Friday, December 26, 2003

The Feast of St. Stephen, Deacon and Martyr
is today. There is information on him here. To all who have him as a special patron, especially any deacons out there, happy feast day !

Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon on December 26th, 1875, on which the following notes survive:

" December 26 (St. Stephen)
[The Martyrs]

1. INTROD.—The first martyr—what meant by a martyr—witness for the truth. Christ the first martyr, but He more than a martyr.

2. There is one God, but He was forgotten by all the earth (except the Jews).

3. If one God, only one religion. But every nation had its own god or gods, and they never thought of interfering with each other.

4. God suffered this for a long while (Acts xiv. 16), but at length, etc.

5. Hence preachers and evangelists, apostles—but men did not like to be interfered with. It was a new thing; hence persecutions, and the preachers became martyrs.

6. In Jerusalem they first suffered, because they came in collision with the prejudices of the Jews—such St. Stephen—then a wider range—the apostles all martyrs.

7. The Te Deum calls them an army—(enlarge upon this). Contrast to Mahometans—nay, to Protestantism, which spreads, not indeed by persecution, but by the patronage, etc., of the State. What can be more wonderful than an army conquering by being beaten?

8. The most horrible deaths; stoning is bad enough, but it [was] only one way—St. Andrew, St. Bartholomew, St. Peter, St. James, St. Paul, St. John (oil)—the young, the old, the weak, the strong, men and women.

9. FIRST REFLECTION.—Thus are we Christians. What, under God, do we not owe to them?

10. SECOND REFLECTION.—How comfortable our lives are! The thought of the martyrs should support those too who are in pain, etc., and those who see their friends in pain.

11. All this should humble us. "


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