12/31 Eve of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

 What a beautiful time to pray the Rosary

Book of Heaven
The Call of the Creature to the Order, the Place and the Purpose
for which He was Created by God
Volume 17 – May 1, 1925

The mission of living in the Divine Will: the mission of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the mission of Mary Most Holy, and the mission of Luisa.

The Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta the Little Daughter of the Divine Will:

 

I was thinking about the many things that my beloved Jesus told me on His Most Holy Will, and some doubts came back to me – that, who knows, it might really not be necessary to say everything, or, that some things were not necessary. But Jesus, wanting to lovingly resolve my doubts and make me know the mission He entrusts to the one who is to make His Divine Will known – having chosen for this the misery that I am, to my great stupefaction and confusion – continuing His holy instructions on this matter, told me: “My daughter (Luisa), every mission is to be connected to the office of executing it, and therefore it must be carried out omitting nothing of that which belongs to it. In fact, every mission which is destined for the good of others, has its own particular gifts, graces, riches and qualities, which are useful for its execution.

My (Jesus’) Humanity received from My Divinity the mission of the Salvation of souls and the office of Redeemer – that is, to redeem them from the slavery of sin and from eternal death. In order to carry out this office, I was given their souls, their pains, their satisfactions. Therefore, I enclosed within Myself everything from everyone; and if My Humanity had neglected to enclose in Itself just one soul, one satisfaction, the office of Redeemer would not have been complete – I would not have enclosed in Myself all the graces, the goods and the light which it was necessary to give to each soul. And even though not all of the souls are saved, this says nothing. On My part, I had to enclose the goods of all, so that I might have necessary and superabundant Graces for all, in order to be able to save all. This was convenient to Me for the decorum and the just honor of My office as Redeemer.

Look at the sun above your horizon: it contains so much light as to be able to give light to all; and even though not all might want to enjoy its light, by its unique office as sun, it possesses even the light that creatures might refuse. This was convenient to the Sun, because it was created by God as the unique sphere which was to warm and embrace the earth with its light. Each created being has its own office to carry out, and that office is unique – linked to that being, to that creature. In order to execute it well, it is necessary that the one who is to carry out the office entrusted to her, contain so much of that good – good which she must give to others according to the mission for which she was created – that as much of it as she gives, it is never exhausted, not even by one atom.

This was even more convenient to Me, Who was to be the new Sun of the souls, and Who was to give Light to all and embrace all with My Light, to bring them all to the Supreme Majesty, offering to this Divine Majesty an act from Myself which would contain all acts, and to make the superabundant light of My Divinity descend upon all in order to rescue them.

In addition to Me (Jesus) there is My Celestial Mama (the Blessed Mother), who received the unique mission as the Mother of a God Son, and the office of Co-Redemptrix of mankind. For her mission of Divine Maternity, She was enriched with so much Grace, that all other creatures combined, both celestial and terrestrial, would never be able to equal Her. But this was not enough to draw the Word into Her maternal womb; it was necessary that the Mother put in action all this abyss of Graces and gifts, by embracing all creatures, loving them, repairing and adoring the Supreme Majesty for all; in such a way as to accomplish Herself, all that the human generations owed to God. Therefore, in Her virginal Heart She (the Blessed Mother) had an inexhaustible vein for God and for all creatures. When the Divinity found in this Virgin compensation for the love of all, It felt enraptured, and formed in Her Its Conception – that is, the Incarnation of the Word. And as She conceived Me, She took on the office of Co-Redemptrix, and shared and embraced together with Me, all the pains, the substitutions, the reparations, the maternal love, for all. In the Heart of My Mother there was a fiber of maternal love for each creature. This is why, in truth and with justice, when I was on the Cross, I declared Her Mother of all. She ran together with Me in the love, in the sufferings – in everything; She never left Me alone. If the Eternal One had not placed so much Grace in Her as to be able to receive, alone, the love of all – He would never have moved from Heaven to come down upon earth and redeem mankind. Here is the necessity, the convenience – that She had to embrace and surpass everything, as befitting the mission of the Mother of the Word.

When an office is unique, as a consequence, nothing must escape the one who has it as mission. He must have everything under his eyes, so as to be able to offer the good he possesses; he must be like a true sun that can give light to all. So were I, and My Celestial Mama.

Now, your (Luisa’s) mission of making known the Eternal Will is braided with Mine (Jesus) and with that of My dear Mother (the Blessed Mother). And since it has to serve for the good of all, it was necessary to centralize the Eternal Sun of My Will into one creature; so that, as a unique mission, this Sun might let its rays blaze from her (Luisa), and all might take the good of Its Light. This implies that, for the decorum and honor of My Will, I had to pour into you, as bearers and preparations, such Graces, light, love and knowledge of It, as to befit the residence of the Sun of My Will. Even more, you must know that, just as My Humanity, in Its office of Redeemer, conceived all souls, the same was to happen in you, in your mission and office to make My Will known and reign: as you continue to do your acts in My Will for all, all creatures remain conceived in your will; and as you keep repeating your acts in Mine, you form many sips of Life of Divine Will, in order to be able to nourish all the creatures which are as though conceived in yours, by virtue of My Will. Do you not feel how, in My Will, you embrace all, from the first to the last creature which is to exist upon earth; and for all, you would want to satisfy, love, please this Supreme Will, binding It to all, removing all obstacles that prevent Its dominion in the creatures – making It known to all; and even with sufferings, you expose yourself to satisfy for all, this Supreme Will, which so much loves to be known and to reign in the midst of creatures?

To you, Firstborn Daughter of my Divine Will, it is given to make known the qualities, the value, the good It contains, and Its eternal sorrow of living unknown – hidden, in the midst of the human generations; even more, despised and offended by the evil ones, and placed by the good ones at the level of the other virtues, as if It were a little light which is lit by men – as virtues are in comparison with My Will – and not the Eternal Sun that My Will is.

The mission of My Will is the greatest that can exist: there is no good which does not descend from It; there is no glory which does not come from It. Everything is centered in It: Our interior Works and those which We have delivered; the Creation of the angels, of the world, of men; all virtues, all merits, all predestinations, all goods, all the glory of the chosen ones, all the mysteries of the infinite love, which are still unknown to man; and the past, the present, the future – all in one Act and in act, and in one single point.

Therefore, be attentive, and do not want to waste time with doubts or uncertainties. Everything I told you for this mission was necessary – not for you, but for the honor, the glory, the knowledge and the sanctity of My Will and of Its dominion in the creatures. And since My Will is one, one was to be the creature to whom I had to entrust It, and through whom It would make Its rays blaze, to do good to all.”

***

And tomorrow on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
will be posted Volume 17 – May 4, 1925, the companion to this Chapter

May Jesus and Mary Bless all
through the intercession of
the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, the Little Daughter of the Divine Will!  

In the Unity of the Light of the Most Holy Divine Will
we wish a very Blessed and Holy 2012 to everyone!

May the Kingdom of the Divine Will come to Reign soon
on earth as It does in Heaven!

12/31 For the New Year: YEARNINGS FOR SANCTITY

By Luisa Piccarreta, the Little Daughter of the Divine Will
At the beginning of her mystical life

Introductory Note:  These “Yearnings”, ardent prayer filled with longing and trust, were dictated by Luisa to a soul by the name of Rosa, who would go Luisa’s home to learn the art of embroidery at the tombolo, and was a little disciple of Luisa.  Each soul who yearns to live in the Divine Will, the Sanctity of sanctities, is a little Rose, who longs for Living Water – Sanctity in the Will of her Jesus. 

 

My most sweet Jesus, my Delight and my Life, O please! by your Mercy, make me holy!  I pray You, O Jesus, for the sake of each beat of your adorable Heart, make me holy.  This is really about your Glory, the loving purpose of your Passion, of your most ardent yearning.  If I am saved, will there perhaps not be in Heaven one more soul that sings your praises for eternity?  Oh! make me holy then! 

O my Jesus, make me holy!

I am a member of that Spouse of Yours, the Church, whom You purchased with your Divine Blood.  O please, do not suffer in Her a bad daughter like me, poor one; but for love of your Church, make me holy, O my God….

I come often to unite myself to You, ineffably, in that Divine Sacrament of Yours, which is called the Bread of Angels, and the Testament of your Love.  O please, do not suffer in me any stain or tepidness, but for love of your Flesh and of your Divine Blood, make me holy, O my God.

O Jesus, by your infinite Mercy, make me holy!

 

You demand of me to edify my family, my neighbor, my friends; You ask that I make virtue loved, that I draw souls to You.  And how can I ever make it, poor as I am, so lacking in fervor, humility and patience?  O please, for love of those souls, at least, who cost blood to your Heart, make me holy, O my God, make me holy.

But what need do I have to present to You so many reasons?  Are You not infinite Goodness and Generosity?  Could You, O beloved of my soul, allow that a daughter of yours, who opens her heart to You, entrusts to You her yearnings, asks You only that she may be holy, would remain prostrated before You without answering her?  Would You not listen to her in the greatness of your Mercy?

And even when, because of my constant ingratitude, You would want to reject me, could You deny this grace to your Blessed Mother Mary and mine, who asks You for it on my behalf, presenting all of Her compassion for your sorrows?  Could You deny it to my Guardian Angel, who continually offers You His celestial adorations in order to obtain it for me? 

O Jesus, by your infinite Mercy, make me holy!

 

O my Jesus, I confess myself unworthy of any favor, but when I ask You that I may be holy, what do I ask of You, after all, other than that the designs of your Redemption be fulfilled in me, and that your goodness may triumph in my malice, in my rejections and in my reluctance?

O my Love, You are Omnipotent – set me afire, burn me to ashes, consume me in your flames, let it be that I may never again offend You!  That I may die to myself; that I may make of this little while of my life that is left one single act of expiation, of gratitude, of adoration and of apostolate – one single act of immolation and of most pure love.  O Jesus, may I live all absorbed in You, drawn and genuflected with my spirit, always before your Sacramental Majesty.  Even more, may I, O Jesus, truly live of your very Sacramental Eucharistic Life, which is all an affable mystery of hiddenness, of operosity and of love.   

 O Jesus, by your infinite Mercy, make me holy!

 

I know… I must do violence to myself in many motions of my spirit, and conquer myself in a thousand ways, on a thousand occasions….

I will need to love prayer, silence, work, mortification.

I will need to operate always and in everything with a live spirit of Faith and of holy fear of God.

I will need to make space, empty of every creature, around me and inside of me.

I will need to keep my heart always up high, keeping it immaculate, adorning it with lilies, with roses, with violets and with hyacinths….

But what is ever impossible for love?  O please! You Yourself, O Lord, make me comprehend how easily I can become holy, if only I embrace with love that daily cross which your love offers me; if only I do, as best I can, the daily actions which duty or charity require of me.

Oh, how sublime it is to become inebriated with pain out of love….  How perfect it turns out to be doing everything with a most pure intention, under the most holy gaze of my God, and in union with my Guardian Angel, as if I were to do that action alone; as if, after that one, I were to appear before the Divine Judgment – as if from it alone depended my eternal salvation.

 O Jesus, by your infinite Mercy, make me holy!

 

Instruct me, You Yourself, O my Jesus, like a patient Teacher.  Make me – I pray You with St. Thomas – to be without reluctances in my humility, without dissipation in my joys, without disheartenments in my sadnesses, without inconstancy in my piety, without bitterness in my conversations, without laments in my sufferings, without hesitation in my obedience, without preferences in my charity, without artifice in my virtue.

Teach me – I will say to You with Saint Ignatius – to be generous unto heroism, to serve unto sacrifice, to give without measuring, to fight without being afraid of the wounds, to consume myself without lamenting.

O Jesus, by your infinite Mercy, make me holy!

 

O my Love, who will give me enough to repay You and to satisfy You if not Yourself?  O please, reign, You alone, in this heart of mine, so meager.  May I love You alone, O Jesus, and may I love You equally, when your love caresses me and when it scourges me.  May my spirit rest in You alone, O Jesus.  And when the whirlwind of my passions or the breath of your tests put my soul in agitation, even then, let it be, O Jesus, that each beat of my heart be a praise, a thanksgiving, an adoration for your Divine Heart.  Let is be that, any tie being broken, I may once and for all make a generous leap, and immerse myself inside your Crucified Heart, divine center of charity, of zeal, of purity, of annihilation and of most perfect abnegation….

O Jesus, by your infinite Mercy, make me holy!

 

O Mary, Mother of sweet Hope and of beautiful Love, I hide myself in the pious shadow of your mantle.

Saint Joseph, my dear most perfect example of the highest sanctity, You be my singular protector, and my model in the interior life of holy sorrow and of holy love….

In the midst of your three Hearts, O Jesus, O Mary, O Joseph, I remain secure and will fear no more on my journey.

O Jesus, O Mary, O Joseph, make me holy, I implore You, O please, make me holy!

O Jesus, by your infinite Mercy, make me holy!

 

 

Fiat!

 

12/31 Feast of the Holy Family

The Queen of Heaven in the Kingdom of the Divine Will
Day Twenty-three

The First Hour of Sorrow Sounds. A Star, with mute Voice, calls the Magi to adore Jesus. A Prophet makes himself the Revealer of the Sorrows of the Sovereign Queen.

The soul to her Queen Mama:

My Most Sweet Mama, here I am again at Your knees; this daughter of Yours can no longer be without You, my Mama. The Sweet Enchantment of the Celestial Baby, whom You now clasp in Your arms, and now kneeling Adore and Love in the manger, enraptures me, thinking that Your Happy Destiny and the same Little King Jesus are nothing other than the Fruits and the Sweet and Precious Pledges of that Fiat which extended Its Kingdom in You. O please! O Mama, give me Your Word that You will make use of Your Power to form in me the Kingdom of the Divine Will.

 Lesson of my Celestial Mama:

My dearest daughter, how Happy I am to have you close to Me, to be able to teach you how the Kingdom of the Divine Will can extend in all things. All crosses, sorrows, humiliations, invested by the Life of the Divine Fiat, are like raw materials in Its Hands, in order to Nourish Its Kingdom and to Extend It more and more.

Therefore, pay attention to Me, and listen to your Mama. I continued My stay in the grotto of Bethlehem with Jesus and dear Saint Joseph. How Happy we were. Because of the Divine Infant and of the Divine Will Operating in us, that little grotto had changed into Paradise. It is true that pains and tears were not lacking, but compared to the Immense Seas of Joy, of Happiness, of Light, which the Divine Fiat made arise in each of our acts, they were just little drops plunged into these Seas. And then, the Sweet and Lovable Presence of My Dear Son was one of My Greatest Happinesses.

Now, dear daughter, you must know that the eighth day arrived after the Celestial Baby had been Born to the light of the day, and the Divine Fiat sounded the hour of sorrow, commanding us to circumcise the charming Little Baby. It was a most painful cut which Little Jesus was to undergo. It was the law of those times that all the firstborn had to undergo this painful cut. It can be called the law of sin, but My Son was Innocent and His Law was the Law of Love; but in spite of this, because He came to find, not the man-king, but the man degraded, in order to make Himself his brother and to elevate him, He wanted to lower Himself, and He submitted Himself to the law.

My daughter, Saint Joseph and I felt a shiver of pain, but intrepid and without hesitating, we called the minister and we had Him circumcised with a most painful cut. At the bitter pain, Baby Jesus cried and flung Himself into My arms, asking for My Help. Saint Joseph and I mixed our tears with His; we gathered the First Blood shed by Jesus for Love of creatures, and we gave Him the Name of Jesus—Powerful Name, which was to make Heaven and earth tremble, and even hell; a Name which was to be Balm, Defense, Help for every heart.

Now, My daughter, this cut was the image of the cruel cut that man had done to his soul by doing his own will; and My Dear Son allowed Himself to be given this cut in order to heal the harsh cut of the human wills, and, with His Blood, to Heal the wounds of the many sins which the poison of the human will has produced in the creatures. So, each act of human will is a cut that is given, and a wound that opens; and the Celestial Baby, with His Painful Cut, prepared the Remedy for all the human wounds.

Now, My daughter, another Surprise: a new star shines under the vault of the heavens, and with its light, it goes in search of adorers, to lead them to recognize and adore Baby Jesus. Three individuals, each distant from the other, are struck by it, and invested by Supreme Light, they follow the star, which leads them to the grotto of Bethlehem, to the feet of Baby Jesus. What was not the astonishment of these Magi Kings, in recognizing in that Divine Infant the King of Heaven and earth—He who had come to Love and Save all? In fact, in the act in which the Magi were adoring Him, enraptured by that Celestial Beauty, the Newborn Baby made His Divinity Shine forth from His Little Humanity, and the grotto changed into Paradise; so much so, that they were no longer able to detach themselves from the feet of the Divine Infant—not until He again withdrew the Light of the Divinity within His Humanity. And I, exercising the Office of Mother, spoke at length of the Descent of the Word, and fortified them in Faith, Hope and Charity, symbolized by their gifts offered to Jesus; and, full of Joy, they withdrew into their regions, to be the first propagators.

My dear daughter, do not move from My side; follow Me everywhere. Forty days from the Birth of Little King Jesus are about to sound when the Divine Fiat calls us to the Temple in order to fulfill the law of the Presentation of My Son. So we went to the Temple. It was the first time that we went out together with My Sweet Baby. A vein of Sorrow opened in My Heart: I was going to offer Him as Victim for the Salvation of all. We entered the Temple, and first we Adored the Divine Majesty; then we called the priest, and having placed Him in his arms, I made the Offering of the Celestial Baby to the Eternal Father—Offering Him in Sacrifice for the Salvation of all. The priest was Simeon, and as I placed Him in his arms, he recognized that He was the Divine Word and exulted with immense joy; and after the offering, assuming the attitude of prophet, he prophesied all My Sorrows. O! How the Supreme Fiat sounded over My Maternal Heart—thoroughly, with vibrating sound, the Mournful Tragedy of all the Pains of My Baby Son. But what pierced Me the most were the words that the holy prophet spoke to Me: “This Dear Baby will be the Salvation and the ruin of many, and will be the Target of contradictions.”

If the Divine Will had not sustained Me, I would have died instantly of pure Pain. But It gave Me Life, and used it to form in Me the Kingdom of Sorrows, within the Kingdom of Its very Will. So, in addition to the Right of Mother that I had over all, I acquired the Right of Mother and Queen of all Sorrows. Ah! Yes, with My Sorrows I acquired the Little Coin to pay the debts of My children, and also of the ungrateful children.

Now, My daughter, you must know that in the Light of the Divine Will I already knew all the Sorrows I was to suffer—and even more than that which the holy prophet told Me. But in that Act, so Solemn, of Offering My Son, in hearing it being repeated to Me, I felt so pierced that My Heart bled, and deep gashes opened in My Soul.

Now, listen to your Mama: in your pains, in the sorrowful encounters which are not lacking for you, never lose heart; but with Heroic Love let the Divine Will take Its Royal Place in your pains, that It may convert them for you into Little Coins of Infinite Value, with which you will be able to pay the debts of your brothers, to ransom them from the slavery of the human will, so as to make them enter again, as free children, into the Kingdom of the Divine Fiat.

 

The soul:

Holy Mama, in Your Pierced Heart do I place all my pains; and You know how they pierce my heart. O please! Be my Mama, and pour into my heart the Balm of Your Sorrows, that I may share in Your same Destiny of using my pains as little coins in order to conquer the Kingdom of the Divine Will.

 

Little Sacrifice:

Today, to honor Me, you will come into My arms, that I may pour in you the First Blood that the Celestial Baby shed in order to heal the wounds that your human will did to you; and you will recite three acts of love in order to mitigate the Spasm of the Wound of Baby Jesus.

 

Ejaculatory Prayer:

My Mama, pour Your Sorrow into my soul, and convert all my pains into Will of God.

12/28 On this day in 1938 the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta writes the last chapter of Volume 36. The obedience to write ceases.

Letter from Father Bucci

P_Fr Bucci1

Every day the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta attended Holy Mass celebrated in her room, receiving the Most Holy Eucharist daily. She urged everyone to go to Mass on Sunday, and one time rebuked my sister Maria because she had not gone there. This said, it is unthinkable to attribute to the Servant of God behaviors that are not conformed to the Magisterium and to the Precepts of Holy Mother Church.

In order to understand well the spirituality of the Servant of God, the following requirements are necessary:

  1. The groups must be formed by Eucharistic souls;
  2. The groups must be devoted to the Most Holy Virgin, Mother of God;
  3. They must be submitted, in everything, to the authority of the Church and especially to their own Bishop, who is the only guarantee of the Faith in the local Church;
  4. All the writings that make reference to the diaries of Piccarreta, must be read and interpreted, only and solely, in the light of Sacred Scripture and of the Magisterium of the Church.

The groups must have as spiritual father, priests of sure orthodoxy, and who are legitimately incardinated in their own dioceses or, if religious, in the order they belong to.

The groups must gradually form and watch out for inappropriate fanaticism or inappropriate interpretations. Watching out for these inappropriate interpretations they should certainly avoid attitudes that border on heresy.

Our duty is exactly this: a correct interpretation of the writings of Piccarreta in the light of the Magisterium of the Church; this is the precise will of this soul all of God, and very faithful and very obedient daughter of the Church.

One who acts otherwise, is certainly a diabolical being who wants to hinder the fulfillment of the Kingdom of the Divine Will, of which the Servant of God is the bearer.

FIAT
Fr. Bernardino Bucci

12/28 Feast Day of the Holy Innocents

Micah 5:2 :  “And thou Bethlehem Ephrata, art a little one among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be the ruler in Israel: and His going forth is from the beginning, from the days of Eternity.”

S_holy innocents
Holy Innocents

The Twenty-four Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Eleventh Hour:  From 3 to 4 AM
Jesus in the house of Caiaphas

The Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta the Little Daughter of the Divine Will:

… My Love, You (Jesus) are before Caiaphas as the most guilty, in the act of being condemned.  Indeed, Caiaphas asks the witnesses what Your crimes are.  Ah, he should rather have asked what is Your Love!  And some accuse You of one thing, some of another, speaking nonsense and contradicting themselves.  As they accuse You, the soldiers who are near You tear Your hair, and unload horrible slaps on Your Most Holy Face, such as to resound through the whole room; they twist Your lips, they hit You, while You remain silent and suffer.  And if You look at them, the light of Your eyes descends into their hearts, and unable to sustain it, they move away from You.  But others take their place, to make of You a greater slaughter.

… I see that Your Love is so great that You anxiously await what Your enemies are doing to You, and You Offer it for our salvation.  And in total calm, Your Heart repairs for slanders, hatred, false witnessings, and for the evil done to innocents with premeditation; and You Repair for those who offend You upon the instigation of leaders, and for the offenses of the ecclesiastics.  … I (Luisa)  am united with You (Jesus), following Your own Reparations

12/26 Feast Day of St. Stephen

S_St Stephen1
St. Stephen
Protomartyr for the Christian Faith

That St. Stephen was a Jew is unquestionable, himself owning that relation in his apology to the people. But whether he was of Hebrew extraction and descended of the stock of Abraham, or whether he was of foreign parents incorporated and brought into that nation by the gate of proselytism, is uncertain. The name Stephen, which signifies a crown, is evidently Greek; but the priest Lucian, in the history of the discovery of his relics, and Basil of Seleucia, inform us, that the name Cheliel, which in modern Hebrew signifies a crown, was engraved on his tomb at Caphragamala. It is generally allowed that he was one of the seventy-two disciples of our Lord; for immediately after the descent of the Holy Ghost, we find him perfectly instructed in the law of the gospel, endowed with extraordinary measures, both of the interior and exterior gifts of that divine Spirit which was but lately shed upon the church, and incomparably furnished with miraculous powers. The church of Christ then increased daily, and was illustrious for the spirit and practice of all virtues, but especially for charity. The faithful lived and loved one another as brethren, and were of one heart and one soul.

To read more on St. Stephen, click here

12/26 And more for the Feast Day of St. Stephen

St. Stephen, First Martyr

St. Stephen is the first of the witnesses of Christ; it is only right that he could appear first in the glorious processions of Saints who surround the cradle of the Savior.

Yesterday, the Lord of the universe filled us with wonder, whereas today the disciple of the Lord fills us with wonder.  In what manner the former, and in what manner the latter?  The former (i.e. Christ), for our sakes assumed human nature, while the latter (i.e., St. Stephen) for the sake of the Lord rid himself of human nature.  The martyr’s death of St. Stephen is truly singular, as is his cult, which is enjoyed in the Church of Christ since apostolic times.

St. John Chrysostom numbers St. Stephen among the apostles:  “Tell me truthfully,” he says, “what did he lack to be equal to the Apostles?  Did he not also work miracles?  Did he not also manifest fortitude?” (Sermon 15)

Accused before the Synhedrion – the Jewish Council – by false witnesses, St. Stephen bravely professed the Holy Faith.  For this they led him out of the city and stoned him to death.  This occurred in the year 34 or 35 (A.D.) after Christ.  Like Christ, St. Stephen too prayed for his enemies at his death.  Saul, a young man who later became the Apostle Paul, took part in his martyrdom.  St. Agustine ascribes the conversion of Saul to the martyrdom of St. Stephen.  “If Stephen had not prayed,” he says, “the Chruch would not now have Paul.”  St. Stephen was the first to shed his blood and give up his life after the Ascension of Our Lord.

St. John Chrysostom begins his sermon on St. Stephen with the words:  “All the Martyrs are given glory, and the heroic deeds of the Just are everywhere an object of admiration; but at the meniton of the most famous heroic deed of the first-martyr Stephen, even the mute tongue begins to praise him.  Whom is Blessed Stephen not able to invite to praise (him)?  His very name, which in Greek means “crown”, already indicates his merits.  His very name suggests that he received the honor of victory!  Here the name of the Martyr already implies struggle, victory, and honor!”

Another sermon on St. Stephen says:  “We crown Stephen with flowers of praise, and we shower upon him roses of laudatory songs.  He already crowned himself with victorious prizes . . . .  Who among mortals can give worthy praise to the fighter?  Who of us is able to weave a wreath fitting his heroic deed?  What tongue is able to expound the glory of the victor?  What lips shall speak in praise of the heroic deeds of St. Stephen?  What mouth is able to express the fortitude of the first Martyr?”

St. Stephen was first among the seven deacons chosen to take care of the poor.  He is the first-martyr and prototype of all martyrs and so his cult is the oldest of all the martyrs.  The Holy Church linked his memory with the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord for, as the first-martyr of Christ, he bore a very close relation with Christ.

The Feast of St. Stephen was already generally known in the fourth century and was celebrated on an equal footing with those of the Apostles.  The Apostolic Constitutions of the fourth century say:  “Let them celebrate on the day of the first-martyr Stephen.”  The Holy Fathers of the fourth century, such as St. Gregory the Theologian, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. John Chrysostom and St. Augustine, preached sermons in honor of St. Stephen.  In the fourth and fifth centuries, churches were built in his honor.

A further mote for the cult of St. Stephen was the finding of his relics in 415.  It was then that according to tradition the teacher of the Apostle Paul, who died believing in Christ, appeared three times to a priest of Jerusalem, Lucianus.  He told Lucianus that, after the stoning of Stephen, he buried Stephen’s body in his own tomb, where it now rests together with the remains of his son, Avivus, and near them Nicodemus – the secret disciple of Christ.  The discovered relics of St. Stephen were transferred to the church on Sion, in Jerusalem.  Sometime afterwards they were again transferred to the Church of the Stoning, north of Jerusalem.  The wife of Emperor Theodosius the Younger, Eudokia, in the year 460, at the place of the original Church of the Stoning, built a beautiful basilica which was later destroyed.  The ruins of this basilica were discovered in 1812, and upon the old foundation the present day church of St. Stephen was erected.

In the year 560 part of the relics of St. Stephen were transferred to Constantinople and deposited, first in the church of St. Lawrence, and later in the newly built church of St. Stephen.  Just as at the finding, so too, at the translate of the relics of St. Stephen, various miracles took place.  St. Augustine, the great venerator of St. Stephen, speaks of these miracles.