Saturday, December 26, 2009
Stephen was born in the 1st Century in Jerusalem. Stephen is the very First Martyr in the Catholic Church, this is why he is referred to as a ProtoMartyr. Stephen's story is in Acts 6:5-15 and Acts 7:55-60. Stephen was chosen by the The Twelve (Peter, Andrew, John, James, James,Phillip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, Thaddeus, Simon and Barnabas.)to be another follower and proclaim the "good news" that was Christ. Since Peter was made the Bishop and later Pope by Christ, he and the Twelve decided to make St. Stephen a Deacon. Stephen is usually depicted in the Deacon's Dalmatic also with the stones at his head and with the Palm of the Martyr(as we see above). Later on in the Acts of the Apostles it mentions where St. Stephen had traveled to Acts 11:19-20. While they killed Stephen a young man named Saul of Tarsus who had approved of the killing later proclaimed a mass persicution of any Christians. To this many went into hiding but many were killed such as Stephen. To the many of Stephen's killers, they all saw him and were frightened at the fact that Stephen was bright as the sun and he seemed as an angel, Stephen then said, "...I can see my Lord in the clouds in heaven...". Stephen had spread the Gospel of Christ to parts of the Mediterranean, where we will later see another Great Saint finish the job St. Stephen had just started, that young man named Saul of Tarsus would later become that man who would convert and proclaim many parts of the Mediterranean.
Lord you blessed your beloved son Stephen to be the first to bear witness to your infinite love. May we not shy away from any oppourtunity to be witnesses of our faith. Lord the gates of heaven opened up for your beloved son Stephen and he was crowned First of Martyrs. May we recieve every blessing from the blood shed by our brother St. Stephen.