Get our FREE JesuitPrayer App.
Apple  Android 

December 26, 2016

Feast of St. Stephen the First Martyr

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

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), Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and others of those from Cilicia and Asia, stood up and argued with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.

When they heard these things, they became enraged and ground their teeth at Stephen. But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”

But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Martyrdom of the Heart

This fall I volunteered at a local hospital. Something of a self-confessed germaphobe and directionally challenged in a cavernous building in which one was required to use the unmarked labyrinthine back hallways, I was way out of my comfort zone! Any tendencies toward arrogance or grandiosity quickly fizzled in the face of repeated moments of humility. I was clearly the novice at the tasks assigned to me! A martyrdom of the ego, to be sure!

St. Stephen experienced a violent death that most of us will not have to face. But Stephen can teach us much about the daily martyrdoms we encounter: choosing patience when we feel frustrated, forgiving those we’d rather not, speaking kind words instead of hasty retorts. Each time we choose divine tenderness over human violence we labor with God in a creative way.

What is the martyrdom of the heart asked of me today?

—Susan Kusz, SND serves as Associate Director at the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh, WI.

Prayer

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

—Luke 22: 46

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Welcome to JesuitPrayer.org

Ignatian spirituality reminds us that God pursues us in the routines of our home and work life, and in the hopes and fears of life's challenges. The founder of the Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, created the Spiritual Exercises to deepen our relationship with Christ and to move our contemplation into service. May this prayer site anchor your day and strengthen your resolve to remember what truly matters.

(more about this site)



    Visit our
Social Media
   

Submit a Prayer Request


It is through the generosity of our benefactors that we are able to offer JesuitPrayer.org free of charge.

Would you consider a donation?

Archives

SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
     12
17181920212223
24252627282930
       
   1234
262728    
       
       
       
      1
       
     12
       
     12
3456789
10111213141516
       

December 26, 2016

Feast of St. Stephen the First Martyr

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

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), Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and others of those from Cilicia and Asia, stood up and argued with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.

When they heard these things, they became enraged and ground their teeth at Stephen. But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”

But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Martyrdom of the Heart

This fall I volunteered at a local hospital. Something of a self-confessed germaphobe and directionally challenged in a cavernous building in which one was required to use the unmarked labyrinthine back hallways, I was way out of my comfort zone! Any tendencies toward arrogance or grandiosity quickly fizzled in the face of repeated moments of humility. I was clearly the novice at the tasks assigned to me! A martyrdom of the ego, to be sure!

St. Stephen experienced a violent death that most of us will not have to face. But Stephen can teach us much about the daily martyrdoms we encounter: choosing patience when we feel frustrated, forgiving those we’d rather not, speaking kind words instead of hasty retorts. Each time we choose divine tenderness over human violence we labor with God in a creative way.

What is the martyrdom of the heart asked of me today?

—Susan Kusz, SND serves as Associate Director at the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh, WI.

Prayer

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

—Luke 22: 46

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!