The Power of Witness
Friday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Today I will look for the positive side in everyone I meet. I will look beyond their limitations. I will forgive anyone who might offend me.
by Catholic.net | Source: Catholic.net
Lord, I open my
heart to you on this new day. Because of your unfailing love for me, you deserve my deep gratitude
and complete confidence in you, so I set my entire being at your disposal. Do with me what you wish.
I know that you love me and that nothing that can truly harm me will happen as long as I keep
striving to live in your love.
Lord, help me to experience your
forgiveness and learn to forgive in return.
1. “Do Not Hold This Sin Against
These words of St. Stephen (Acts 7:60) repeat Christ’s last words on earth. He has
entered into Christ’s heart. He is on fire for his Lord. This fire is making him pass through the
same crucible of rejection and death that Christ passed through. And he is walking in the fire
without being scorched. His heart burns so much for Christ that it cannot fester with hatred and
despair. Like his Lord, he wants only the salvation of his persecutors. Am I letting my heart to
be ignited with the flame of love that burns in that Child in the manger? Am I showing the zeal of
love that is selfless service?
2. The Case of Saul:
The Acts of the Apostles
records the approval of Stephen’s martyrdom by Saul. Saul was a man who thought he understood
everything. He thought he knew how evil Stephen was and what a threat his teaching brought. His
intentions seemed correct, but he was dead wrong. Saul will later speak of himself as someone born
dead. He was dead –– dead in his soul – because he had missed the point. Yet God is merciful. Saul
soon becomes St. Paul. Jesus accepts the prayer of Stephen just as the Father accepts the prayer of
Jesus. We do not need to be afraid. God accepts our prayers, too. He will do marvels if we persevere
in prayer and service.
3. Hard of Heart:
We’re often pushed out of our comfort zone
by Christ’s message. We are ready to be forgiven by Christ and by others, but it is not so easy to
take the logical next step of quickly and easily forgiving others. To become a forgiving St. Stephen
we need to keep in mind that we, too, are Sauls. The Christmas Season is a perfect time for a change
of heart. By contemplating today the loving face of God in that child in the manger we can
experience his tender, infinite love for us. Anchored in his friendship we can gain the magnanimity
of heart to set aside any ill will from past injuries and desire for everyone to find the peace and
joy that only comes from knowing the Word Incarnate.
Lord, thank you for the example of St. Stephen, the first martyr
your young Church. On this day after your birth, you also show
me the birth of total
courage in love. I believe that I am safe in
your arms no matter how hard the
difficulties. I believe that you
entrust me with your mission. Today I renew the
be faithful to my mission as a Christian and an apostle “till death
on the battlefield.” Jesus, you are my Lord. I will follow
Today I will look for the positive side in everyone I meet.
I will look beyond their limitations. I will forgive anyone who might offend me.
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