St. Stephen, Pray for Us
Today is the feast of St. Stephen, the first man to ever be murdered for his faith in Jesus. It’s important to celebrate and remember St. Stephen because since then, though countries have come and gone, there are still martyrs. In fact there are more today then there were under the persecution of the Romans, or any tyrant since.
Every Christmas, we can count on this kind of atrocity in the news. Why?
Jesus says about the Church, “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also.”
Muslim extremists think this is the best way to get rid of the Christians, but they could not be more wrong. Treat a Christian as Christ himself was treated, and you create the ideal circumstances for him to become a saint. The Church has always thrived, and continues to thrive, under the threat of persecution and death.
“‘You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.’ 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.” And he knelt down and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:51-60)
Praise God for his brave martyrs.
Ora Pro Nobis.