Monday, December 25, 2006

On the feast of Stephen


Good King Wenceslas did something today - I can't remember the words of the carol though.
The 26 December is the feast of St. Stephen, martyr. As I mentioned in an earlier post, never be surprised by violence and tumult during the time we commemorate the birth of the Prince of Peace, that is, at Christmas.
Steven is the protomartyr for Christ, a deacon in the early Church, Saul (St. Paul) was there to witness the stoning. Everyone knows the story. I believe his feast is celebrated to demonstrate what it means to be a disciple of Jesus so that we who celebrate Our Lord's Nativity may not lose sight of the cross. While the witness of Stephen may encourage those who are suffering amidst the celebration of Christmas.
The radiant countenance of Stephen's face as he was being stoned, seeing Our Lord in glory as he did, mirrors our own joy of seeing the Divine Infant Jesus in the extreme poverty of Bethlehem. After all, it couldn't have been very pleasant laying in a manger, in a cold, dirty cave, amidst the animals and the odors associated with them. Yet heaven and earth rejoiced that day, and Love was made visible to all.

5 comments:

  1. St. Wenceslaus, King of Bavaria (patron St. of Bavaria and Czechoslavalkia) was out with his Page and saw a poor man gathering firewood to keep warm. They tramped through the snow, King Wenceslaus sending the page to find out what the poor man needed and how to best help him. The song also discusses the Page walking the Saint's footprints in the snow because Wenceslaus led the way to the man who needed their help.

    What an image of Christ to us all!

    Wenceslaus was murdered by his brother and his brothers associates on the steps of a Church, having been a Christian in a pagan land. They cut him to pieces and buried him. His brother later repented and had his remains moved to the Basilica (?) of the Infant of Prague, where they are today. St. Wenceslaus was taught by his Grandmother, L. also a Christian (her name escapes me), and she was also murdered as a martyr of the pagan regime. She had encouraged Wenceslaus to become involved in politics and the government of his nation and he became King.

    He was dedicated to Jesus, to teaching the faith in a pagan nation, and is the patron of Bavaria, Czechloslovalkia, and someplace else. He is known for his virtues, especially that of Patience.

    And he's my patron for 2007...chose me, can't figure out why. He's known for his virtues...maybe he chose me because I'm in desperate need of his help because I don't have any virtues whatsoever. :-(

    Please pray for him, to have taken such a soul as mine on as a project.

    Anyway, one martyr looking out upon another martyrs feast day, I have to wonder if a shiver went down St. Wenceslaus's spine on that cold winter day?

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  2. Thanks Adoro! he has a good client in you - he'll take good care of you.

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  3. michael6:02 PM

    Who is the artist of this stoning of St. Stephen?

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  4. Michael - the artist is Adam Elsheimer 1578-1610. The painting almost seems contemprary, don't you think?
    A blessed Christmas!

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  5. michael7:21 PM

    Thanks! Great painting. I thought I might have seen it myself; but apparently not, as I just discovered where it is located. Interestingly, he seems to have influenced Rubens and Rembrandt. There is a timeless quality to this painting. The actual figure of St. Stephen, minus everything else, reminds me of some El Greco. I see Poussin in much of the background. Foreground figures, l & r, are very modern indeed.

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