Every day, we will post a few brief prayers inspired by the Liturgy of the Hours.
O Lord, open my lips. And my mouth shall declare your praise.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High and abides in the shade of the Almighty says to the Lord: “My refuge, my stronghold, my God in whom I trust!” It is he who will free you from the snare of the fowler who seeks to destroy you; he will conceal you with his pinions and under his wings you will find refuge. You will not fear the terror of the night nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the plague that prowls in the darkness nor the scourge that lays waste at noon. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand fall at your right, you, it will never approach; his faithfulness is buckler and shield. Your eyes have only to look to see how the wicked are repaid, you who have said: “Lord, my refuge!” and have made the Most High your dwelling. Upon you no evil shall fall, no plague approach where you dwell. For you has he commanded his angels, to keep you in all your ways. They shall bear you upon their hands lest you strike your foot against a stone. On the lion and the viper you will tread and trample the young lion and the dragon. Since he clings to me in love, I will free him; protect him for he knows my name. When he calls I shall answer: “I am with you,” I will save him in distress and give him glory. With length of life I will content him; I shall let him see my saving power.
Reading: From a sermon by St. Fulgentius of Ruspe
The love that brought Christ from heaven to earth raised Stephen from earth to heaven; shown first in the king, it later shone forth in his soldier. Love was Stephen’s weapon by which he gained every battle, and so won the crown signified by his name. His love of God kept him from yielding to the ferocious mob; his love for his neighbor made him pray for those who were stoning him. Love inspired him to reprove those who erred, to make them amend; love led him to pray for those who stoned him, to save them from punishment. Strengthened by the power of his love, he overcame the raging cruelty of Saul and won his persecutor on earth as his companion in heaven. In his holy and tireless love he longed to gain by prayer those whom he could not convert by admonition. Now at last, Paul rejoices with Stephen, with Stephen he delights in the glory of Christ, with Stephen he exalts, with Stephen he reigns. Stephen went first, slain by the stones thrown by Paul, but Paul followed after, helped by the prayer of Stephen. This, surely, is the true life, my brothers, a life in which Paul feels no shame because of Stephen’s death, and Stephen delights in Paul’s companionship, for love fills them both with joy. It was Stephen’s love that prevailed over the cruelty of the mob, and it was Paul’s love that covered the multitude of his sins; it was love that won for both of them the kingdom of heaven.
The Canticle of Mary
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, My spirit rejoices in God, my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
May we stay faithful to your teachings. Lord, hear our prayer! Help us to forgive those who sin against us. Lord, hear our prayer! Deliver us from all evil. Lord, hear our prayer!
Dear Jesus, Through the intercession of your servant St. Stephan may we truly forgive all those who have wronged us. We ask the Father for this in your name in union with the Holy Spirit. Amen.