— First Martyr
The Church was still in her infancy when Stephen was commissioned to organize the meals where the poor were fed in common. Brought before the Sanhedrin, he boldly upbraided the priests for their hard-heartedness in resisting the Holy Ghost. He was the first of an endless line of Christian martyrs.
And casting him forth out of the city, they stoned him. — Epistle
The Imitation of Christ
Oh ! if thou couldst see the everlasting crowns of the saints in heaven, and in how great glory they now triumph, who appeared contemptible heretofore in this world.
The witnesses of the stoning of St. Stephen laid down their garments at the feet of a young man whose name was Saul. This same young man later became the great Apostle St. Paul. He was the first fruit of St. Stephen’s prayer: Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.
Those who love the Lord must be willing to suffer for Him. We may never be asked to do what St. Stephen did, bat we can earn the same heaven by dying to ourselves in little things. Be glad today for the countless opportunities of suffering in all the little ways that a loving Providence offers us. If there are not enough to satisfy our love for the Divine Christ Child, we know that we can do many little things that are known to God alone.
Peace shall come on one day, which is known to the Lord. — The Imitation of Christ