Friday, December 26, 2014

Saint Stephen

 
Saint Stephen 1476, Carlo Crivelli

This panel showing Saint Stephen is part of the large 'Demidoff Altarpiece' made for the high altar of San Domenico in Ascoli Piceno, east central Italy.

Saint Stephen was the first Christian martyr. He was a deacon (a lay assistant to the priest) of the first Christian community in 1st-century Palestine and was responsible for a daily distribution of food to the poor.

Accused of blasphemy against Moses and God, Stephen was brought to trial. Although not a priest, Stephen was well read in the Scriptures and argued against the religious council. As he spoke in defense of his belief in Christ as the Messiah, those watching him saw the face of an angel. Enraged, the council stopped the trial and took him out of the city where he was stoned to death.

In paintings he is shown in a deacon's robe and with the rocks used to stone him. His other identifying attributes are a palm (signifying martyrdom) and a book (a reminder of his learnedness).


O glorious saint, faithful imitator of Jesus Christ martyr in will and in reality, so full of charity, zeal, love, and purity, deign to intercede for us poor exiles; you who are so high in the favor of God, we do entreat you to procure for us a little spark of that divine love which animated your heart, that we too one day may have the happiness of seeing our God face to face.
 
Oh! obtain for us that virtue for which you were so eminent, and which in our holy vocation is particularly required–Charity. Amen.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christ is Born


A Christmas Card by Thomas Merton

When the white stars talk together like sisters
And when the winter hills
Raise their grand semblance in the freezing night,
Somewhere one window
Bleeds like the brown eye of an open force.

Hills, stars,
White stars that stand above the eastern stable.

Look down and offer Him.
The dim adoring light of your belief.
Whose small Heart bleeds with infinite fire.

Shall not this Child
(When we shall hear the bells of His amazing voice)
Conquer the winter of our hateful century?

And when His Lady Mother leans upon the crib,
Lo, with what rapiers
Those two loves fence and flame their brilliancy!

That will melt all our sufferings:
He is our Lamb, our holocaust!

And one by one the shepherds, with their snowy feet,
Stamp and shake out their hats upon the stable dirt,
And one by one kneel down to look upon their Life.



Sunday, December 7, 2014

2nd Sunday of Advent 2014


Advent is a time of waiting, of expectation, of silence.  Waiting for our Lord to be born. A pregnant woman is so happy, so content. She lives in such a garment of silence, and it is as though she were listening to hear the stir of life within her. One always hears the stirring compared to the rustling of a bird in the hand. But the intentness with which one awaits such stirring is like nothing so much as a blanket of silence.  Dorothy Day


Thanks to Beth of Louie Louie