Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, have mercy on us
Lord, have mercy on us,
Christ, hear us,
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
St. Stephen, first martyr,
pray for us. *
St. Stephen, who suffered for preaching the name of Jesus Christ,*
St. Stephen, who so closely imitated Jesus Christ in that great virtue of charity for Thy enemies,*
St. Stephen, who, when stoned by Thy enemies, cast forth sparks, not of anger, but of love, to set on fire their hearts, harder than the stones which they threw,*
St. Stephen, having recommended Thy own soul to God, cried for Thine enemies, Pardon them, O Lord, and punish them not for their sins,*
St. Stephen, most zealous for the glory of God,*
St. Stephen, most patient and constant,*
St. Stephen, pattern of chastity and purity,*
St. Stephen, whose heavenly fortitude caused admiration in all,*
St. Stephen, by whom so many miracles were wrought,*
St. Stephen, who, in the love of God, was not inferior to the Apostles themselves,*
St. Stephen, who converted many to the faith of Christ,*
St. Stephen, by whom the Church has received and does continually receive such singular benefits,*
St. Stephen, of whom it is said, that the Holy Ghost, Who inhabited Thy soul, shone and darted forth his rays into your body,*
St. Stephen, whose face shone like that of an angel,*
St. Stephen, an angel in chastity,*
St. Stephen, full of faith and of the Holy Ghost,*
St. Stephen, dear to the heart of Jesus,*
Let us pray:
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; Thou who are so high in the favor of God, we do entreat Thee to procure for us a little spark of that divine love which animated Thine 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 Thou were eminent, and which in our holy vocation is particularly required–Charity. Amen
PRAYER TO SAINT STEPHEN
With these praises, which the venerable ages of old offered to thee, O Prince and First of Martyrs! we presume to unite ours. Fervently do we congratulate thee, that thou hast had assigned thee, by the Church, the place of honour at the Crib of our Jesus. How glorious the confession thou didst make of His Divinity, whilst thy executioners were stoning thee! How rich and bright the scarlet thou art clad in, for thy victory! How honourable the wounds thou didst receive for Christ! How immense, and yet how choice, that army of Martyrs, which follows thee as its leader, and to which fresh recruits will for ever be added, to the end of time!
Holy Martyr! help us, by thy prayers, to enter into the spirit of the mystery of the Word made Flesh, now that we are celebrating the Birth of our Saviour. Thou art the faithful guardsman of His Crib; who could better lead us to the Divine Babe, that lies there? Thou didst bear testimony to His Divinity and Humanity; thou didst preach this Man God before the blaspheming Synagogue. In vain did the Jews stop their ears; they could not stifle thy voice, which charged them with deicide, in that they had put to death Him, who is at once the Son of Mary and the Son of God. Show this Redeemer to us also, not, indeed, standing in glory at the right hand of his Father, but the sweet and humble Babe, as He now manifests Himself to the world, into which He has just been born, wrapped in swaddling-clothes, and laid in a manger. We, too, wish to bear witness to Him, and to tell how His Birth is one of love and mercy; we wish to show, by our lives, that He has been born in our hearts. Obtain for us that devotedness to the Divine Infant, which gave thee such courage on the day of trial: we shall have devotedness, if, like thee, we are simple-hearted and fearless in our love of Jesus; for love is stronger than death. May we never forget, that every Christian ought to be ready for martyrdom, simply because he is a Christian. May the life of Christ, which has again begun within us, so grow within us, by our fidelity and our conduct, that we may come, as the Apostle expresses it, to the fulness of Christ (Eph. iv. 13).
But, be mindful, O glorious Martyr! be mindful of the Holy Church in those countries, where it is the will of God that she resist even unto blood. May the number of thy fellow-martyrs be thus filled up, and let not one of the combatants grow faint-hearted. May every age and sex be staunch; that so, the testimony may be perfect, and the Church, even in her old age, win immortal laurels and crowns, as in the freshness of her infancy, when she had such a champion as thyself. But, pray, too, that the blood of these Martyrs may be fruitful, as it was in times past; pray that it be not wasted, but become the seed of abundant harvests. May infidelity lose ground, and heresy cease to canker those noble hearts, who, once in the Truth, would be the glory and consolation of the Church. Our own dear Land has had her Martyrs, who, in the hope that God would avenge their blood by restoring her to the Faith, gladly suffered and died–oh! Prince of Martyrs! pray, that this their hope may be speedily fulfilled. Amen
Lord, have mercy on us