The Deacon Stephen, is the first martyr. Stoned in Jerusalem two years after the death of Christ.
The account in the Acts of the Apostles about his arrest and the accusations brought against him show a parallel with our Saviour’s trial;
He was stoned outside the city wall and died, as he prayed for those who were focused on killing him.
Stephen belongs to the group of seven deacons that helped the Apostles
He was “filled with faith and with the Holy Spirit,” “full of grace and strength” he showed himself as a man of God
As the first witness to Christ he confronted those against him with quiet courage and the promise made by Jesus was fulfilled:
“. . .Disputing with Stephen they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit that spoke.”
By establishing the feast on the day after Christmas, the Church draws a close comparison between the disciple and the Master, Our Lord.
Prayer to Saint Stephen
Please ask the Most Holy Trinity to fill my soul and the souls of all my brothers and sisters throughout the world with a deep hunger for the truth that comes from the Heart of Jesus, and also with the loving courage to embrace and profess the truth even amid difficulties, confusion, and persecution.
May the serenity and peace which were yours at the hour of your stoning be ours as well as we wait in hope for the coming of the Lord Jesus who lives and reigns forever and ever.