FEAST OF SAINT STEPHEN, FIRST MARTYR
Acts of the Apostles 6:8–10; 7:54–59
Good King Wenceslas, the hero of the beloved Christmas carol, is the grandson of a convert, a man who was converted by the preaching of Saints Cyril and Methodius. Wenceslas was murdered by his brother, Boleslav, according to legend. Despite pressures to abandon the faith — even from his mother! — Wenceslas refused to renounce Christianity. There is a happy ending, however, because Boleslav repented, and followed in Wenceslas’s footsteps to spread the Gospel. The hymn composed in his honor features Wenceslas offering the special charity shown to the poor on Saint Stephen’s Day. As the last lines of the
carol go: “Therefore, Christian men, be sure / Wealth or rank possessing, / Ye who now will bless the poor / Shall yourselves find blessing.” We should be assured that whatever it costs us to aid those in need, we will receive from God an abundance of blessings.
Lord Jesus, fill my heart with a share of Stephen’s charity. May I be made ready to give everything for my faith, but also give me a desire to serve you when you reveal yourself to me in those in need. Amen.
Listen to the carol “Good King Wenceslas” today. Be inspired by the saint’s charity.