Octave of Christmas
— Saint Stephen, the First Martyr —

“Now Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people....” (Acts 6:8)

In commenting upon this verse from today’s Mass Readings, Saint John Chrysostom writes:

“See how even among the seven there was one who was preeminent and who won the first prize. For although the ordination was common to all seven, he drew upon himself greater grace. And notice how he worked no [signs and wonders] before this, but only when he became publicly known. This was to show that the gift of preaching alone is not sufficient and that there is also need of the ordination. Thus was the assistance of the Spirit gained. For if they were full of the Spirit, clearly it came from the bath of baptism.” (Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, 15)
Grant, Lord, we pray,
that we may imitate what we worship,
and so learn to love even our enemies,
for we celebrate the heavenly birthday
of a man who knew
how to pray even for his persecutors.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen