On Feast of St. Stephen, Dec. 26
"Professing the Christian Faith Demands the Heroism of the Martyrs"
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 8, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave on Dec. 26, feast of St. Stephen, when praying the Angelus from the window of his study with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Yesterday, after solemnly celebrating Christ's Birth, today we are commemorating the birth in Heaven of St Stephen, the first martyr. A special bond links these two feasts and it is summed up well in the Ambrosian liturgy by this affirmation: "Yesterday, the Lord was born on earth, that Stephen might be born in Heaven" (At the breaking of the bread).
Just as Jesus on the Cross entrusted himself to the Father without reserve and pardoned those who killed him, at the moment of his death St. Stephen prayed: "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit"; and further: "Lord, do not hold this sin against them" (cf. Acts 7:59-60). Stephen was a genuine disciple of Jesus and imitated him perfectly. With Stephen began that long series of martyrs who sealed their faith by offering their lives, proclaiming with their heroic witness that God became man to open the Kingdom of Heaven to humankind.
In the atmosphere of Christmas joy, the reference to the martyr St. Stephen does not seem out of place. Indeed, the shadow of the Cross was already extending over the manger in Bethlehem.
It was foretold by the poverty of the stable in which the infant wailed, the prophecy of Simeon concerning the sign that would be opposed and the sword destined to pierce the heart of the Virgin, and Herod's persecution that would make necessary the flight to Egypt.
It should not come as a surprise that this Child, having grown to adulthood, would one day ask his disciples to follow him with total trust and faithfulness on the Way of the Cross.
Already at the dawn of the Church, many Christians, attracted by his example and sustained by his love, were to witness to their faith by pouring out their blood. The first martyrs would be followed by others down the centuries to our day.
How can we not recognize that professing the Christian faith demands the heroism of the Martyrs in our time too, in various parts of the world? Moreover, how can we not say that everywhere, even where there is no persecution, there is a high price to pay for consistently living the Gospel?
Contemplating the divine Child in Mary's arms and looking to the example of St Stephen, let us ask God for the grace to live our faith consistently, ever ready to answer those who ask us to account for the hope that is in us (cf. 1 Peter 3:15).
[After the Angelus:]
I greet all the English-speaking visitors present at today's Angelus and I wish you the joy and peace of Christmas! Through the intercession of the martyr St. Stephen, may Christians everywhere give clear witness to Christ, Savior of all humanity.
[Translation distributed by the Holy See]
http://www.catholic.org , VA
Pope Benedict XVI - Bishop of Rome, 661 869-1000
Stephen, Saint, Feast, Faith, Martyrs, Benedict
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- St. Zita: Saint of the Day for Thursday, April 27, 2017
- Wait, what? Did Pope Francis just buy a private beach? Yes he did, ...
- Daily Reading for Friday, April 28th, 2017 HD Video
- Pope Francis surprises with TED Talk appearance and powerful message ...
- Daily Readings for Thursday, April 27, 2017
- The Saint Pio Foundation to Honor Hon. Rick and Karen Santorum and ...
- Has the Trump administration betrayed the Little Sisters of the Poor?
- Day 6 - Novena for Workers, the Unemployed and Underemployed HD
- Daily Reading for Thursday, April 27th, 2017 HD
- Cherokee Nation sues drug distributors while CDC claims opioid deaths are underreported HD
- Day 5 - Novena for Workers, the Unemployed and Underemployed HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.