- Wednesday, 26 December 2012 07:39
The gates of heaven were opened for blessed Stephen, who was found to be first among the number of the Martyrs and therefore is crowned triumphant in heaven. (Entrance Antiphon)
There’s nothing sentimental about the Christmas season, at least, liturgically speaking, with the day after the feast of the Incarnation being dedicated to the first martyr, Saint Stephen. The antiphon for Mass (above) tells us what the Church believes. The Stational Mass in Rome for today is the Church of Saint Stephen on the Coelian Hill.
Stephen is clearly one of the earliest followers of Jesus, a convert to the way of living proposed by Jesus. Stephen is known to be the first to lay down his life for Christ.
What comes to mind for Saint Stephen’s intercession is help is all those Christians around the world who live in fear of persecution, and those who live in an atmosphere of being misunderstood –falsely accused. Today is also a day to pray for our deacons since Saint Stephen was among the first 7 deacons of our Church.
“Yesterday the Lord of the universe welcomed us whereas today it is the imitator [Stephen] of the Lord,” Saint Gregory of Nyssa preached.
Stephen was stoned in Jerusalem two years after the Lord was crucified. The Church’s Liturgy echoes the teaching of the Fathers of the Church and what was experienced by Stephen himself: imitate the Lord by teaching truth, praying for those who harm you, forgiving those who falsely accuse you, and offer your life completely, even unto death. Persecuted Christians give good evidence of this assessment.
What connection must we make between the beauty of the birth of the Son of God and the death Stephen? The Child born humbly in poverty will humbly die on the cross, the swaddling clothes at the birth will become the burial shroud; the cave of the birth later becomes the cave of death.
Among the things Saint Stephen is the patron of, are deacons, persecuted Christians, coffin makers, and against headaches.
With the Church we pray,
Grant, Lord, we pray, that we may imitate what we worship, and so learn to love even our enemies, for we celebrate the heavenly birthday of a man who knew how to pray even for his persecutors.
- Wednesday, 12 September 2012 12:31
The movie, “For Greater Glory,” is now available on DVD on Amazon, but it is also available from Ignatius Press.
What price would
you pay for freedom? In the exhilarating action epic “For Greater Glory” an
impassioned group of men and women each make the decision to risk it all for
family, faith and the very future of their country, as the film’s adventure
unfolds against the long-hidden, true story of the 1920s Cristero War the
daring people’s revolt that rocked 20th Century North America.
This movie is an excellent addition for your Catholic library of film and appropriate for a high school Catholic curricula, the RCIA and adult faith formation work of your parish. This forgotten part of our North American history needs to be better known.
- Wednesday, 19 October 2011 06:51
Saint Isaac Jogues wrote, “My confidence is placed in God who does not need our help for accomplishing his designs. Our single endeavor should be to give ourselves to the work and to be faithful to him, and not to spoil his work by our shortcomings”
Saint John de Brébeuf, pray for us.
Saint Isaac Jogues, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel Lalemant, pray for us.
Saint Anthony Daniel, pray for us
Saint Charles Garnier, pray for us.
Saint Noël Chabanel, pray for us.
Saint René Goupil, pray for us.
Saint John de la Lande, pray for us.
- Monday, 11 April 2011 07:00
As a child my sister, cousin and I were enrolled in St Stanislaus School (New Haven, CT) under the guidance of the Vincentians and the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. The great bishop and martyr has been in my consciousness for some time and it was a privilege to make deeper connections with the saint when I was in Krakow a number of years ago. We Poles regard the sainted bishop and martyr Stanislaus as Poland’s Saints Thomas Becket and Thomas More who took a stand against societal and governmental injustice. Today, we’d use the term “speak truth to power” to capture what Stanislaus did in his native Poland.
The Collect for today’s Mass reads, “Father, to honor you, Saint Stanislaus faced martyrdom with courage. Keep us strong and loyal in our faith until death.”
was born July 26, 1030, educated in Poland’s capital city Gniezno and at Paris. His skills were recognized by the bishop of Krakow as he was appointed the archdeacon and preacher. In 1072, Stanislaus was elected bishop of Krakow. J. Michael Thompson’s hymn captures the life of Stanislaus:
Read more ...
- Saturday, 02 April 2011 09:08
The culture editor at America Magazine Jesuit Father James Martin, reviews the stunning movie “Of Gods and Men” on Religion and Ethics Newsweekly. His comments are worth hearing.
Here is a previous post on
“Of Gods and Men” with a few links to other pages including Prior Christian de Cherge’s testament.