The man who stands firm to the end will be saved - St Steven

We celebrate the birth of St. Steven into eternity today. Yesterday we celebrated the birth of the Saviour in our world. Today the birth of his first martyr the proto martyr. We can say birth because Steven now rejoices in the presences of God and he has eternal life. The birth of the Saviour was a consequence of His love for us. It was out of love He came into our world to save us. Steven was born as a consequence of love. That is he loved God above all things. He loved the Incarnate Word and for the sake of the Incarnate Word he loved his neighbour as himself.

How did he manifest that love? Through the practice of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Steven was a deacon chosen by the early church, so that the apostles could continue to preach the Word. Steven was to minister to the needs of the faithful, in particular the widows. Steven was one of the seven deacons who were chosen. And so he practised the corporal works of mercy, the feeding of the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty and the naked he clothed and so on - visiting those who were in prison. At that time there were many Christians in the prisons, because they believed and they would not conform. They would not deny the Lord. So the corporal works of mercy were an integral part of his vocation. But there were also the seven spiritual works of mercy. These Steven did not shy away from. He began by instructing the ignorant, again a work of the deacon. But he was not content just with this. We can have no doubt that he counselled the doubtful. But the one that won him the crown of glory, the most difficult of the spiritual works of mercy, he admonished the sinners. He boldly stood up and spoke to the Sanhedrin and to the Jews in general, telling them that what they had done was nothing but to crucify the King of glory. The Incarnate Word…

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