Thought of the day
Monday, December 26, 2016

Saint Stephen, first martyr - Feast

Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe (467-532), Bishop in North Africa Sermon 3 for the Feast of Saint Stephen (trans. Breviary)

Saint Stephen, first martyr - Feast

Commentary of the day 

Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe (467-532), Bishop in North Africa Sermon 3 for the Feast of Saint Stephen (trans. Breviary)

"This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (Jn 13,35)

The love that brought Christ down from heaven to earth, lifted Stephen from earth to heaven. The love that showed itself first in the king, shone forth next in the soldier. . . 

Where Stephen rose up the first, stoned in front of Paul, there Paul has followed assisted by the prayers of Stephen. What a really true life must there be now, brethren, where Paul is not put to confusion although he killed Stephen but where, instead, Stephen rejoices in the fellowship of Paul; for in both of them love itself rejoices. In Stephen, love overcame the ferocity of his enemies, in Paul it “covered a multitude of sins” (1Pt 4,8), and in both of them love deserved to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. 

Love, therefore, is the origin and source of all good things; it is a most excellent defence, the road that leads to heaven. Whoever walks in love can neither stray nor be afraid. Love guides, love protects, love leads to the end. Christ our Lord, brethren, set up for us this ladder of love, and by it every Christian can climb to heaven. You must, therefore keep a firm hold on love; you must show it to one another, and by progress in it climb up to heaven.