"As Stephen was being stoned he could be heard praying, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' " —Acts 7:59
"On the second day of Christmas," our "true Love," Jesus, gives us a deeper share in His love. Through His Christmas graces, we can love:
- as Jesus loved, even to the cross (Phil 2:8),
- without counting the cost,
- our enemies (Mt 5:44; see also Rm 5:8),
- those whom we don't love now,
- those who keep sinning against us,
- those whom we now don't even want to love,
- sinners, and consequently hate their sins,
- the Church, and give our lives for her, as Jesus did (Eph 5:25),
- the poor and the least of the brethren (Mt 25:40), and
- unbelievers enough to share our faith with them.
The Holy Spirit of Christmas pours out in our hearts the love of God (Rm 5:5). "Thus you will be able to grasp fully, with all the holy ones, the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ's love" (Eph 3:18).
St. Stephen is a Christmas saint because of his love. Let us love as Stephen loved, even to martyrdom (Acts 7:59).
Prayer: Father, send the Holy Spirit to teach me to love as Jesus did on the cross.
Promise: "When they hand you over, do not worry about what you will say or how you will say it. When the hour comes, you will be given what you are to say. You yourselves will not be the speakers; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you." —Mt 10:19-20
Praise: St. Stephen accepted the grace to forgive his murderers and see Jesus in heaven before his earthly life ended.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, July 15, 2000
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 17, 2000