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Catholic Caucus:Daily Mass Readings, 12-26-12, Feast, St. Stephen, First Martyr, 2nd Day/Octave Chr
USCCB.org/RNAB ^ | 12-26-12 | Revised New American Bible

Posted on 12/25/2012 8:02:44 PM PST by Salvation

December 26, 2012

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 12/25/2012 8:03:01 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 12/25/2012 8:10:14 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

St. Stephen Protomartyr was the patron saint of my parish growing up, so 26 December is always kind of special to me.


3 posted on 12/25/2012 8:12:37 PM PST by perez24 (Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap.)
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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 en-
joy 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 Apostles af-
ter the Resurrection. While the champion of the faith stood there helpless 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 appearance of an angel—so that his testi-
mony 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 per-
secutors. At this point St. Luke brings in Saul who cooperates in the procee-
dings by watching the executioners’ clothes; Saul will soon experience the be-
nefits 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.


4 posted on 12/25/2012 8:13:28 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.


5 posted on 12/25/2012 8:15:15 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

Readings at Mass


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.’

6 posted on 12/25/2012 8:21:48 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Adoration of the Shepherds, by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, 1650-5
 

7 posted on 12/25/2012 8:23:31 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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On the Faith of Mary, the Virgin Mother of Christ
Father Cantalamessa's 1st Advent Sermon (Catholic Caucus)
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On the Splendor of God's Truth
On the Knowledge of God
Archbishop Chaput says Year of Faith holds solution to relativism
Following the Truth: The Year Of Faith – 10 Things You Should Know [Catholic Caucus]
Papal Encyclical on Faith Announced

On the Desire for God
On the Ecclesial Nature of Faith
On the Nature of Faith
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A Life of Faith: Papal Theologian Speaks on the Grace of Faith
ASIA/LAOS - "Year of Faith" amid the persecutions of Christians forced to become "animists"
From no faith to a mountain-top of meaning: Father John Nepil (Catholic Caucus)
Living the Year of Faith: How Pope Benedict Wants You to Begin [Catholic Caucus]
Share Your Faith in This Year of Faith: Two keys to help you do it.
On A New Series of Audiences for The Year of Faith

Pope will deliver year-long teaching series on restoring faith
Pope Benedict XVI Grants Plenary Indulgence to Faithful [Catholic Caucus]
Pope, at Marian shrine, entrusts Year of Faith, synod to Mary (Catholic Caucus)
Catholic Church Calls for Public Prayers in Offices on Fridays
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Vatican Unveils Logo for Year of Faith [Catholic Caucus]
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8 posted on 12/25/2012 8:25:15 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Pope Says Denying God No Path to Peace in Christmas Eve Mass
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9 posted on 12/25/2012 8:26:07 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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  PRAYERS AFTER
HOLY MASS AND COMMUNION

 


Leonine Prayers
    Following are the Prayers after Low Mass which were prescribed by Pope Leo XIII who composed the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel, and were reinforced by Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII to pray for the conversion of Russia. Below the normal Leonine Prayers is the longer version of the Prayer to St. Michael, composed by His Excellency Pope Leo XIII to defend against The Great Apostasy.
Latin

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum, benedicta tu in mulieribus et benedictus fructis ventris tui, Jesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.
(Said 3 times)

    Salve Regina, Mater misericordiae, vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve. Ad te clamamus, exsules filii Evae. Ad te suspiramus gementes et fientes in hac lacrymarum valle. Eia ergo, Advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte. Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis, post hoc exilium, ostende. O clemens, o pia, o dulcis Virgo Maria. Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genitrix. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

    Oremus. Deus, refugium nostrum et virtus, populum ad te clamantem propitius respice; et intercedente gloriosa, et immaculata Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beato Joseph, ejus Sponso, ac beatis Apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, et omnibus Sanctis, quas pro conversione peccatorum, pro libertate et exaltatione sanctae Matris Ecclesiae, preces effundimus, misericors et benignus exaudi. Per eundum Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio; contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur: tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis, satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo, divina virtute in infernum detrude. Amen.

Cor Jesu sacratissimum. Miserere nobis.
Cor Jesu sacratissimum. Miserere nobis.
Cor Jesu sacratissimum. Miserere nobis.

Vernacular

   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 at the hour of our death. Amen.
(Said 3 times)

   Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee to we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mouring and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this 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.

   Let us pray.
O God, our refuge and our strength, look down with mercy upon the people who cry to Thee; and by the intercession of the glorious and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Saint Joseph her spouse, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in Thy mercy and goodness hear our prayers for the conversion of sinners, and for the liberty and exaltation of the Holy Mother the Church. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

   Saint 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, thrust into hell satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.


Complete Prayer to Saint Michael
    The following is the longer version of the vital prayer composed by Pope Leo XIII in 1888 after his startling vision as to the future of the Church. This prayer was dedicated for the Feast of St. Michael 1448 years from the date of the election of the first Leo - Pope Saint Leo the Great. Everyone is familiar with the first prayer below which was mandated by His Holiness as part of the Leonine Prayers after Low Mass. Below are both the short and longer versions of this poignant prayer which should never be forgotten.

    Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray, and do thou, O heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered. Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.

    V: Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
    R: The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.
    V: Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
    R: As we have hoped in Thee.
    V: O Lord hear my prayer.
    R: And let my cry come unto Thee.

    V: Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls. Amen.


Prayer Before the Crucifix

   Look down upon me, O good and gentle Jesus, while before Thy face I humbly kneel, and with burning soul pray and beseech Thee to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity, true contrition for my sins, and a firm purpose of amendment; the while I contemplate with great love and tender pity Thy five most precious wounds, pondering over them within me, calling to mind the words which David Thy prophet said of Thee, my good Jesus: "They have pierced My hands and My feet; they have numbered all My bones."

Indulgence of ten years; a plenary indulgence if recited after devout reception of Holy Communion, Raccolta 201)

Anima Christi - Soul of Christ

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds, hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the malignant enemy, defend me.
In the hour of my death, call me.
And bid me come to Thee, that with
Thy saints I may praise Thee for ever and ever. Amen.

Indulgence of 300 days; if recited after devout reception of Holy Communion, seven years Raccolta 131)

Prayer for Vocations

   O Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst take to Thyself a body and soul like ours, to teach us the glory of self-sacrifice and service, mercifully deign to instill in other hearts the desire to dedicate their lives to Thee. Give us PRIESTS to stand before Thine Altar and to preach the words of Thy Gospel; BROTHERS to assist the priests and to reproduce in themselves Thy humility; SISTERS to teach the young and nurse the sick and to minister Thy charity to all; LAY PEOPLE to imitate Thee in their homes and families. Amen

10 posted on 12/25/2012 8:27:13 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Prayers for The Religion Forum (Ecumenical)
11 posted on 12/25/2012 8:28:47 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Continue to Pray for Pope Benedict [Ecumenical]
12 posted on 12/25/2012 8:30:09 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.


13 posted on 12/25/2012 8:30:49 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, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from there 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 Glorious Mysteries
(Wednesdays and Sundays)
1.The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-18, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-29) [Spiritual fruit - Faith]
2. The Ascension (Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:6-11) [Spiritual fruit - Christian Hope]
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-13) [Spiritual fruit - Gifts of the Holy Spirit]
4. The Assumption [Spiritual fruit - To Jesus through Mary]
5. The Coronation [Spiritual fruit - Grace of Final Perseverance]


14 posted on 12/25/2012 8:32:27 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
+

15 posted on 12/25/2012 8:45:55 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

A Prayer for our Free Nation Under God
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"

   

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.


16 posted on 12/25/2012 8:46:46 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
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.

The Immaculate Conception from the Catechism of the Catholic Church

To become the mother of the Savior, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.”  The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace”. In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace.

Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.

The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son”. The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love”.

The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All-Holy” (Panagia), and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature”.  By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.

 

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


Litany of the Blessed Virgin

Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, have mercy on us
Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, hear us
Christ, graciously hear us

God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us God the Son, Redeemer of the World, have mercy on us God the Holy Spirit, ...
Holy Trinity, one God, ...

Holy Mary, pray for us
Holy Mother of God, pray for us
Holy Virgin of virgins, ...
Mother of Christ, ...
Mother of Divine Grace, ...
Mother most pure, ...
Mother most chaste, ...
Mother inviolate, ...
Mother undefiled, ...
Mother most amiable, ...
Mother most admirable, ...
Mother of good counsel, ...
Mother of our Creator, ...
Mother of our Saviour, ...
Virgin most prudent, ...
Virgin most venerable, ...
Virgin most renowned, ...
Virgin most powerful, ...
Virgin most merciful, ...
Virgin most faithful, ...
Mirror of justice, ...
Seat of wisdom, ...
Cause of our joy, ...
Spiritual vessel, ...
Vessel of honour, ...
Singular vessel of devotion, ...
Mystical rose, ...
Tower of David, ...
Tower of ivory, ...
House of gold, ...
Ark of the covenant, ...
Gate of heaven, ...
Morning star, ...
Health of the sick, ...
Refuge of sinners, ...
Comforter of the afflicted, ...
Help of Christians, ...
Queen of Angels, ...
Queen of Patriarchs, ...
Queen of Prophets, ...
Queen of Apostles, ...
Queen of Martyrs, ...
Queen of Confessors, ...
Queen of Virgins, ...
Queen of all Saints, ...
Queen conceived without original sin, ...
Queen assumed into heaven, ...
Queen of the most holy Rosary, ...
Queen of Peace, ...

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord, Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord, Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Grant we beseech Thee, O Lord God, 
that we, Thy servants,  may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body:  and, by the glorious intercession of the blessed Mary, ever Virgin,  be delivered from present sorrow and enjoy eternal gladness. 
Through Christ, our Lord. 

Amen.


 

Why Catholics Believe in the Immaculate Conception

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION NOVENA [Prayer]
Essays for Lent: The Immaculate Conception
"I Am The Immaculate Conception"
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]

17 posted on 12/25/2012 8:48:11 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

December 2012

Pope's intentions

General Intention: That migrants throughout the world may be welcomed with generosity and authentic love, especially by Christian communities.

Missionary Intention: Christ, light for all humanity. That Christ may reveal himself to all humanity with the light that shines forth from Bethlehem and is reflected in the face of his Church.


18 posted on 12/25/2012 8:49:45 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Wednesday, December 26, 2012
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

We know we are traveling together. If our pace is slow, go on ahead of us. We won’t envy you but rather will seek to catch up with you. However, if you consider us capable of a quicker pace, run along with us. There is only one goal, and we are all anxious to reach it....some at a slow pace and others at a fast pace. Let everyone’s sighs be uttered in longing for Christ. Let us run to Him and cry out for Him.

-- St Augustine


19 posted on 12/25/2012 8:52:38 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Just A Minute Just A Minute (Listen)
Some of EWTN's most popular hosts and guests in a collection of one minute inspirational messages. A different message each time you click.

20 posted on 12/25/2012 8:55:47 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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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. 


21 posted on 12/25/2012 8:57:55 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Beautiful. Thanks.


22 posted on 12/26/2012 5:32:23 AM PST by Rich21IE
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To: Rich21IE

Hope you had a blessed Christmas.


23 posted on 12/26/2012 9:34:06 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
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


24 posted on 12/26/2012 9:35:39 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
On the Prayer of the First Christian Martyr
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

25 posted on 12/26/2012 9:37:37 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


26 posted on 12/26/2012 9:41:57 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Interactive Saints for 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.

27 posted on 12/26/2012 9:46:23 AM 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, 2012
(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.

28 posted on 12/26/2012 12:31:54 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.


29 posted on 12/26/2012 12:37:14 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
A Christian Pilgrim

THE WAYS OF GOD ARE TOO COMPLEX FOR US TO GRASP

(A biblical reflection on the Feast of Saint Stephen, the First Martyr – Wednesday, 26 December 2012) 

First Reading: Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59 

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

KISAH - STEFANUS DIRAJAM

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) 

At first glance, we might think that Stephen’s life was in vain. He had worked so hard for the Gospel, and yet his enemies prevailed. How could this be? Sometimes, God’s greatest servants are cut down before their time – or so it seems. But the ways of God are too complex for us to grasp. For example, one remote consequence of Stephen’s death was the conversion of St. Paul. Was Paul converted solely because he saw how Stephen had died (Acts 8:1)? No. but it was one of many extraordinary events that Paul witnessed – all of which testified to the power of the Gospel and helped prepare him for his encounter with Jesus.

A word spoken, the witness given, a gesture of kindness, all of these can have the effect of a pebble dropped in a pond that sends out ripples far and wide. In this instance, it wasn’t really Stephen’s witness that began the ripples. His decision to forgive his killers was the fruit of the birth of a Baby in a stable in Bethlehem years earlier. Jesus’ incarnation was the pebble dropped in the pond which is still sending our ripples today, affecting the entire world.

The call to evangelize can be intimidating. We can think that it all depends upon us. Of course, we should be alert to the testimony that our lives give to Jesus. But at the same time, we should remember that the Holy Spirit is in control. We are just one of many effects of Jesus’ becoming a man – one of many “ripples” in the pond. Like Stephen, we may be just one person in a series of many whom the Holy Spirit will use to bring others to Christ.

Be assured that as you continue to witness, pray, share the Gospel, and serve, the Holy Spirit will be working. And when you get to heaven, you may be amazed at how many people are there with you in part because of your life. How grateful they will be! And how grateful will you be that God chose to use you so powerfully!

Short Prayer:  Heavenly Father, help me to get past my fear of evangelizing. By the power of Your Holy Spirit give me the heart of a person who wants to see others know the love of Jesus. Amen.


30 posted on 12/26/2012 12:43:08 PM 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

31 posted on 12/26/2012 1:07:23 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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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
32 posted on 12/26/2012 1:07:57 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex


St Stephen Being Led to his Martyrdom

Fra Angelico

1447-49
Fresco
Cappella Niccolina, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican

33 posted on 12/26/2012 1:08:47 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: All
Vultus Christi

Domine Jesu, suscipe spiritum meum

| 1226stephen.jpg

The Prayer of Saint Stephen

Saint Stephen had so patterned his life after that of our Lord Jesus Christ -- Witness, Priest and Servant -- that at the hour of his death, he prayed in the same words as Jesus Crucified: "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit" (Ps 30:5). Saint Stephen, however, directs his prayer to the Lord Jesus, knowing that it will be carried by Christ to the Father in the Holy Spirit: "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

The Monk: Witness, Priest, and Servant

In the Benedictine monastic tradition, we offer ourselves, on the day of our profession, to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit with similar words: Suscipe me, Domine, secundum eloquium tuum, et vivam (Ps 118:116). We offer ourselves because we have caught a glimpse, however fleeting, of "the heavens thrown open" (Ac 7:56), and we are compelled to bear witness to it. We offer ourselves because the glory of the Father shining on the Face of Christ compels us to spend a lifetime singing his praise. We offer ourselves, because we have been served by a Lord who lowers Himself to wash our feet, and we accept a share in His suffering servanthood.

Yielding to the Holy Spirit

When we bear witness, we rely on the Spirit of Our Father to express through us the wisdom of the Crucified Son: "the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you" (Mt 10). When we celebrate the praise of the glory of the Father, we rely on the Holy Spirit to form in us the very prayer of Christ the Eternal High Priest. When we serve and when we suffer, we rely on the Holy Spirit to make us servants and oblations in the image of the Suffering Servant, and in the image of the Handmaid of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary.


34 posted on 12/26/2012 8:22:45 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Vultus Christi

Wreathe the Door of Thy Heart

| 

1226Stephen Angelico.jpg

The painting is by Blessed Fra Angelico (1400-1455). Saint Peter is ordaining Stephen to the diaconate while Saint John the Beloved (whose feast we will keep tomorrow), holding his Gospel, looks on. The composition is remarkable: the three heads of Peter, John and Stephen form a triangle, a symbol of communion in the Three Divine Persons. Peter is handing over the chalice and paten; they are very large. Fra Angelico makes the Most Holy Eucharist central; he paints what Saint Thomas Aquinas taught, i.e. that the unity of the Church is constituted and held together by participation in the adorable Body and Blood of Christ.

December 26
Saint Stephen the Protomartyr

The Holy Spirit at Christmas

The liturgy of Christmas, while drawing our gaze to the Son, the Word made flesh, in no way obscures or minimizes the presence and the work of the Holy Spirit. Quite by chance, I came upon this astonishing text of Saint Ephrem the Syrian: "At this feast of the Nativity let each person wreathe the door of his heart so that the Holy Spirit may delight in that door, enter in and make there his dwelling; then by the Spirit we will be made holy."

Fear Not, For Thou Hast Found Grace With God

Already on the First Sunday of Advent, we sang in the Benedictus Antiphon, "The Holy Spirit will come upon thee, O Mary. Do not be afraid." And on the Second Saturday of Advent, Blessed Isaac of Stella explained that "what is said in the particular case of the Virgin Mother Mary, is rightly understood of the Virgin Mother Church universally (Sermon 51). Today's feast of Saint Stephen is the liturgy's way of repeating now to the Virgin Mother Church the mysterious words of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mother Mary: "Fear not, for thou hast found grace with God.' (Lk 1:30).

Grace and Power

It is remarkable that Saint Luke, the author of the Acts of the Apostles, describes Saint Stephen in today's First Reading as "full of grace and power" (Ac 6:8). The phrase has a distinctively Marian resonance. To Mary, the "highly-favoured" of God (Lk 1:28), the "full of grace," the angel Gabriel says: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee" (Lk 1:35). The words addressed to the Virgin Mary in a particular way hold universal import for the Church.

On this second day of Christmas, Stephen, "full of grace and power"(Ac 6:8) is the radiant icon of the Church indwelt and overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. Without leaving Mary and the Infant Christ, we pass to Stephen and the Infant Christ, to Stephen and the Infant Church.

The Spirit of Truth

Saint Luke tells us that those who disputed Stephen "could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke" (Ac 6:10). Stephen of the growing Church, like Jesus at the age of twelve (Lk 2:42) opens his mouth in the midst of the people, the elders, and the scribes, and his utterance is evidence of the Holy Spirit sent to the Church in fulfillment of Jesus' promises. "When the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me" (Jn 15:26). Saint Matthew, in today's Gospel expresses the same reality: "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" (Mt 10:19-20).

Full of the Spirit, Stephen Gazed into Heaven

We generally interpret this promise of Our Lord as having to do with the witness given by those who are delivered up to the enemies of His name and persecuted for the sake of the Gospel, and this is indeed the first meaning of the text, but the use of the text in this liturgy of Saint Stephen suggests yet another meaning to us, one that is, at a first glance, perhaps less apparent. Saint Luke clarifies his initial description of Stephen as "full of grace and power" (Ac 6:8) by making it explicit in his description of Stephen's martyrdom: "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" (Ac 7:54).

"Full of grace and power" is synonymous with "full of the Holy Spirit." The effects of the indwelling and overshadowing of the Holy Spirit are that how we are to speak and what we are to say are given us by the Spirit of the Father in the hour of our need (Mt 10:19-20) and also that those who are "full of the Holy Spirit" gaze into heaven, see the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God (Ac 7:54).

The Boldness That Comes from the Holy Spirit

The first effect corresponds to Saint Paul's experience of the indwelling Holy Spirit. "The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words" (Rom 8:26). How we are to speak and what we are to say comes from the Holy Spirit not only when we are facing persecutors but also when we, gathered in Christ, are facing the Father in prayer. In both instances the Church is in need of the parrhesia; -- the boldness -- that comes from the Spirit.

Tu Solus Sanctus

In her prayer, the Church indwelt and overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, the Church "full of grace and power" (Ac 6:8), knows how to speak and what to say, for the Spirit helps her in her weakness, giving her to pray as she ought. This is why in every festive liturgy the Church gazes into the heavens and seeing the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father, sings "Thou alone art the Holy One, thou alone art Lord, thou alone art the Most High: Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit: in the glory of God the Father" (Gloria). This is the second effect of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Church-at-prayer sings what, with the eyes of faith, she beholds.

The Prayer of Christ

The work of the Holy Spirit, first of all through the sacred liturgy, is to align us with the prayer of Christ to the Father, to empty us of all that is our own prayer -- narrow, subjective, constrained -- and to fill us with the utter fullness of the prayer of Christ, a prayer that is immense, universal, all-encompassing, all-powerful and always and everywhere pleasing to the Father. In his martyrdom, Saint Stephen reveals this. "As they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." And he knelt down and cried with a loud voice, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them'" (Ac 7:59-60).

Designedly, Saint Luke, in his account of the death of Stephen, reproduces his own account of the prayer of the dying Jesus from the cross. "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do," and "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit" (Lk 23:34 and 46). There is, however, a subtle theological difference. Whereas the dying Jesus addresses the Father, the dying Stephen addresses the living Christ, the risen and ascended Jesus whom he beholds "standing at the right hand of God"(Ac 7:55). Stephen's prayer at the hour of death is a confession of the resurrection of Christ.

Under the Overshadowing of the Holy Spirit

Poised between hearing the Word of God and going to the altar for the sacrifice, the Virgin Mother Mary and the protomartyr Saint Stephen are given us as living signs of the indwelling and overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. To us is said, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Holy Spirit will overshadow you" (Lk 1:35). To us is given, "wisdom and the Spirit" (Ac 6:10), which no earthly power or wisdom can withstand.

Body of Christ, Voice of Christ, Prayer of Christ

By our communion in the Holy Sacrifice of Christ's Body and Blood, we, like Saint Stephen, are filled with the Holy Spirit. Herein is the transforming effect of Holy Mass: we are no longer many individuals speaking many words and praying many prayers. We are, by the action of the Holy Spirit, a single Body with a single voice and signal prayer: the Body of Christ, the voice of Christ, the prayer of Christ. Amen.


35 posted on 12/26/2012 8:31:58 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Regnum Christi

The Power of Witness
| SPIRITUAL LIFE | SPIRITUALITY
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.


36 posted on 12/26/2012 8:35:43 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

Protomartyr

 

by Food For Thought on December 26, 2012 · 

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”.


37 posted on 12/26/2012 8:43:55 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

 


<< Wednesday, December 26, 2012 >> St. Stephen
 
Acts 6:8-10, 7:54-59
View Readings
Psalm 31:3-4, 6, 8, 16-17 Matthew 10:17-22
 

THE REAL CHRISTMAS SPIRIT

 
"Stephen, meanwhile, filled with the Holy Spirit..." —Acts 7:55
 

The spirit of the world is at odds with the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:17). Because of this, it is crucial for us to be absolutely certain we are following the Holy Spirit in our celebrations of the Christmas season. Otherwise, we are "opposing the Holy Spirit" (Acts 7:51), just like the Jewish leaders who put St. Stephen to death. These leaders sincerely thought they were serving God by killing Stephen, but were unwittingly fulfilling Jesus' prophecy instead (see Jn 16:2).

Martyrs like Stephen empty themselves of their blood, just as Jesus emptied Himself (Phil 2:7). Likewise, we must empty ourselves of the world's spirit so that we don't blindly oppose the Holy Spirit. When we are completely empty of self and the spirit of the world (2 Cor 4:4), we can be full of the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:5). If we aren't empty of the things of the world, we will have no room for the Father's gift of the Spirit (see 1 Jn 2:15).

Get the real Christmas spirit. For your Christmas present, "receive the Holy Spirit" (Jn 20:22). May you be found guilty of always opposing the world's spirit and always receiving the Holy Spirit.

 
Prayer: Father, pour out Your love in our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Rm 5:5). Come, Holy Spirit!
Promise: "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. You yourselves will not be the speakers; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you." —Mt 10:19-20
Praise: St. Stephen "worked great signs and wonders among the people" (Acts 6:8) and was so "filled with faith and the Holy Spirit" (Acts 6:5) that he was martyred even before the apostles were.

38 posted on 12/26/2012 8:46:29 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
 

39 posted on 12/26/2012 8:48:19 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Archdiocese of Washington

Many are shocked to walk into daily Mass on December 26 and instead of hearing more of the “Baby Jesus” we are confronted with Martyrdom, “The Feast of Stephen” is ancient on the Church’s calendar. More ancient than the Christmas cycle and hence it was not removed to another time.

Bu the martyrdom does not stop there. We are in the midst of the Christmas Octave, an Octave filled with blood as we shall see.

What is an Octave? But first, there may be some of you who wonder what is meant by and “Octave.” An Octave is a period of eight days wherein a feast of the Church is celebrated for that whole period as though it were all the same day. In the modern liturgical calendar we only observe two octaves explicitly: Christmas and Easter.

During the week following Christmas many of the prayers speak of each day as though it were still Christmas. For example some of the prayers and antiphons say, “Today is born our savior, Christ the Lord.” A purist might say, but it is NOT today that he is born, it was back on Saturday the 25th that he was born. But, in certain sense this IS still Christmas day. Christmas Day is one long day of eight days from Saturday the 25th to Saturday January 1st.

It is the same with Easter where for one whole week we announce: “This is the day the Lord has made…”

Why eight days? Some say it is a reference to the eighth day on which Christ rose. I know, you thought it was the third day. But it was also the eighth day! For God made the world in seven days, resting on the seventh (Sabbath or Saturday). But Christ rose on the 8th day (Sunday). So resurrection morning is both the third day AND the eighth day! Others say the practice of the octave goes to Jewish times where some of the feasts (e.g. Dedication and Tabernacles (Booths)) were celebrated over 8 days.

In the old calendar there were more Octaves such as: Epiphany, Pentecost, All Saints, Immaculate Conception, Ascension Sacred Heart and others). Not all of these were privileged Octaves in which no other feasts could be celebrated. Easter and Pentecost were really the only two that blocked out all other feasts entirely. Others, like the Christmas Octave, allowed the celebration of other feasts but still referred to the feast of the octave as well.

So here we are in the Christmas Octave and, in a strong sense it is thus still Christmas Day. TODAY is born our savior Christ the Lord. This feast is so important that we stretch its observance a completed week and into the eighth day.

Bloody Octave – But one of the striking things about the Christmas octave is its bloodiness. It is one of the bloodiest weeks of the Church’s years. Thus, on December 26th, when we have hardly digested our Christmas dinner, we celebrate the Feast of St. Stephen, the Martyr who was stoned to death. On December 28th we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the young and infant boys who were murdered by Herod seeking to kill Christ. On December 29th we celebrate the feast of St. Thomas Becket who was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral. Even St. (King) Wenceslaus of whom we happily sing “on the Feast of Stephen” was brutally killed by his brother.

Why all this blood, why this martyrdom? It is almost as though the red poinsettias that we put out in festive Christmas spirit look back to us in testimony. For it is clear that Jesus came to this world, ultimately to die. His crib (likely of wood) in which he was laid, arms and feet bound by swaddling clothes, points inevitably to the wood of his cross where, once again, his arms and legs were bound by nails and, after dying, he was wrapped tightly in a linen shroud.

The blood of the Christmas octave also reminds us that many of us too will share in Christ’s lot. This world hated Christ and had “no room for him.” Neither does this world have room for true Christians and the blood of martyrs stretches down through the centuries in testimony to the world’s hatred for authentic disciples of Christ and the truth they propose.

From this bloody octave the words of Christ ring out: If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you (Jn 15:19). The martyrs of the Christmas Octave say, Amen.

And even St. John the Apostle, whose feast also occurs in the Octave (Dec 27), also says Amen. For, though he did not suffer martyrdom he proclaimed his Amen also from his prison cell on Patmos: I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus (Rev 1:9).

Victory – But all these martyrs and sufferers (St. Stephen, St. John, the Holy Innocents, St. Thomas Becket, and St Wenceslaus) proclaim too the victory that is theirs with Jesus Christ who also said, In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (Jn 16:33). And again, Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. (Rev 2:10) Yes, Lord, the Spirit and the Bride say, Amen.

Did I wish you a merry Christmas?


40 posted on 12/26/2012 10:18:13 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Thanks, we did and I hope you did as well! But hey, we’re still having it! There are 12 Days of Christmas!


41 posted on 12/27/2012 5:58:31 AM PST by Rich21IE
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To: All
 
Marriage = One Man and One Woman
Til' Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for December 26, 2012:

“On the 2nd Day of Christmas my true love gave to me – 2 Turtle Doves.” As a species, turtle doves are known to form strong pair bonds, thus they are a symbol of devoted love. You don’t need the doves, just act like them – minus the messy part.


42 posted on 12/27/2012 6:23:43 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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