Thought of the day
Friday, December 26, 2014

Friday, 26 December 2014

Crowned together by the humble King of glory

Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe (467-532), Bishop in North Africa 
Sermon 3, 1-3, 5-6 ; CCL 91 A, 905-909 (trans. Breviairy 26/12 alt.) 

Crowned together by the humble King of glory

Yesterday we celebrated the birth in time of our eternal king; today we celebrate the triumphant death of a soldier… Our king, though he is most high, came for our sake in great humility, but he could not come empty-handed. He brought with him, as it were, a great bonus for his soldiers, which not only made them abundantly rich, but also gave them strength to fight and conquer. The gift he brought was love, which brings men into fellowship with the Godhead… 

The love, then, that brought Christ down from heaven to earth, lifted Stephen from earth to heaven... And Stephen, so as to deserve to win the crown— which is what his name means—had love as his weapon and by it was everywhere victorious. Through love of God he did not yield to the raging of his enemies, and through love of his neighbor he prayed for those who were stoning him. Through love he accused those who were in the wrong that they might be corrected. Through love he prayed for those stoning him to save them from punishment. Trusting in the strength of love he overcame the cruel raging of Saul, and so won for himself as a companion in men, the man who had been his persecutor on earth, This holy and untiring love ardently desired to acquire as converts by his prayers those whom he had been unable to convert by argument. Now Paul rejoices with Stephen, with Stephen he enjoys the brightness of Christ; he exults with Stephen, he reigns with Stephen. There where Stephen arose the first, stoned under Paul’s very eyes, there too, Paul has risen with the help of Stephen’s prayers. 
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