flog you in their synagogues, [18] and you will be dragged before
governors and kings for My sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles.
[19] 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; [20] for
it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. [21]
Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will
rise against parents and have them put to death; [22] and you will be hated by
all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

16-23. The instructions and warnings Jesus gives here apply right through the
history of the Church. It is difficult for the world to understand the way of God.
Sometimes there will be persecutions, sometimes indifference to the Gospel
or failure to understand. Genuine commitment to Jesus always involves effort
—which is not surprising, because Jesus Himself was a sign of contradiction;
indeed, if that were not the experience of a Christian, he would have to ask him-
self whether he was not in fact a worldly person. There are certain worldly things
a Christian cannot compromise about, no matter how much they are in fashion.
Therefore, Christian life inevitably involves nonconformity with anything that goes
against faith and morals (cf. Romans 12:2). It is not surprising that a Christian’s
life often involves choosing between heroism and treachery. Difficulties of this
sort should not make us afraid: we are not alone, we can count on the powerful
help of our Father God to give us strength and daring.

20. Here Jesus teaches the completely supernatural character of the witness
He asks His disciples to bear. The documented accounts of a host of Christian
martyrs prove that He has kept this promise: they bear eloquent witness to the
serenity and wisdom of often uneducated people, some of them scarcely more
than children.

The teaching contained in this verse provides the basis for the fortitude and con-
fidence a Christian should have whenever he has to profess his faith in difficult
situations. He will not be alone, for the Holy Spirit will give him words of divine
wisdom.

********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


4 posted on 12/25/2011 8:12:26 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Mass Readings


First reading Acts 6:8-10,7:54-59 ©
Stephen was filled with grace and power and began to work miracles and great signs among the people. But then certain people came forward to debate with Stephen, some from Cyrene and Alexandria who were members of the synagogue called the Synagogue of Freedmen, and others from Cilicia and Asia. They found they could not get the better of him because of his wisdom, and because it was the Spirit that prompted what he said. They were infuriated when they heard this, and ground their teeth at him.
  But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. ‘I can see heaven thrown open’ he said ‘and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this all the members of the council shouted out and stopped their ears with their hands; then they all rushed at him, sent him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses put down their clothes at the feet of a young man called Saul. As they were stoning him, Stephen said in invocation, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’

Psalm Psalm 30:3-4,6,8,16-17 ©
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Be a rock of refuge for me,
  a mighty stronghold to save me,
for you are my rock, my stronghold.
  For your name’s sake, lead me and guide me.
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Into your hands I commend my spirit.
  It is you who will redeem me, Lord.
As for me, I trust in the Lord:
  let me be glad and rejoice in your love.
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
My life is in your hands, deliver me
  from the hands of those who hate me.
Let your face shine on your servant.
  Save me in your love.
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

Gospel Acclamation Ps117:26,27
Alleluia, alleluia!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord:
the Lord God is our light.
Alleluia!

Gospel Matthew 10:17-22 ©
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Beware of men: they will hand you over to sanhedrins and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the pagans. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how to speak or what to say; what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes; because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you.
  ‘Brother will betray brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name; but the man who stands firm to the end will be saved.’

5 posted on 12/25/2011 8:15:52 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: All
URBI ET ORBI MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI
Solemn Mass of Christmas Eve with Pope Benedict XVI

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Christmas Overview for All
The Tradition of Midnight Mass: History
Which Christmas Mass are you attending? [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Christmas, Christians, and Christ
The Many Meanings of Christmas
Vocations Under the Christmas Tree? [Catholic Caucus]
A Meditation On the “Bloody Octave” of Christmas [Catholic Caucus]
"It (Theosis) can be a somewhat startling theme for western Christian ears..."
Archbishop Wenski brightens Christmas for Krome detainees
The Octave of Christmas: December 25 -- January 1 [Ecumenical]
Pope's Christmas Warning: 'The Future Of The World Is At Stake'
Father Corapi: What Really Matters [at Christmas]?
Papal Midnight Mass With No Communion in The Hand
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'Christmas is Evil': Muslim Group Launches Poster Campaign Against Festive Period [UK]

The Origin of Nativity Scenes
St. Francis and the Christmas Creche
Holy Day Vs. Holiday: Making Christmas Less Commercial
25 Ways We're Different this Christmas
On Christmas: Where Everything Began
Saved by Christmas
Christmas Midnight Mass Canceled in Iraq
Some Christmas History: The Aztec Christmas Flower
Top 10 Christmas Carols (What is your favorite Christmas Carol?)
Where’s the Human in Humanism? Humanist Ads Violate...Own Humanist Standards (Attacking Christmas]
Fr. Corapi: In Reality, Sadness Has No Place At Christmas Time Or Any Time…
Pope's battle to save Christmas: Don't let atheists crush your traditions, Benedict tells Britain
A CHRISTMAS TRADITION IN ROME: THE STREET CLEANERS NATIVITY SCENE
The Days of Christmastide -- more than twelve!
Saint Padre Pio's Christmas Meditation
"Transform Me. Renew Me. Change Me, Change Us All" (Pope's Midnight Mass Homily)
Christmas in Rome. The Pope's Tale of the Crèche
On the Feast of Christ's Birth [Benedict XVI]
The Meaning of Christmas: Look Deeper
St. Francis and the Christmas crib.
Away in a Manger [St. Francis of Assisi and the first Nativity scene]

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Christmastide and Epiphany
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A Christmas Message >From Fr. Corapi
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Preface: Memories of Christmas
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Pope Wishes the World a Merry Christmas
On this night, a comforting message(Merry Christmas!)
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The Origin of Nativity Scenes

Various Orthodox Texts for the Feast of the Nativity
The Five Best Christmas Stories
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Top ten Carols and things you didn't know about them
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The Senses of Christmas
Pope celebrates Christmas mass
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7 posted on 12/25/2011 8:36:36 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Prayers for The Religion Forum (Ecumenical)
8 posted on 12/25/2011 8:37:43 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Continue to Pray for Pope Benedict [Ecumenical]
9 posted on 12/25/2011 8:38:05 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
 
Jesus, High Priest
 

We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry.

Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love.

Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit.

Lead them to new depths of union with your Son.

Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.

Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.

O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son.

Intercede for our priests, that offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saint John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priests

This icon shows Jesus Christ, our eternal high priest.

The gold pelican over His heart represents self-sacrifice.

The border contains an altar and grapevines, representing the Mass, and icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.

Melchizedek: king of righteousness (left icon) was priest and king of Jerusalem.  He blessed Abraham and has been considered an ideal priest-king.

St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests.

10 posted on 12/25/2011 8:38:47 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Pray a Rosary each day for our nation.

Pray the Rosary

1.  Sign of the Cross:  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

2.  The Apostles Creed:  I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

3.  The Lord's Prayer:  OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

4. (3) Hail Mary:  HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst 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. (Three times)

5. Glory Be:  GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.

Announce each mystery, then say 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and 1 Fatima prayer.  Repeat the process with each mystery.

End with the Hail Holy Queen:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus!

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Final step -- The Sign of the Cross

 

The Mysteries of the Rosary

By tradition, Catholics meditate on these Mysteries during prayers of the Rosary.
The biblical references follow each of the Mysteries below.


The Joyful Mysteries
(Mondays and Saturdays)

1. The Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38) [Spiritual fruit - Humility]
2. The Visitation (Luke 1: 39-56) [Spiritual fruit - Love of Neighbor]
3. The Nativity (Luke 2:1-20) [Spiritual fruit - Poverty of Spirit]
4. The Presentation (Luke 2:21-38) [Spiritual fruit - Purity of mind & body]
5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52) [Spiritual fruit - Obedience ]

11 posted on 12/25/2011 8:40:06 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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~ PRAYER ~

St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle
 Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we  humbly pray,
 and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
 by the power of God,
 Cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
 Amen
+

12 posted on 12/25/2011 8:41:20 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
God Save Our Country web site (prayer warriors)
Prayer Chain Request for the United States of America
Pray for Nancy Pelosi
Prayer and fasting will help defeat health care reform (Freeper Prayer Thread)
Prayer Campaign Started to Convert Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians to Pro-Life
[Catholic Caucus] One Million Rosaries
Non-stop Rosary vigil to defeat ObamaCare

From an Obama bumper sticker on a car:

"Pray for Obama.  Psalm 109:8"

Psalm 109:8

    "Let his days be few; and let another take his place of leadership."

PLEASE JOIN US -

Evening Prayer
Someone has said that if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless.
Did you know that during WWII there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace?  


There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America. If you would like to participate: Every evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central) (7:00 PM Mountain) (6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please pass this along. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.    Please forward this to your praying friends.


13 posted on 12/25/2011 8:43:07 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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immaculate_conception.jpg (155743 bytes)

December Devotion: The Immaculate Conception

Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. The month of December is traditionally dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. The Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first moment of her conception, by a singular privilege of Almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, our Savior and hers, was preserved from all stain of original sin. This age-old belief of the Church was defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854 as an article of revealed truth.

Mary was in need of redemption and she was indeed redeemed by the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. The manner of Mary's redemption, however, was unique. Instead of being freed from original sin after having contracted it, she was preserved from contracting it. This was a most fitting favor for the Mother of the Redeemer.

INVOCATION
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

TO THE VIRGIN IMMACULATE
O Virgin Immaculate, Mother of God and my Mother, from thy sublime height turn upon me thine eyes of pity. Filled with confidence in thy goodness and knowing full well thy power, I beseech thee to extend to. me thine assistance in the journey of life, which is so full of dangers for my soul. And in order that I may never be the slave of the devil through sin, , but may ever live with my heart humble and pure, I entrust myself wholly to thee. I consecrate my heart to thee for ever, my only desire being to love thy divine Son Jesus. Mary, none of thy devout servants has ever perished; may I too be saved. Amen.

PRAYER OF PRAISE
O pure and immaculate and likewise blessed Virgin, who art the sinless Mother of thy Son, the mighty Lord of the universe, thou who art inviolate and altogether holy, the hope of the hopeless and sinful, we sing thy praises. We bless thee, as full of every grace, thou who didst bear the God-Man: we all bow low before thee; we invoke thee and implore thine aid. Rescue us, 0 holy and inviolate Virgin, from every necessity that presses upon us and from all the temptations of the devil. Be our intercessor and advocate at the hour of death and judgment; deliver us from the fire that is not extinguished and from the outer darkness; make us worthy of the glory of thy Son, O dearest and most clement Virgin Mother. Thou indeed art our only hope, most sure and sacred in God's sight, to whom be honor and glory, majesty and dominion for ever and ever world without end. Amen.   
Saint Ephrem the Syrian

PRAYER OF POPE PIUS XII
This prayer, dedicated to Mary Immaculate, was composed by the Pope for the Marian Year (December 8, 1953-December 8, 1954), which was proclaimed to mark the centenary of the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

Enraptured by the splendor of your heavenly beauty, and impelled by the anxieties of the world, we cast ourselves into your arms, 0 Immacuate Mother of Jesus and our Mother, Mary, confident of finding in your most loving heart appeasement of our ardent desires, and a safe harbor from the tempests which beset us on every side.

Though degraded by our faults and overwhelmed by infinite misery, we admire and praise the peerless richness of sublime gifts with which God has filled you, above every other mere creature, from the first moment of your conception until the day on which, after your assumption into heaven, He crowned you Queen of the Universe.

O crystal fountain of faith, bathe our minds with the eternal truths! O fragrant Lily of all holiness, captivate our hearts with your heavenly perfume! 0 Conqueress of evil and death, inspire in us a deep horror of sin, which makes the soul detestable to God and a slave of hell!

O well-beloved of God, hear the ardent cry which rises up from every heart. Bend tenderly over our aching wounds. Convert the wicked, dry the tears of the afflicted and oppressed, comfort the poor and humble, quench hatreds, sweeten harshness, safeguard the flower of purity in youth, protect the holy Church, make all men feel the attraction of Christian goodness. In your name, resounding harmoniously in heaven, may they recognize that they are brothers, and that the nations are members of one family, upon which may there shine forth the sun of a universal and sincere peace.

Receive, O most sweet Mother, our humble supplications, and above all obtain for us that, one day, happy with you, we may repeat before your throne that hymn which today is sung on earth around your altars: You are all-beautiful, O Mary! You are the glory, you are the joy, you are the honor of our people! Amen.

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

The Corona of the Immaculate Conception [Catholic Caucus]
Catholic Caucus: Immaculate Conception Novena Prayer Thread
New chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Lebanon at National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Feast of the The Conception by St. Anna of the Most Holy Theotokos December 9th
On the Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Mary: "Trust Jesus, he will save you" (Catholic Caucus)
I Love that Woman! My Unworthy Reflections on The Immaculate Conception

LAND OF MARY IMMACULATE [Ecumenical]
Mary as the New Eve - St. Irenaeus
Mary - the Immaculate Ark of the New Covenant [Catholic Caucus]
THE LIFE OF BLESSED JOHN DUNS SCOTUS, Defender of the Immaculate Conception [Catholic Caucus]
An Unfathomable Marian Richness [Catholic Caucus]
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: The Immaculate Conception of Mary
History of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception - December 8 [Catholic Caucus]
Preserved Sinless from the Moment of Humanity (Dogma of the Immaculate Conception) [Catholic Caucus]
I Love that Woman! My Unworthy Reflections on The Immaculate Conception [Catholic Caucus]
Father Marquette's Devotion to the Immaculate Conception (Catholic Caucus)

St. John Neumann and the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception (Catholic Caucus)
Our Jewish Roots: The Immaculate Conception [Ecumenical]
And It Was Night. The Real Story of Original Sin [Ecumenical]
I Love that Woman! My Unworthy Reflections on The Immaculate Conception
Mary Immaculate: Patroness of the United States [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Catholic/Orthodox Caucus: The Immaculate Conception: A Marvelous Theme - Novena Starts Nov. 30
THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION - Satan's Mighty Foe(Catholic Caucus)
Ark of the new covenant
Historian reveals how Pius IX decided to proclaim dogma of Immaculate Conception (Catholic Caucus)
The Immaculate Vs. the Proud

Immaculate Conception Novena -- starts November 30th [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Blessed John Duns Scotus Champion Of Mary's Immaculate Conception (CATHOLIC CAUCUS)
The Crusade of Mary Immaculate - St. Maximilian Kolbe (Catholic Caucus)
The Early Church Fathers on the Immaculate Conception - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
Three Reasons the Church’s Enemies Hate The Immaculate Conception
Her saving grace - the origins of the Immaculate Conception
Mary Is a Model Who Works With Us and in Us
U.S. Catholic bishops to renew consecration of nation to Immaculate Conception
Catholic Meditation: To the Immaculate Conception on this Election Day
Saint Bernadette of Lourdes (Sermon from 1934)

My visit to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
On Solemnity of Immaculate Conception - "In Mary Shines the Eternal Goodness of the Creator"
The Belief of Catholics concerning the Blessed Virgin: the Second Eve
Pope makes pilgrimage to Mary statue in Rome, marking the feast of the Immaculate Conception
Pope: Mary the Immaculate Conception... (text of BXVI speech)
"Tota pulchra es, Maria, et macula originalis non est in te" (The Immaculate Conception)
The Immaculate Conception — Essential to the Faith
"Who Are You, Immaculate Conception?"
TURKEY Ephesus: The Feast of the Immaculate Conception at Mary’s House
Coming Dec 8th. Feast of the "Immaculate Conception"

Why the Immaculate Conception?
Catholic Encyclopedia: Immaculate Conception (The Doctrine and Its Roots)
The Immaculate Conception of Our Lady December 8
Mary's Immaculate Conception: A Memorable Anniversary
Ineffabilis Deus: 8 December 1854 (Dogma of the Immaculate Conception)
Why do we believe in the Immaculate Conception?
John Paul II goes to Lourdes; reflections on the Immaculate Conception
Your Praises We Sing--on the Dogma of the Proclamation of the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8th
Eastern Christianity and the Immaculate Conception (Q&A From EWTN)
Memorandum on the Immaculate Conception [Newman]

14 posted on 12/25/2011 8:43:45 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

December, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI's Intentions

General Intention: That the nations of the earth, through knowledge and mutual respect, may grow in harmony and peace.

Missionary Intention: That children and young people may be messengers of the Gospel and that their dignity may always be respected and preserved from all violence and exploitation.


15 posted on 12/25/2011 8:44:43 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Monday, December 26, 2011
St. Stephen, First Martyr (Feast)
First Reading:
Psalm:
Gospel:
Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59
Psalm 31:3-4, 6, 8, 17
Matthew 10:17-22

O blessed penance which has earned for me such great glory!

-- St Peter of Alcantara in a vision to St. Teresa




16 posted on 12/25/2011 8:48:20 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Remember the new Martyrs of Nigeria as you keep the Feaast of Stephen.


17 posted on 12/25/2011 9:03:25 PM PST by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini)
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To: lightman

Definitely, from what I saw, they were killed while at Mass.


18 posted on 12/25/2011 9:19:01 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All



The Angelus 

The Angel of the Lord declared to 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 at 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.

Amen. 


19 posted on 12/25/2011 9:19:51 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: lightman

Amen! terrible day!!


20 posted on 12/26/2011 2:15:25 AM PST by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass ,Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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To: lightman

That part of the world NEEDS prayers. As the Christian faith GROWS and EXPANDS in Africa, it is going to be attacked sadly all the more.


21 posted on 12/26/2011 2:58:30 AM PST by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: Salvation

Dec 26, Invitatory for Stephen, M

Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Psalm 95
Ant. Come, let us worship the newborn Christ who has given the glorious crown to Saint Stephen.

Come, let us sing to the Lord
and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us.
Let us approach him with praise and thanksgiving
and sing joyful songs to the Lord.

Ant.

The Lord is God, the mighty God,
the great king over all the gods.
He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
and the highest mountains as well
He made the sea; it belongs to him,
the dry land, too, for it was formed by his hands.

Ant.

Come, then, let us bow down and worship,
bending the knee before the Lord, our maker,
For he is our God and we are his people,
the flock he shepherds.

Ant.

Today, listen to the voice of the Lord:
Do not grow stubborn, as your fathers did in the wilderness,
when at Meriba and Massah they challenged me and provoked me,
Although they had seen all of my works.

Ant.

Forty years I endured that generation.
I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray
and they do not know my ways.
So I swore in my anger,
“They shall not enter into my rest.”

Ant.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be fore ever, Amen

Ant. Come, let us worship the newborn Christ who has given the glorious crown to Saint Stephen.

22 posted on 12/26/2011 3:11:24 AM PST by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good-Pope Leo XIII)
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To: Salvation

Dec 26, Office of Readings – Feast for Stephen, M

Ribbon Placement:
Liturgy of the Hours Vol. I:
Ordinary: 649
Common of One Martyr: 1402 (psalms)
Proper of Saints: 1253 (antiphons, readings), 1253 (concluding prayer)

Office of Readings for the Feast of Saint Stephen, First Martyr

God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia

HYMN

Faith of our fathers, living still,
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword;
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whenever we hear that glorious Word!

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Faith of our fathers, we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife;
And preach Thee, too, as love knows how
By kindly words and virtuous life.

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

“Faith of Our Fathers” performed by Metropolitan Boys Choir; Text: Frederick W. Faber, “Jesus and Mary” (London: 1849); refrain by James G. Walton, 1874.

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father.

Psalm 2
The Messiah, king and conqueror

The rulers of the earth joined forces to overthrow Jesus, your anointed Son (Acts 4:27).

Why this tumult among nations,
among peoples this useless murmuring?
They arise, the kings of the earth,
princes plot against the Lord and his Anointed.
“Come let us break their fetters,
come, let us cast off their yoke.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord is laughing them to scorn.
Then he will speak in his anger,
his rage will strike them with terror.
“It is I who have set up my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”

I will announce the decree of the Lord:

The Lord said to me: “You are my Son.
It is I who have begotten you this day.
Ask and I shall bequeath you the nations,
put the ends of the earth in your possession.
With a rod of iron you will break them,
shatter them like a potter’s jar.”

Now, O kings, understand,
take warning, rulers of the earth;
serve the Lord with awe and trembling,
pay him your homage lest he be angry and you perish;
for suddenly his anger will blaze.

Blessed are they who put their trust in God.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father.

Ant. 2 Stephen fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice: Lord Jesus, do not hold this sin against them.

Psalm 11
God is the unfailing support of the just

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice; they shall be satisfied (Matthew 5:6).

In the Lord I have taken my refuge.
How can you say to my soul:
“Fly like a bird to its mountain.

See the wicked bracing their bow;
they are fixing their arrows on the string
to shoot upright men in the dark.
Foundations once destroyed, what can the just do?”

The Lord is in his holy temple,
the Lord, whose throne is in heaven.
His eyes look down on the world;
his gaze tests mortal men.

The Lord tests the just and the wicked:
the lover of violence he hates.
He sends fire and brimstone on the wicked;
he sends a scorching wind as their lot.

The Lord is just and loves justice:
the upright shall see his face.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. Stephen fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice: Lord Jesus, do not hold this sin against them.

Ant. 3 No one was able to resist the wisdom of blessed Stephen, for the Holy Spirit spoke through him.

Psalm 17
Save me, Lord, from those who hate you

During his life on earth… Jesus prayed to his Father and was heard (Hebrews 5:7).

Lord, hear a cause that is just,
pay heed to my cry.
Turn your ear to my prayer: no deceit is on my lips.

From you may my judgment come forth.
Your eyes discern the truth.

You search my heart, you visit me by night.
You test me and you find in me no wrong.
My words are not sinful as are men’s words.

I kept from violence because of your word,
I kept my feet in your paths;
there was no faltering in my steps.

I am here and I call, you will hear me, O God.
Turn your ear to me; hear my words.
Display your great love, you whose right hand saves
your friends from those who rebel against them.

Guard me as the apple of your eye.
Hide me in the shadow of your wings
from the violent attack of the wicked.

My foes encircle me with deadly intent.
Their hearts tight shut, their mouths speak proudly.
They advance against me, and now they surround me.

Their eyes are watching to strike me to the ground
as though they were lions ready to claw
or like some young lion crouched in hiding.

Lord, arise, confront them, strike them down!
Let your sword rescue my soul from the wicked;
let your hand, O Lord, rescue me from men,
from men whose reward is in this present life.

You give them their fill of your treasures;
they rejoice in abundance of offspring
and leave their wealth to their children.

As for me, in my justice I shall see your face
and be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. No one was able to resist the wisdom of blessed Stephen, for the Holy Spirit spoke through him.

Sacred Silence (indicated by a bell)
A moment to reflect and receive in our hearts the full resonance of the voice of the Holy Spirit and to unite our personal prayer more closely with the word of God and public voice of the Church.

Affliction and distress surround me.
Yet your law is my delight.

READINGS

First reading
From the Acts of the Apostles
6:8 – 7, 2a, 44-59
The martyrdom of Stephen

Stephen was a man filled with grace and power, who worked great wonders and signs among the people. Certain members of the so- called “Synagogue of Roman Freedmen” (that is, the Jews from Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia and Asia) would undertake to engage Stephen in debate, but they proved no match for the wisdom and spirit with which he spoke.

They persuaded some men to make the charge that they had heard him speaking blasphemies against Moses and God, and in this way they incited the people, the elders, and the scribes. All together they confronted him, seized him, and led him off to the Sanhedrin. There they brought in false witnesses, who said: “This man never stops making statements against the holy place and the law. We have heard him claim that Jesus the Nazorean will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses handed down to us.”The members of the Sanhedrin who sat there stared at him intently. Throughout, Stephen’s face seemed like that of an angel.

The high priest asked whether the charges were true. To this Stephen replied: “My brothers! Fathers! Listen to me. Our fathers in the desert had the meeting tent as God prescribed it when he spoke to Moses, ordering him to make it according to the pattern he had seen. The next generation of our fathers inherited it. Under Joshua, they brought it into the land during the conquest of those peoples whom God drove out to make room for our fathers. So it was until the time of David, who found favor with God and begged that he might find a dwelling place for the house of Jacob. It was Solomon, however, who constructed the building for that house. Yet the Most High does not dwell in buildings made by human hands, for as the prophet says:

The heavens are my throne, the earth is my footstool;
What kind of house can you build me? asks the Lord.
What is my resting-place to be like? Did not my hand make all these things?’

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are always opposing the Holy Spirit just as your fathers did before you. Was there ever any prophet whom your fathers did not persecute? In their day, they put to death those who foretold the coming of the Just One; now you in your turn have become his betrayers and murderers. You who received the law through the ministry of angels have not observed it.”

Those who listened to his words were stung to the heart; they ground their teeth in anger at him. Stephen meanwhile, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked to the sky above and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. “Look!” he exclaimed, “I see an opening in the sky, and the Son of Man standing at God’s right hand.” The onlookers were shouting aloud, holding their hands over their ears as they did so. Then they rushed at him as one man, dragged him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses meanwhile were piling their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul.

As Stephen was being stoned he could be heard praying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And with that he died. Saul, for his part, concurred in the act of killing.

RESPONSORY

While the Jews were stoning Stephen, God’s servant, the heavens opened before him; he saw, he entered in.
Happy the man to whom the heavens opened.

As the stones crashed upon him, from the depths of heaven the
living splendor shone on him.
Happy the man to whom the heavens opened.

Second reading
From a sermon by Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe, bishop
The armament of love

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.

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 marvelous way he changed into wealth the poverty of his faithful followers 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 neighbor 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 defense, 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.

RESPONSORY

Yesterday the Lord was born on earth that Stephen might be born in heaven;
the Lord entered into our world that Stephen might enter into heaven.

Yesterday our King, clothed in our flesh, came forth from the virgin’s womb to dwell among us.
The Lord entered into our world that Stephen might enter into heaven.

TE DEUM

You are God: we praise you;
You are the Lord: we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father:
All creation worships you.

To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.

Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you:
Father, of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy of all worship,
and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the King of glory,
the eternal Son of the Father.

When you became man to set us free
you did not spurn the Virgin’s womb.

You overcame the sting of death,
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

You are seated at God’s right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come, and be our judge.

Come then, Lord, and help your people,
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints
to glory everlasting.

Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance.
Govern and uphold them now and always.

Day by day we bless you.
We praise your name for ever.

Keep us today, Lord, from all sin.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.

Lord, show us your love and mercy,
for we have put our trust in you.

In you, Lord, is our hope:
And we shall never hope in vain.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

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 a man
who knew how to pray even 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.

ACCLAMATION (only added when praying in community)

Let us praise the Lord.
And give him thanks.

23 posted on 12/26/2011 3:11:31 AM PST by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good-Pope Leo XIII)
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To: Salvation

Dec 26, Morning Prayer – Feast for Stephen, M

Ribbon Placement:
Liturgy of the Hours Vol. I:
Ordinary: 653
Proper of Saints: 1258
Psalms and canticle from Sunday, Week I, 688

Christian Prayer:
Ordinary: 689
Proper of Saints: 1345
Psalms and canticle from Sunday, Week I, 707

Morning Prayer for the Feast of Saint Stephen, First Martyr

God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia.

HYMN

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God performed by University Of Texas Chamber Singers; Text: Martin Luther Trans. by Frederick H. Hedge; Music: Martin Luther Harmony from The New Hymnal for American Youth; Tune: EIN’ FESTE BURG, Meter: 87.87.66.667

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 My soul has held fast to you, my God; for your sake I suffered death by stoning.

Psalm 63:2-9
A soul thirsting for God

Whoever has left the darkness of sin yearns for God.

O God, you are my God, for you I long;
for you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you
like a dry, weary land without water.
So I gaze on you in the sanctuary
to see your strength and your glory.

For your love is better than life,
my lips will speak your praise.
So I will bless you all my life,
in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul shall be filled as with a banquet,
my mouth shall praise you with joy.

On my bed I remember you.
On you I muse through the night
for you have been my help;
in the shadow of your wings I rejoice.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand holds me fast.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. My soul has held fast to you, my God; for your sake I suffered death by stoning.

Ant. 2 Stephen saw the heavens open; he saw and entered in. Happy the man to whom the heavens opened.

Canticle – Daniel 3:57-88, 56
Let all creatures praise the Lord

All you servants of the Lord, sing praise to him (Revelation 19:5).

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord.
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord.
You heavens, bless the Lord.
All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord.
All you hosts of the Lord, bless the Lord.
Sun and moon, bless the Lord.
Stars of heaven, bless the Lord.

Every shower and dew, bless the Lord.
All you winds, bless the Lord.
Fire and heat, bless the Lord.
Cold and chill, bless the Lord.
Dew and rain, bless the Lord.
Frost and chill, bless the Lord.
Ice and snow, bless the Lord.
Nights and days, bless the Lord.
Light and darkness, bless the Lord.
Lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord.

Let the earth bless the Lord.
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Mountains and hills, bless the Lord.
Everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord.
You springs, bless the Lord.
Seas and rivers, bless the Lord.
You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord.
All you birds of the air, bless the Lord.
All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord.
You sons of men, bless the Lord.

O Israel, bless the Lord.
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Priests of the Lord, bless the Lord.
Servants of the Lord, bless the Lord.
Spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord.
Holy men of humble heart, bless the Lord.
Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael, bless the Lord.
Praise and exalt him above all forever.

Let us bless the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Let us praise and exalt him above all forever.
Blessed are you, Lord, in the firmament of heaven.
Praiseworthy and glorious and exalted above all forever.

Ant. Stephen saw the heavens open; he saw and entered in. Happy the man to whom the heavens opened.

Ant. 3 Behold I see the heavens open, and Jesus standing at the right hand of the almighty God.

Psalm 149
The joy of God’s holy people.

Let the sons of the Church, the children of the new people, rejoice in Christ, their King (Hesychius).

Sing a new song to the Lord,
his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel rejoice in its maker,
let Zion’s sons exult in their king.
Let them praise his name with dancing
and make music with timbrel and harp.

For the Lord takes delight in his people.
He crowns the poor with salvation.
Let the faithful rejoice in their glory,
shout for joy and take their rest.
Let the praise of God be on their lips
and a two-edged sword in their hand,

to deal out vengeance to the nations
and punishment on all the peoples;
to bind their kings in chains
and their nobles in fetters of iron;
to carry out the sentence pre-ordained;
this honor is for all his faithful.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. Behold I see the heavens open, and Jesus standing at the right hand of the almighty God.

READING Acts 6:2b-5a

“It is not right for us to neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables. Look around your own number, brothers, for seven men acknowledged to be deeply spiritual and prudent, and we shall appoint them to this task. This will permit us to concentrate on prayer and the ministry of the word.” The proposal was unanimously accepted by the community.

Sacred Silence (indicated by a bell)
A moment to reflect and receive in our hearts the full resonance of the voice of the Holy Spirit and to unite our personal prayer more closely with the word of God and public voice of the Church.

RESPONSORY

The Lord is my strength, and I shall sing his praise.
The Lord is my strength, and I shall sing his praise.

The Lord is my savior,
and I shall sing his praise.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
The Lord is my strength, and I shall sing his praise.

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH

Ant. The gates of heaven opened out to blessed Stephen, and he was crowned first of martyrs.

Luke 1:68 – 79
The Messiah and his forerunner

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.

Through his holy prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers

and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,

holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.

In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now,
and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. The gates of heaven opened out to blessed Stephen, and he was crowned first of martyrs.

INTERCESSIONS

Our Savior’s faithfulness is mirrored in the fidelity of his witnesses who shed their blood for the word of God. Let us praise him in remembrance of them:
You redeemed us by your blood.

Your martyrs freely embraced death in bearing witness to the faith,
give us the true freedom of the Spirit, O Lord.
You redeemed us by your blood.

Your martyrs professed their faith by shedding their blood,
give us a faith, O Lord, that is constant and pure.
You redeemed us by your blood.

Your martyrs followed in your footsteps by carrying the cross,
help us to endure courageously the misfortunes of life.
You redeemed us by your blood.

Your martyrs washed their garments in the blood of the Lamb,
help us to avoid the weaknesses of the flesh and worldly allurements.
You redeemed us by your blood.

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Concluding Prayer

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 a man
who knew how to pray even 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.

DISMISSAL

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

24 posted on 12/26/2011 3:11:37 AM PST by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good-Pope Leo XIII)
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To: Salvation

Dec 26, Midday Prayer – Feast for Stephen, M

Ribbon Placement:
Liturgy of the Hours Vol. 1:
Ordinary: 661
Propers: 1260
Psalter: Monday, Week I, 707

Midday Prayer (Sext) for the Feast of Stephen, First Martyr, using the Current Psalmody

God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia.

HYMN

A child is born in Bethlehem,
Alleluia, alleluia,
And joy is in Jerusalem,
Alleluia, alleluia.

Rejoice, rejoice, sing high, sing low,
Alleluia, alleluia,
Benedicamus Domino,
Alleluia, alleluia.

To Thee, O Lord, be glory paid,
Alleluia, alleluia,
Thou Son of Mary, mother-maid,
Alleluia, alleluia.

To Holy Trinity give praise,
Alleluia, alleluia,
With Deo gracias always,
Alleluia, alleluia.

“A child is born in Bethlehem” by Choir of King’s College Cambridge; Words: XIV Century Benedictine Processional; Translation: G.R. Woodward and others; Music: Samuel Scheidt

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.

Psalm 19B
Praise of God who gave us the law of love

You must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48)

The law of the Lord is perfect,
it revives the soul.
The rule of the Lord is to be trusted,
it gives wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right,
they gladden the heart.
The command of the Lord is clear,
it gives light to the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is holy,
abiding for ever.
The decrees of the Lord are truth
and all of them just.

They are more to be desired than gold,
than the purest of gold
and sweeter are they than honey,
than honey from the comb.

So in them your servant finds instruction;
great reward is in their keeping.
But who can detect all his errors?
From hidden faults acquit me.

From presumption restrain your servant
and let it not rule me.
Then shall I be blameless,
clean from grave sin.

May the spoken words of my mouth,
the thoughts of my heart,
win favor in your sight, O Lord,
my rescuer, my rock!

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Psalm-prayer

May our words in praise of your commandments find favor with you, Lord. May our faith prove we are not slaves, but sons, not so much subjected to your law as sharing your power.

Psalm 7
Prayer of a god-fearing man who is being calumniated

Here stand the judge, at our very door (James 5:9)

I

Lord God, I take refuge in you.
From my pursuer save me and rescue me,
lest he tear me to pieces like a lion
and drag me off with no one to rescue me.
Lord God, if my hands have done wrong,
if I have paid back evil for good,
I who saved my unjust oppressor:
then let my foe pursue me and seize me,
let him trample my life to the ground
and lay my soul in the dust.

Lord, rise up in your anger,
rise against the fury of my foes;
my God, awake! You will give judgment.
Let the company of nations gather round you,
taking your seat above them on high.
The Lord is judge of the peoples.

Give judgment for me, Lord; I am just
and innocent of heart.
Put an end to the evil of the wicked!
Make the just stand firm,
you who test mind and heart,
O just God!

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

II

God is the shield that protects me,
who saves the upright of heart.
God is a just judge
slow to anger;
but he threatens the wicked every day,
men who will not repent.

God will sharpen his sword;
he has braced his bow and taken aim.
For them he has prepared deadly weapons;
he barbs his arrows with fire.
Here is one who is pregnant with malice,
who conceives evil and brings forth lies.

He digs a pitfall, digs it deep;
and in the trap he has made he will fall.
His malice will recoil on himself;
on his own head his violence will fall.

I will thank the Lord for his justice:
I will sing to the Lord, the Most High.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Psalm-prayer

You know our hearts, Lord, but you are slow to anger and merciful in judging. Come, examine your Church, wash her clean of sin and great crowds will surround you with songs of praise.

Ant. Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.

READING James 1:12

Happy the man who holds out to the end through trial! Once he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Sacred Silence (indicated by a bell)
A moment to reflect and receive in our hearts the full resonance of the voice of the Holy Spirit and to unite our personal prayer more closely with the word of God and public voice of the Church.

I have put my hope in God.
I have no fear of man.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

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 a man
who knew how to pray even 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.

ACCLAMATION (only added when praying in community)

Let us praise the Lord.
And give him thanks.

25 posted on 12/26/2011 3:11:41 AM PST by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good-Pope Leo XIII)
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To: Salvation

Dec 26, Evening Prayer – Feast for Stephen, M

Ribbon Placement:
Liturgy of the Hours Vol. I:
Ordinary: 667
Proper of Seasons: 436
Psalms and canticle as in Evening Prayer II of Christmas, 414

Christian Prayer:
Ordinary: 694
Proper of Seasons: 159
Psalms and canticle as in Evening Prayer II of Christmas, 147

Evening Prayer for the Feast of Stephen, First Martyr

God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia.

HYMN

My love, my pride, my treasure oh
My wonder new and pleasure oh
My son, my beauty, ever You
Who am I to bear You here?

The cause of talk and tale am I
The cause of greatest fame am I
The cause of proudest care on high
To have for mine, the King of all.

And though You are the King of all
They sent You to the manger stall
Where at Your feet they all shall fall
And glorify my child, the King.

There shone a star above three kings
To guide them to the King of kings
They held You in their humble arms
And knelt before You until dawn.

They gave You myrrh and gave You gold
Frankincense and gifts untold
They traveled far these gifts to bring
And glorify their new born King.

My love, my pride, my treasure oh
My wonder new and pleasure oh
My son, my beauty, ever You
Who am I to bear You here?

“The Christ Child Lullaby” by Mignarda; This hymn was written by Father Ranald Rankin in about 1855. It was written in Scottish Gaelic and originally had 29 verses.

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 You have been endowed from your birth with princely gifts; in eternal splendor, before the dawn of light on earth, I have begotten you.

Psalm 110:1-5, 7
The Messiah, king and priest

Christ’s reign will last until all his enemies are made subject to him (1 Corinthians 15:25).

The Lord’s revelation to my Master:
“Sit on my right:
your foes I will put beneath your feet.”

Ant.

The Lord will wield from Zion
your scepter of power:
rule in the midst of all your foes.

Ant.

A prince from the day of your birth
on the holy mountains;
from the womb before the dawn I begot you.

Ant.

The Lord has sworn an oath he will not change.
“You are a priest for ever,
a priest like Melchizedek of old.”

Ant.

The Master standing at your right hand
will shatter kings in the day of his great wrath.

Ant.

He shall drink from the stream by the wayside
and therefore he shall lift up his head.

Ant.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. You have been endowed from your birth with princely gifts; in eternal splendor, before the dawn of light on earth, I have begotten you.

Ant. 2 With the Lord is unfailing love; great is his power to save.

Psalm 130
A cry from the depths

He himself will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord,
Lord, hear my voice!
O let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleading.

Ant.

If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt,
Lord, who would survive?
But with you is found forgiveness:
for this we revere you.

Ant.

My soul is waiting for the Lord,
I count on his word.
My soul is longing for the Lord more
than watchman for daybreak.
Let the watchman count on daybreak
and Israel on the Lord.

Ant.

Because with the Lord there is mercy
and fullness of redemption,
Israel indeed he will redeem from all its iniquity.

Ant.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. With the Lord is unfailing love; great is his power to save.

Ant. 3 In the beginning, before time began, the Word was God; today he is born, the Savior of the world.

Canticle – Colossians 1:12-20
Christ the first-born of all creation and the first-born from the dead

Let us give thanks to the Father
for having made you worthy
to share the lot of the saints
in light.

Ant.

He rescued us
from the power of darkness and brought us
into the kingdom of his beloved Son.
Through him we have redemption,
the forgiveness of our sins.

Ant.

He is the image of the invisible God,
the first-born of all creatures.
In him everything in heaven and on earth was created,
things visible and invisible.

Ant.

All were created through him;
all were created for him.
He is before all else that is.
In him everything continues in being.

Ant.

It is he who is head of the body, the church!
he who is the beginning,
the first-born of the dead,
so that primacy may be his in everything.

Ant.

It pleased God to make absolute fulness reside in him
and, by means of him, to reconcile everything in his person,
both on earth and in the heavens,
making peace through the blood of his cross.

Ant.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. In the beginning, before time began, the Word was God; today he is born, the Savior of the world.

READING 1 John 1:5b, 7

God is light,
in him there is no darkness.
If we walk in the light,
as he is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin.

Sacred Silence (indicated by a bell)
A moment to reflect and receive in our hearts the full resonance of the voice of the Holy Spirit and to unite our personal prayer more closely with the word of God and public voice of the Church.

RESPONSORY

The Word was made man, alleluia, alleluia.
The Word was made man, alleluia, alleluia.

He lived among us.
Alleluia, alleluia.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
The Word was made man, alleluia, alleluia.

CANTICLE OF MARY

Ant. While earth was rapt in silence and night only half through its course, your almighty Word, O Lord, came down from his royal throne, alleluia.

Luke 1:46-55
The soul rejoices in the Lord

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. While earth was rapt in silence and night only half through its course, your almighty Word, O Lord, came down from his royal throne, alleluia.

INTERCESSIONS

The Word of God, by coming to dwell with us, has opened the path to eternal salvation. Let us pray to him with sincere humility:
Lord, deliver us from evil.

Through the mystery of your incarnation, through your birth and infancy,
through your whole life, dedicated to the Father:
Lord, deliver us from evil.

Through your labor, your preaching and your journeys,
through your continual encounters with sinners:
Lord, deliver us from evil.

Through your agony and passion, your cross and desolation,
through your sufferings, your death and burial:
Lord, deliver us from evil.

Through your resurrection and ascension, through your gift of the Holy Spirit, through your joys and everlasting glory,
free our departed brothers and sisters, O Lord.
Lord, deliver us from evil.

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Concluding Prayer

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 a man
who knew how to pray even 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.

DISMISSAL

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

26 posted on 12/26/2011 3:11:47 AM PST by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good-Pope Leo XIII)
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To: Salvation

Dec 26, Night Prayer for Monday of the 1st week of Christmas

Ribbon Placement:
Liturgy of the Hours:
Vol I, page 1175
Vol II, Page 1632
Vol III, Page 1275
Vol IV, Page 1239

Christian Prayer:
Page 1041

General instruction:
Please pray with us actively, especially by joining with us in saying antiphons and responses, most of which are indicated in this highlight.

Consider an examination of your own conscience before beginning to best make use of our time together in prayer.

Night Prayer for Monday

God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia.

Examination of conscience:
We are called to have a clear conscience toward God and toward men, in our hearts and in our minds, in our actions and inactions. To do so, it is vital that we examine our conscience daily and to ask for God’s mercy as we fall short and to ask for His strength to do better.

Lord Jesus,
you came to reconcile us to one another and to the Father:
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Lord Jesus,
you heal the wounds of sin and division:
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus,
you intercede for us with your Father:
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

HYMN

The day Thou gavest, Lord, is ended,
The darkness falls at Thy behest;
To Thee our morning hymns ascended,
Thy praise shall sanctify our rest.

We thank Thee that Thy church, unsleeping,
While earth rolls onward into light,
Through all the world her watch is keeping,
And rests not now by day or night.

As o’er each continent and island
The dawn leads on another day,
The voice of prayer is never silent,
Nor dies the strain of praise away.

The sun that bids us rest is waking
Our brethren ’neath the western sky,
And hour by hour fresh lips are making
Thy wondrous doings heard on high.

So be it, Lord; Thy throne shall never,
Like earth’s proud empires, pass away:
Thy kingdom stands, and grows forever,
Till all Thy creatures own Thy sway.

“The Day Thou Gavest” by The Choir of St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral; Words: John Ellerton, 1870; Music: Clement Scholefield, 1874
“The Day Thou Gavest” by The Choir of St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral is available from Amazon.com

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 O Lord, our God, unwearied is your love for us.

Psalm 86
Poor man’s prayer in trouble

Blessed be God who comforts us in all our trials (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4).

Turn your ear, O Lord, and give answer
for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am faithful;
save the servant who trusts in you.

You are my God, have mercy on me, Lord,
for I cry to you all day long.
Give joy to your servant, O Lord,
for to you I lift up my soul.

O Lord, you are good and forgiving,
full of love to all who call.
Give heed, O Lord, to my prayer
and attend to the sound of my voice.

In the day of distress I will call
and surely you will reply.
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord;
nor work to compare with yours.

All the nations shall come to adore you
and glorify your name, O Lord:
for you are great and do marvelous deeds,
you who alone are God.

Show me, Lord, your way
so that I may walk in your truth.
Guide my heart to fear your name.

I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart
and glorify your name for ever;
for your love to me has been great:
you have saved me from the depths of the grave.

The proud have risen against me;
ruthless men seek my life;
to you they pay no heed.

But you, God of mercy and compassion,
slow to anger, O Lord,
abounding in love and truth,
turn and take pity on me.

O give your strength to your servant
and save your handmaid’s son.
Show me the sign of your favor
that my foes may see to their shame
that you console me and give me your help.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. O Lord, our God, unwearied is your love for us.

READING 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10

God has destined us for acquiring salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us, that all of us, whether awake or asleep, together might live with him.

RESPONSORY

Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.

You have redeemed us, Lord God of truth.
I commend my spirit.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.

CANTICLE OF SIMEON

Ant. Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace.

Luke 2:29-32
Christ is the light of the nations and the glory of Israel

Lord, now you let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled:

my own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people:

a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace.

Concluding Prayer

Lord,
give our bodies restful sleep
and let the work we have done today
bear fruit in eternal life.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

BLESSING

May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful death.
Amen.

Antiphon or song in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy!
Our life, our sweetness, and our hope!
To you do we cry, poor banished
children of Eve, to you do we send
up our sighs, mourning and weeping
in this valley, of tears.
Turn, then, most gracious advocate,
your eyes of mercy toward us; and
after this our exile show unto us the
blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus;
O clement, O loving, O sweet virgin Mary.

27 posted on 12/26/2011 3:11:52 AM PST by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good-Pope Leo XIII)
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To: All
Saint Stephen, First Martyr

Saint Stephen, First Martyr
Feast Day
December 26th




Annibale Carracci
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


Collect:
Grant, Lord, we pray,
that we may imitate what we worship,
and so learn to love our enemies,
for we celebrate the heavenly birthday
of a man who knew how to pray even 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.

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:

Benedict XVI, General Audience, Wednesday, 10 January 2007, Stephen, the Protomartyr


28 posted on 12/26/2011 8:54:32 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Embracing the Catechism: The Witness of Martyrdom
Church to celebrate feast of first martyr
HOLY INNOCENCE

From Stockings to Stoning: The Story of Saint Stephen [Catholic Caucus]
Angelus: St. Stephen
Pope Benedict remembers persecuted Christians on the Feast of St. Stephen Martyr
He Teaches Us to Love the Cross [St. Stepehen]
A patron Saint for Deacons [St. Stepehen]
Good Prince Vaclav [for St. Stephen's Day, 12/26]
A few considerations on St. Stephen's martyrdom
St. Stephen, the Martyr
Dec. 26 - Saint Stephen, First Martyr
A thoughtful sermon for St. Stephen's Day

29 posted on 12/26/2011 8:55:31 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All


Information:
St. Stephen
Feast Day: December 26
Born: 1st century
Died: 35, Jerusalem
Patron of: casket makers; deacons; headaches; horses; masons


30 posted on 12/26/2011 9:09:59 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Interactive Saints foro Kids

St. Stephen

St. Stephen
Feast Day: December 26
Born :(around the time of Jesus) :: Died: (around 33)

Stephen's name means crown. He was the first disciple who died for his faith in Jesus. As chapters 6 and 7 of the Acts of the Apostles tells us, Stephen was chosen as a deacon in the early Church.

Peter and the apostles had found that they needed helpers to look after the care of widows and the poor. So they ordained seven deacons and Stephen is the most famous of these.

God worked many miracles through St. Stephen. He spoke with such wisdom and grace that many people who heard him, became followers of Jesus. The enemies of the Church of Jesus were furious to see how successful St. Stephen's preaching was.

They could not answer his wise arguments, so they laid a plot and got men to lie about him. These men said that he had spoken sinfully against God. St. Stephen faced that great gathering of enemies without any fear. In fact, the Holy Bible says that his face looked like the face of an angel.

Stephen spoke about Jesus, showing that he is the Savior God had promised to send. He scolded his enemies for not having believed in Jesus. At that, they rose up in great anger and shouted at him.

But Stephen looked up to heaven. He said that he saw the heavens opening and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. His enemies closed their ears and refused to listen to another word.

Then they dragged St. Stephen outside the city of Jerusalem and stoned him to death. The saint prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!" and he fell to his knees but begged God not to punish his enemies for killing him.


31 posted on 12/26/2011 9:15:56 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Matthew
  English: Douay-Rheims Latin: Vulgata Clementina Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)
  Matthew 10
17 But beware of men. For they will deliver you up in councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues. Cavete autem ab hominibus. Tradent enim vos in conciliis, et in synagogis suis flagellabunt vos : προσεχετε δε απο των ανθρωπων παραδωσουσιν γαρ υμας εις συνεδρια και εν ταις συναγωγαις αυτων μαστιγωσουσιν υμας
18 And you shall be brought before governors, and before kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles: et ad præsides, et ad reges ducemini propter me in testimonium illis, et gentibus. και επι ηγεμονας δε και βασιλεις αχθησεσθε ενεκεν εμου εις μαρτυριον αυτοις και τοις εθνεσιν
19 But when they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what to speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what to speak. Cum autem tradent vos, nolite cogitare quomodo, aut quid loquamini : dabitur enim vobis in illa hora, quid loquamini : οταν δε παραδιδωσιν υμας μη μεριμνησητε πως η τι λαλησητε δοθησεται γαρ υμιν εν εκεινη τη ωρα τι λαλησετε
20 For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you. non enim vos estis qui loquimini, sed Spiritus Patris vestri, qui loquitur in vobis. ου γαρ υμεις εστε οι λαλουντες αλλα το πνευμα του πατρος υμων το λαλουν εν υμιν
21 The brother also shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the son: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and shall put them to death. Tradet autem frater fratrem in mortem, et pater filium : et insurgent filii in parentes, et morte eos afficient : παραδωσει δε αδελφος αδελφον εις θανατον και πατηρ τεκνον και επαναστησονται τεκνα επι γονεις και θανατωσουσιν αυτους
22 And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved. et eritis odio omnibus propter nomen meum : qui autem perseveraverit usque in finem, hic salvus erit. και εσεσθε μισουμενοι υπο παντων δια το ονομα μου ο δε υπομεινας εις τελος ουτος σωθησεται

32 posted on 12/26/2011 9:38:55 AM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex
17. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
18. And you shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

RABAN. That by the wolves above He intended men, He show when He adds, Take heed of men.

GLOSS. You have indeed need to be wise as serpents, for, as they are wont to do, they will deliver you to councils, forbidding you to preach in name; then if you be not corrected, they will scourge you, and at length you shall be brought before kings and governors.

HILARY; Who will endeavor to extort from you either to be silent or to temporize.

CHRYS. How wonderful that men who had never been beyond the lake in which they fished, did not straightway depart from Him on hearing these things. It was not only of their goodness, but of the wisdom of their Teacher. For to each evil He attaches somewhat of alleviation; as here He adds, for my sake; for it is no light consolation to suffer for Christ's sake, for they did not suffer as evil or wrong doers. Again He adds, for a testimony against them.

GREG. Either that they had persecuted to the death, or that they had seen and were not changed. For the death of the saints is to the good an aid, to the bad a testimony; that thus the wicked may perish without excuse in that from which the elect take example and live.

CHRYS. This was matter of consolation to them, not that they sought the punishment of others, but that they were confident that in all things they had One present with them, and all-knowing.

HILARY; And by this their testimony not only was all excuse of ignorance of His divinity taken away from their persecutors, but also to the Gentiles was opened the way of believing on Christ, who was thus devotedly preached by the voices of the confessors among the flames of persecution; and this is that He adds, and the Gentiles.

19. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what you shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what you shall speak.
20. For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaks in you.

CHRYS. To the foregoing topics of consolation, He adds another not a little one; that they should not say, How shall we be able to persuade such men as these, when they shall persecute us? He bids them be of good courage respecting their answer, Saying, When they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what you shall speak.

REMIG. How or what, one refers to the substance, the other to the expression in words. And because both of these would be supplied by Him, there was no need for the holy preachers to be anxious about either.

JEROME; When then we are brought before judges for Christ's sake, we ought to offer only our will for Christ. But Christ who dwells in us speaks for Himself, and the grace of the holy Spirit will minister in our answer.

HILARY; For our faith, observing all time precepts of the Divine will, will be instructed with an answer according to knowledge, after the example of Abraham, to whom when he had given up Isaac, there was not wanting a ram for a victim. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your father that speaks in you.

REMIG. Meaning, You indeed go out to the battle, but it is I who fight; you utter the words, but it is I who speak. Hence Paul speaks, Seek you a proof of Christ who speaks in me?

CHRYS. Thus He raises them to the dignity of the Prophets, who have spoken by the Spirit of God. He who says here, Take no thought what you shall speak, has said in another place, Be you always ready to give an answer to him that demands a reason of the hope that is in you. When it is a dispute among friends, we are commanded to be ready; but before the awful judgment, and the raging people, aid is ministered by Christ, that they may speak boldly and not be dismayed.

21. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child; and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
22. And you shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endures to the end shall be saved.

GLOSS. Having placed the comfort first, He adds the more alarming perils; Brother shall deliver up brother to death, and the father the son; children shall rise against parents, to put them to death.

GREG. Wrongs which we suffer from strangers, pain us less than those we suffer from men on whose affections we had counted; for beside the bodily affliction, there is then the pain of lost affection.

JEROME; This we see often happen in persecutions, nor is there any true affection between those whose faith is different.

CHRYS. What follows is yet more dreadful, You shall be hated of all men; they sought to exterminate them as common enemies of all the world. To this again is added the consolation, For my name's sake; and yet further to cheer them, Whosoever shall endure to the end, he shall be saved. For many are hot and zealous in the beginning, but afterwards grow cool, for these, He says, I look at the end. For where is the profit of seeds that only sprout at first? wherefore He requires a sufficient endurance from them.

JEROME; For virtue is not to begin but to complete.

REMIG. And the reward is not for those that begin, but for those that bring to an end.

CHRYS. But that no man should say, that Christ wrought all things in His Apostles, and therefore it is nothing wonderful that they were made such as they were, since they did not bear the burden of these things, therefore He says, that perseverance was their work. For though they were rescued from their first perils, they are preserved for still harder trials, which again shall be followed by others, and they shall be in danger of snares as long as they live. This He covertly intimates when he says, Whosoever shall endure to the end, he shall be saved.

REMIG. That is, He who shall not let go the commands of the faith, nor fall away in persecution, shall be saved; he shall receive the reward of the heavenly kingdom for his earthly persecutions. And note that 'the end' does not always mean destruction, but sometimes perfection, as in that, Christ is the end of the Law. So the sense here may be, Whosoever shall endure to the end, that is, in Christ.

AUG. To endure in Christ, is to abide in His faith which works by love.

Catena Aurea Matthew 10
33 posted on 12/26/2011 9:39:29 AM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex


St Stephen Being Led to his Martyrdom

Fra Angelico

1447-49
Fresco
Cappella Niccolina, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican

34 posted on 12/26/2011 9:40:34 AM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: All
Catholic
Almanac:

Monday, December 26

Liturgical Color: Red


Today is the Feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. He was stoned to death by an angry mob for preaching the Gospel. An observer of his death was a man named Saul, who after his conversion has become known to us as St. Paul.


35 posted on 12/26/2011 2:30:25 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Catholic Culture

Daily Readings for: December 26, 2011
(Readings on USCCB website)

Collect: 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 a man who know how to pray even 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.

Christmas: December 26th

  Feast of St. Stephen, first martyr Old Calendar: St. Stephen

Today is the second day in the octave of Christmas. The Church celebrates the Feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Stoned outside Jerusalem, he died praying for his executioners. He was one of the seven deacons who helped the apostles; he was "filled with faith and with the Holy Spirit," and was "full of fortitude." The Church draws a comparison between the disciple and his Master, emphasizing the imitation of Christ even unto the complete gift of self. His name is included in the Roman Canon.

The Second Day of Christmas

St. Stephen
The deacon Stephen, stoned in Jerusalem two years after the death of Christ, has always been the object of very special veneration by the faithful. He is the first martyr. The account in the Acts of the Apostles relating his arrest and the accusations brought against him emphasize the parallel with our Saviour's trial; he was stoned outside the city wall and died, like his Master, praying for his executioners.

Stephen belongs to the group of seven deacons whom the Apostles associated with their work in order to lighten their load. He was "filled with faith and with the Holy Spirit," "full of grace and strength" he showed himself as a man of God, radiating divine grace and apostolic zeal. As the first witness to Christ he confronted his opponents with quiet courage and the promise made by Jesus (Mark 13.11) was fulfilled: ". . .Disputing with Stephen they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit that spoke."

In St. Stephen, the first martyr, the liturgy emphasizes the imitator of Christ even to the extent of the complete gift of self, to the extent of that great charity which made him pray in his suffering for his executioners. By establishing the feast on the day after Christmas the Church draws an even closer comparison between the disciple and the Master and thus extends his witness to the whole mission of the redeeming Messiah.

Professing the Christian Faith Demands the Heroism of the Martyrs
On the day after the solemnity of Christmas, we celebrate today the feast of St. Stephen, deacon and first martyr. At first glance, to join the memory of the "protomartyr" and the birth of the Redeemer might seem surprising because of the contrast between the peace and joy of Bethlehem and the tragedy of St. Stephen, stoned in Jerusalem during the first persecution against the nascent Church.

In reality, this apparent opposition is surmounted if we analyze in greater depth the mystery of Christmas. The Child Jesus, lying in the cave, is the only-begotten Son of God who became man. He will save humanity by dying on the cross.

Now we see Him in swaddling clothes in the manger; after His crucifixion, He will again be wrapped in bandages and placed in the sepulcher. It is no accident that the Christmas iconography sometimes represents the divine newborn Child lying in a small sarcophagus, to indicate that the Redeemer was born to die, He was born to give His life in ransom for all.

St. Stephen was the first to follow in the steps of Christ with martyrdom: like the divine Master, he died forgiving and praying for his executioners (cf. Acts 7:60). During the first four centuries of Christianity all the saints venerated by the Church were martyrs.

They are a countless multitude, which the liturgy calls "the white army of martyrs," (martyrum candidatus exercitus). Their death was not a reason for fear and sadness, but of spiritual enthusiasm, which always gave rise to new Christians. 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."

Also Mary, who took the Redeemer in her arms in Bethlehem, suffered an interior martyrdom. She shared His Passion and had to take Him, once again, in her arms when they took Him down from the cross. To this Mother, who felt the joy of the birth and the anguish of the death of her divine Son, we entrust those who are persecuted and those who are suffering, in different ways, for witnessing and serving the Gospel.

With special spiritual closeness, I am also thinking of the Catholics who maintain their fidelity to the See of Peter without giving in to compromises, at times even at the cost of grave sufferings. The whole Church admires their example and prays that they will have the strength to persevere, knowing that their tribulations are a source of victory, though for the moment they might seem to be a failure.

Angelus Message, Pope Benedict XVI, December 26, 2006

Patron: Casket makers; coffin makers; deacons; headaches; horses; masons; diocese of Owensboro, Kentucky; stone masons.

Symbols: Deacon carrying a pile of rocks; deacon with rocks gathered in his vestments; deacon with rocks on his head; deacon with rocks or a book at hand; stones; palm of martyrdom.

Things to Do:

  • Read Pope John Paul II's 2003 Angelus Message for the Feast of St. Stephen.

36 posted on 12/26/2011 2:42:16 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
The Word Among Us

Meditation: Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59

St. Stephen

Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit… . (Acts 7:55)

Going from yesterday’s celebra­tion of Christmas to today’s feast of St. Stephen is like skipping ahead to the final pages of a thrilling story. You just can’t read another sentence until you know: Does everything turn out well?

In this case, the answer is both yes and no.

No, because a tragic history is re­peating itself. Not so long before, Jesus stood before the same court Stephen now faces, similarly charged with blasphemy. And by having Je­sus—and now Stephen—killed, their accusers imitate a long line of re­ligious leaders who murdered the prophets.

But here’s the Yes—and it’s big: Everything about Stephen witnesses to the fact that Jesus accomplished the mission for which he was born. God sent his Son to save us from our sins, reconcile us to himself, and bring us into his own life by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Even though his earthly life ended so abruptly—and violently— Stephen is an early success story in this grand plan of salvation. He was “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5; 7:55). And because of that, he was remarkably like his Master. Like Jesus, he worked “great wonders and signs” (6:8). He had deep in­sight into God’s plan, as revealed in Israel’s history and Scriptures, and he presented that prophetic mes­sage with power and conviction. To say nothing of courage! Ste­phen looked a grisly death in the eye with calm serenity, his heart fixed on heavenly realities. And his last words—of surrender and for­giveness—could hardly be more Christlike (7:59-60).

Stephen the Superhero? Not at all! Stephen was one of us, an ordinary mortal—but one transformed by the Spirit of Jesus living in him.

That same Holy Spirit lives in our hearts. And best of all, he is there to help us to be “conformed to the image” of Jesus (Romans 8:29). So stir up the Spirit within you through prayer. Ask him to empower you, as he did Stephen, to live a life worthy of the call that your heavenly Father has given you.

“‘God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts’ (Galatians 4:6). I believe your word, Lord. Show me what it means for me.”

Psalm 31:3-4,6,8,16-17; Matthew 10:17-22


37 posted on 12/26/2011 3:22:29 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
A Christian Pilgrim

A MAN FULL OF FAITH AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

(A biblical reflection on the Feast of Saint Stephen, the First Martyr, 26 December 2011) 

First Reading: Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59 

Psalms: Ps 31:3-4,6-8,17,21; Gospel Reading: Mt 10:17-22 

The Scripture Text

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 is 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.” (Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59 RSV) 

Today, as the Christmas season unfolds, we honor Saint Stephen, the first disciple to die for Jesus. Stephen was one of the seven men chosen to oversee the distribution of food to the Greek-speaking Jews in theJerusalemchurch (Acts 6:1-6). His main job qualification? Stephen was “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5). As a matter of fact, Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit that he fearlessly preached in the streets and performed miracles as Jesus had done.

When Stephen was arrested and brought before the Jewish council (Acts 6:12-53), the Holy Spirit gave him the words to speak, just as Jesus had promised for every persecuted disciple (Lk 12:11-12). Even as he was being stoned to death, Stephen was able to cry with a loud voice the truth and to reflect the mercy of God to his enemies: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60).

These last words of Stephen’s did not just come to him magically. They were the final expression of a life lived in dependence on the Holy Spirit, and they are a reflection of what the same Spirit wants to do for us. He wants to transform us into the likeness of Jesus. As we learn to surrender our mindsets, assumptions, plans, and even our affections to the Lord, we too will be molded and changed by His Spirit. We will find the power we need to reach out in others, even to our enemies, in love.

Jesus came to earth to invite us into this Spirit-filled life. Already, we have this potential right inside our hearts. The living God dwells in us by the power of His Holy Spirit. He is already there, waiting for us to turn to Him and receive His power. What better Christmas gift could we possibly receive?

Every morning, let us give our hearts to the Holy Spirit. And as our day unfolds, let us be sure to listen for the Spirit’s promptings, for His words of love, guidance, and correction. As we do, we will see our lives change. We will become more patient, speak more gently, put aside rash judgments, and even come to love those who insult and misunderstand us – all because we have listened to the Holy Spirit!

Short Prayer: Give us grace, Lord, to practise what we worship. Teach us to love our enemies as we keep the feast of Saint Stephen, who prayed even for the men who stoned him to death. We make our prayer in the most precious name of Jesus Christ. Amen.


38 posted on 12/26/2011 4:09:26 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
 
Marriage = One Man and One Woman
Til' Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for December 26, 2011:

“On the 2nd Day of Christmas my true love gave to me – 2 Turtle Doves.” Turtle doves are migratory birds that form strong pair bonds. Perhaps you are traveling over the holidays, hopefully together. Even if you are separated, confirm your commitment to each other.


39 posted on 12/26/2011 4:17:04 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Insight Scoop

Fr. Groeschel on the martyrdom of St. Stephen and devotion to Christ

From the Introduction to Fr. Benedict Groeschel's impressive study, I Am With You Always: A Study of the History and Meaning of Personal Devotion to Jesus Christ for Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Christians:

When looking for a descriptive definition of Christian devotion, I turned to the account of the first recorded prayer to the ascended Christ—the words of St. Stephen at his martyrdom (Acts 7:55-60). First, the martyr sees the heavens open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. As he is being stoned to death, he prays two distinct prayers: one asks that the Lord Jesus receive his spirit, and the other is a request that the Lord will forgive his enemies. These are clearly prayers to Jesus the Lord. Later we will explore the full significance of this type of invocation, especially in the Pauline writings.

After an analysis ofmany devotional prayers and some personal introspection, I think that a good descriptive definition of devotion to Christ will have the following elements.

1. A powerful psychological awareness of the personal presence of Christ, or a very strong desire for that presence.

2. An immediate appeal to Christ about personally significant things in one's life. This makes devotion a "real relationship" and not simply a meditation. The personally significant thing may be an imperative need ("Lord, receive my spirit") or a strong desire ("Lord, that I may see") or a fear ("Lord, save me lest I perish"). It may be a spiritual need ("Increase my faith"), or the need of someone dear to us ("Lord, have pity on my son"). It may be simply a desire to be silent in Christ's presence ("Come aside and rest awhile"). We must relate to Christ not only with our minds but with our hearts.

3. We must be willing to do what He asks. This is interesting in Stephen's case. Not long before, Christ had given the command: "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Mt 5:44). To people of that time such an injunction did not make sense. It had to be accepted on faith. With Stephen, we see a follower of Christ fulfilling this command for the first time in the most dramatic circumstances. Stephen does what Jesus asks, although he may not really have understood why he had to love his enemies. I am not sure that we understand it well even now.

4. Stephen did not fail, but we often do. Some of the psalms (Psalm 51, for example) are beautiful prayers of repentance, and we see repentance in the New Testament—that of St. Peter, for instance—following the failure to be loyal to Christ. Repentance is always part of Christian devotion.

5. Devotion must include trust in Christ. Christ often rebukes the disciples for their little faith, in the sense of trust in Him. He also praised the faith of those who did trust in Him. Faith in the Gospel is always immediate, personal, and includes the idea of trust. Trusting himself to Christ in the hour of death, Stephen makes a clear statement of his belief in life after death; "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" (Acts 7:59).

Not only does Stephen trust, but he petitions: "Receive my spirit." In most cases devotion includes a prayer for God's merciful providence to grant some favor or grace. The centurion asking for the healing of his boy (servant or son) does so with a confidence that impresses even Jesus (Mt 8:5-11).

6. Finally, mature Christian devotion has a kind of simple eschatological element to it, in which the devout person is thinking not necessarily of the end of the ages, but of his own mortality. The devout are sustained by the hope that at the time of death, they will "see" the face of Christ in a new way, that He awaits them.

To summarize this definition, we can define Christian devotion as a powerful awareness of or longing for Christ's presence, accompanied by a trustful surrender to Him of our personal needs. To this is joined a willingness to do His will and a sense of repentance for any previous failure to do so. We must trust Him not only with our present need but also with the salvation of our souls and those we care about. Finally, in some way we must anticipate our meeting with Him at the hour of death.

Read the entire Introduction. And here are the readings for today's feast of Saint Stephen, Protomartyr.


40 posted on 12/26/2011 4:22:01 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Vultus Christi

Appalled

 on December 26, 2011 12:45 PM |
7058-communion-wafers.jpg

A Grave Abuse: Invalid Matter for the Most Holy Eucharist

A local Church Goods store here in Tulsa, Oklahoma is supplying Catholic parishes with gluten free "Communion Wafers" made by Ener-G Foods Inc. Here are the ingredients:

Filtered Water, Sweet Rice Flour, Potato Flour, Organic Palm Fruit Oil, Potato Starch, Methylcellulose, Sunflower Lecithin.


One can no more confect the Body of Christ using such "wafers" than one can use cider or orange juice for the confection of the Precious Blood. It is appalling that this product has found its way into the sacristies of Catholic churches across the country. Who is responsible? Or, as my Dad would say, "Who is minding the store?"

Canon Law is explicit:

Can. 924 §1. The most holy Eucharistic sacrifice must be offered with bread and with wine in which a little water must be mixed. §2. The bread must be only wheat and recently made so that there is no danger of spoiling. §3. The wine must be natural from the fruit of the vine and not spoiled.

Catholics with celiac disease, receiving such "wafers" are not receiving the Body of Christ. The consecration of such wafers is invalid, and the use of them is a grave abuse, given that it concerns the matter of the Sacrament.

Hosts Made by the Benedictines of Clyde Missouri

There is another solution. Sister Jane Heschmeyer and Sister Lynn Marie D'Souza, Benedictine nuns of Clyde, Missouri have developed a Communion host that has been approved as valid material for the Most Holy Eucharist by the Holy See.

With a level of gluten content of 0.01% it is safe enough for consumption by almost all celiac suffers, according to Dr. Alessio Fasano of the University of Maryland and other medical experts.

The U.S. Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy judges the Benedictine Sisters' bread "the only true, low-gluten altar bread approved for use at Mass in the United States."

For further information see this article by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University.


41 posted on 12/26/2011 4:27:55 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Regnum Christi

The Power of Witness
U. S. A. | SPIRITUAL LIFE | SPIRITUALITY
Feast of Saint Stephen, first martyr (December 26, 2011).

December 26, 2011
Feast of Saint Stephen, first martyr

Matthew 10:17-22
Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I open my heart to you on this new day. Because of your unfailing love for me, you deserve my deep gratitude and complete confidence in you, so I set my entire being at your disposal. Do with me what you wish. I know that you love me and that nothing that can truly harm me will happen as long as I keep striving to live in your love.

Petition: Lord, help me to experience your forgiveness and learn to forgive in return.
 
1. “Do Not Hold This Sin Against Them!”: These words of St. Stephen (Acts 7:60) repeat Christ’s last words on earth. He has entered into Christ’s heart. He is on fire for his Lord. This fire is making him pass through the same crucible of rejection and death that Christ passed through. And he is walking in the fire without being scorched. His heart burns so much for Christ that it cannot fester with hatred and despair. Like his Lord, he wants only the salvation of his persecutors. Am I letting my heart to be ignited with the flame of love that burns in that Child in the manger? Am I showing the zeal of love that is selfless service?

2. The Case of Saul: The Acts of the Apostles records the approval of Stephen’s martyrdom by Saul. Saul was a man who thought he understood everything. He thought he knew how evil Stephen was and what a threat his teaching brought. His intentions seemed correct, but he was dead wrong. Saul will later speak of himself as someone born dead. He was dead –– dead in his soul – because he had missed the point. Yet God is merciful. Saul soon becomes St. Paul. Jesus accepts the prayer of Stephen just as the Father accepts the prayer of Jesus. We do not need to be afraid. God accepts our prayers, too. He will do marvels if we persevere in prayer and service.

3. Hard of Heart: We’re often pushed out of our comfort zone by Christ’s message. We are ready to be forgiven by Christ and by others, but it is not so easy to take the logical next step of quickly and easily forgiving others. To become a forgiving St. Stephen we need to keep in mind that we, too, are Sauls. The Christmas Season is a perfect time for a change of heart. By contemplating today the loving face of God in that child in the manger we can experience his tender, infinite love for us. Anchored in his friendship we can gain the magnanimity of heart to set aside any ill will from past injuries and desire for everyone to find the peace and joy that only comes from knowing the Word Incarnate.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, thank you for the example of St. Stephen, the first martyr of your young Church. On this day after your birth, you also show me the birth of total courage in love. I believe that I am safe in your arms no matter how hard the difficulties. I believe that you entrust me with your mission. Today I renew the commitment to be faithful to my mission as a Christian and an apostle “till death on the battlefield.” Jesus, you are my Lord. I will follow you.

Resolution: Today I will look for the positive side in everyone I meet. I will look beyond their limitations. I will forgive anyone who might offend me.


42 posted on 12/26/2011 7:07:57 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

A Meditation on St. Stephen

December 26th, 2011 by Food For Thought ·

First Reading: Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59
Psalm: Psalm 31:3-4, 6, 8, 17
Gospel: Matthew 10:17-22

Just one day after Christmas, we celebrate the Feast of St. Stephen,
the first Christian martyr. Greek-speaking Jews who were enraged by
his preaching about Jesus Christ stoned Stephen to death outside
Jerusalem. Like Jesus and the prophets before him who threatened
the religious establishment, Stephen was persecuted and martyred.

Stephen was one of seven deacons assigned by Peter and James to take
care of the foreign converts who were joining the Jerusalem Church
in large numbers. The apostles could not preach and at the same
time attend to the care of widows and orphans, especially those who
did not speak Hebrew. Deacons were instituted to assist the
apostles in the ministry of service. Stephen performed this service
well, but was also a good preacher. He was “filled with grace and
power,” as Acts tells us.

Stephen’s martyrdom, celebrated so close to Christmas, reminds us
about something that is easy to miss amidst all the Christmas
festivities—that the birth of Jesus cannot be separated from his
eventual death on the cross. Following Jesus by serving others and
witnessing to him can have a heavy price.

As he was being stoned, Stephen said in invocation, “Lord Jesus,
receive my spirit; Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”
Stephen died like his Master, and like him we are invited to the
perfect imitation of Christ.

PRAYER
“Lord Jesus, your coming in the flesh to ransom us from slavery to
sin gives us cause for great rejoicing even in the midst of trials
and pain. Help me to patiently and joyfully accept the hardships,
adversities, and persecution, which come my way in serving you.
Strengthen my faith and give me courage that I may not shrink back
from doing your will”.


43 posted on 12/26/2011 7:26:29 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
One Bread, One Body

One Bread, One Body

 


<< Monday, December 26, 2011 >> St. Stephen
Saint of the Day
 
Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59
View Readings
Psalm 31:3-4, 6, 8, 16-17 Matthew 10:17-22
 

"IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD" (Jn 1:1)

 
"When they hand you over, do not worry about what you will say or how you will say it. When the hour comes, you will be given what you are to say." —Matthew 10:19
 

Christmas is a celebration of God's Word. On the first day of Christmas, the Church proclaims twelve readings at the various liturgies of the Christmas Masses. On the second day of Christmas we remember St. Stephen, who preached God's Word so powerfully he became the first martyr, and whose diaconate freed the apostles to concentrate on prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4). Tomorrow, on the third day of Christmas, we celebrate the feast of St. John, writer of the fourth Gospel. In clear and practical ways, the Church celebrates God's Word each day of the Christmas season.

One of God's Christmas presents to us is new power in ministering His Word. If we will go forth as Jesus' witnesses, stand up, and acknowledge Him publicly, God will stir up the Holy Spirit Who will speak in us (Mt 10:20). Our opponents will prove no match for the Spirit's wisdom expressed in our words (Acts 6:10). Our words will have such power as to sting the hearts of our opponents (Acts 7:54). Only by holding their hands over their ears will unbelievers be able to resist the gospel of Jesus (Acts 7:57).

After this Christmas, there'll be "no chaining the word of God" in you (2 Tm 2:9). Open your Christmas present; open the Word.

 
Prayer: Father, give me the power to read the Bible at least thirty to sixty minutes each day of the Christmas season.
Promise: "The Stephen already spoken of was a man filled with grace and power, who worked great wonders and signs among the people." —Acts 6:8
Praise: St. Stephen's forgiving love as he was being killed echoed the love Jesus showed on the cross.

44 posted on 12/26/2011 7:29:06 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
 

December 26, Feast of St. Stephen

Saint Stephen is the first martyr of the Church, and is the patron of stonemasons, masons, bricklayers, deacons, headaches, and horses. His story comes from the Acts of the Apostles. He is usually pictured in deacon's vestments, holding the symbol of martyrdom, a palm branch. Sometimes he has a stone in his left hand, to indicate his death by stoning. He is depicted in many images wearing a wreath, which refers to the origin of his name, the Greek word Stephanos meaning "wreath."

"If you know what witness means, you understand why God brings St. Stephen, St. John, and the Holy Innocents to the crib in the cave as soon as Christ is born liturgically. To be a witness is to be a martyr. Holy Mother Church wishes us to realize that we were born in baptism to become Christ — He who was the world's outstanding Martyr." — Love Does Such Things, by Rev. M. Raymond, O.C.S.O.

 
 
A blessed Second Day of Christmas to all of you!

45 posted on 12/26/2011 7:31:30 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

FOR THE ELDERLY

Dear Lord,
as my life declines 
and my energies decrease,
more than ever hold me by Your Power,
that I may not offend You,
but daily increase in Your Love.
Give me strength to work in Your Service 
till the last day of my life.
Help me to ever have 
an increasing dread of venial sin,
or whatever would cause 
the slightest withdrawal of Your love,
all day long,
and at night keep me close to Your Heart;
and should I die, ere the morning breaks,
may I go rejoicing in that vision 
of Your entrancing beauty,
never to be separated from You.

Amen.

46 posted on 12/26/2011 7:33:12 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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