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tree; and shall spread abroad like a cedar in Libanus. Alleluia.
We fools accounted his life madness, and his end to be without honour. How is he numbered among the children of God, and his lot is among the saints !
My soul cleaveth unto Thee, O LORD: though an host of men be set against me, yet will I trust in Thee.
He looked up steadfastly, and saw the heavens opened, and the glory of God, and JESUS standing at the right hand of God.
Blessed are they that enter therein.
Stephen "s being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and JESUS standing at the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God."-Acts vii. 55, 56.
In this marvellous vision we see the extraordinary favour of GOD towards His elect. And that which fitted S. Stephen for so high a favour was his being “full of the Holy Ghost,” of His gifts and graces.
Illuminated by this Divine Teacher," he looked up steadfastly into heaven;" not so much with the eyes of the body, as with those of the soul, longing for heavenly things, sighing after them, and praying for himself and others. And he “saw the glory of God, and JESUS standing on the right hand of God;" the heavenly Light which shone upon his soul strengthened his faith, till he beheld with his interior eyes " the glory of GOD” in the Majesty of His Trinity, and “ JESŲs” in the Mystery of His glorious Humanity.
O blessed vision ! O ample reward, that was vouchsafed to the servant of GOD! Stephen had witnessed a wonderful confession, and God bestowed upon him a wonderful favour.
Jesus had beheld the suffering member of His Body faithful in the fight, and as the Captain of Salvation He encouraged the soldier by His Presence. He revealed Himself not sitting, but standing, to give His servant thereby to understand that He was ready to help him in the combat, and to crown him when it was over. And Stephen said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God.”
In his dying hour he was an eye-witness of the truth which he had preached, and of Him Whom he saw, even “the Son of Man.” Even to the last he received the favour of God, not as if intended for his own enjoyment, but that he might publish God's glory, through CHRIST, for the good
* of souls, and that he might incite others to
dispose themselves to see the things which he saw, and to believe and love that which he himself believed and loved.
I rejoice, O glorious S. Stephen, for the fortitude with which thou didst defend the honour of thy Master, honouring Him Who honoured thee, and offering to die for Him Who died for thee.
Oh that I could imitate the faithfulness of this pure warrior, and be clothed with the same armour from above, that imitating him in the conflict, I might likewise attain the crown.
O most loving JESUS, grant that I may believe with a lively faith whatever Thou hast revealed to us, and that by continually ascending to Thee in meditation and contemplation, I may in the end come to the clear vision of Thy Godhead. Lift up my spirit to heavenly places, that I may look for the help which Thou offerest me, and for the reward which Thou hast promised me; and that I may esteem it the highest favour to follow Thy providence, and to die in Thy love.
O merciful JESUS, receive my soul, together with the souls of all the faithful, and take it under Thy protection; so that, haying served Thee on earth, I may afterwards enjoy Thee in heaven. Amen.
Joyously hath the illustrious memory of the martyr dawned upon us, dispersing the darkness of malice, and interceding for the world.
Saintly Stephen! thou didst stand before the tribunal with unconquered boldness, thrillingly proclaiming the Incarnation of Him that emptied Himself to the form of a servant,-our Redeemer.
Not in wisdom, not in might, not in wealth do we trust; but in Thee, O CHRIST! the substantial Wisdom of the FATHER. For there is none holy but Thou, O Lover of men.
Our FATHER, &c.
Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which bare the Son of the Eternal FATHER.
And blessed are the breasts which gave suck to CHRIST our LORD. Glory be to the FATHER, &c. As it was in the beginning, &c.
O Captain of the Martyr Host,
O glorious in renown !
Weave we for thee a crown. .
To thy dear Victim Lord!
Of thy Incarnate God;
Thou to the heavenly Canaan first
Through the red sea didst go,
Their path of glory show.
Now at the LAMB's high Feast,
A welcome nuptial guest,
Praise with the Father be ;
Psalm XII. Salvum me fac. Help me, LORD, for there is not one godly man left : for the faithful are minished from among the children of men.
They talk of vanity every one with his neighbour : they do but flatter with their lips, and dissemble in their double heart.
The LORD shall root out all deceitful lips : and the tongue that speaketh proud things;
Which have said, With our tongue will we prevail : we are they who ought to speak, who is lord over us?
Now for the comfortless troubles' sake of the needy : and because of the deep sighing of the poor,
I will up, saith the LORD : and will help