"Stephen's face seemed like that of an angel." —Acts 6:15
As we enter into the Easter season, the Church introduces us to St. Stephen, one of her first deacons and her first martyr. Though he probably did not personally see Jesus, he is a model Easter witness. He was one of those blest "who have not seen and have believed" (Jn 20:29). By faith, Stephen met the risen Christ in a life-changing way and was filled with the Holy Spirit of grace and power (Acts 6:5, 8). He worked great wonders and signs while boldly proclaiming the lordship of Jesus (Acts 6:8).
Finally, the devil made the same mistake with Stephen as he did with Jesus. He killed him. Then Stephen had his greatest opportunity as a resurrection-witness, imitating Jesus by forgiving his enemies and commending his life to the Lord (Acts 7:59-60).
Are you like Stephen? Have you met the risen Christ so personally and been anointed with the Spirit so powerfully that you're a threat to a godless society and a lukewarm Christianity? Is the devil trying to stop or even kill you? Have you risen with Christ above fear and self? Are you unafraid of death and therefore bold, unmanipulatable, and unstoppable? Are you acting "normal" for having met a dead Man risen from the grave?
Prayer: Father, give me Easter boldness.
Promise: "This is the work of God: have faith in the One Whom He sent." —Jn 6:29
Praise: St. George, like St. Stephen, was so anointed with the Spirit he, too, gave up his life as a martyr for Christ.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet on Accepting Jesus as Lord, Savior, and God or on audio AV 43-1 or video V-43.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 16, 2006
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