Electronic Prayer Book

St Stephen Morning

 
 
 

Part 1. From the Divine Office

 

 

Opening

 

O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth shall proclaim Your praise.

O God, come to my assistance,
O Lord, make haste to my help me.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.

Halleluia.

 

“First Martyr”

The deacon Stephen, stoned in Jerusalem two years after the death of Christ, has always been the object of very special veneration by the faithful. He is the first martyr. The account in the Acts of the Apostles relating to his arrest and the accusations brought against him emphasises the parallel with our Saviour’s trial; he was stoned outside the city walls and died, like his Master, praying for his executioners. The first to win the martyr’s palm, he drew strength from his vision of the risen Lord (Acts 7: 56), awaiting him in glory at the right hand of the Father.

Stephen belongs to the group of seven deacons whom the Apostles associated with their work in order to lighten the load. He was responsible for organising meals where the poor were fed in common. He was “filled with faith and with the Holy Spirit”, “full of grace and strength” he showed himself as a man of God, radiating divine grace and apostolic zeal. He worked such great wonders and signs among the people that the authorities from five different synagogues became alarmed and summoned him before the Sanhedrin (Jewish Court). As the first witness to Christ he confronted his opponents with quiet courage and the promise made by Jesus (Mark 13: 11) was fulfilled: “…..Disputing with Stephen they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit that spoke”. (Acts 6: 8—10).

In St. Stephen, the first martyr, the liturgy (in the prayer of the Church) emphasises the imitation of Christ even to the extent of the complete gift of self, to the extent of that great charity which made him pray in his suffering for his executioners. By establishing the feast on the day after Christmas the Church draws an even closer comparison between the disciple and the Master and thus extends his witness to the whole mission of the redeeming Messias.

Acclamations For Reflection

Celebrating the prophecies of our Messiah’s coming, His birth, and His return at the end of time.

 
 
  • His will was in the Law of the Lord, day and night.
 
  • Precious in the sight of the Lord, is the death of one of His Saints. Halleluia.
 
  • Perpetual Light shall shine upon Your Saints, O Lord, and an eternity of ages.
 
 

From Psalm 5

 

Morning Prayer

 

 

Hearken to my words, O Lord, attend to my sighing.

Heed my cry for help, my King and my God!

For to you, O Lord, do I pray; in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I offer you my prayers and I wait.

For you are not a God who delights in wickedness, nor may the wicked abide with you; the arrogant may not stand in your presence…

But I, by your abundant kindness, will enter your house, I will bow down towards your holy temple in reverence before you, O Lord.

Lead me in your justice, because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.

 

 

For there is no sincerity in their speech; their heart devises treachery; their throat is an ugly sepulchre; they flatter with their tongues.

Punish them, O God, let them fail in their plans: cast them out because of their many crimes, for they are rebellious against you.

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice, let them be glad forever.

And do protect them and let them rejoice in you, who love your name.

For you bless the just man, O Lord: with your benevolence, as with a shield you do surround him.

 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning is, was and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 

Reading — St. Matthew 23: 34 — 39

 

At that time, Jesus said to the Scribes and Pharisees, “Therefore behold, I send you prophets, and wise men, and scribes; and some of them you will put to death, and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from town to town; that upon you may come all the just blood that has been shed on the earth, from the blood of Abel the just unto the blood of Zacharias the son of Barachias, whom you killed between the temple and the altar. Amen I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You who kill the prophets, and stone those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you would not! Behold your house is left to you desolate. For I say to you, you shall not see me henceforth until you shall say, ‘Blessed is He Who come in the Name of the Lord!’ “

 
 

Alternative Readings

 
Old Testament The Gospels Epistles of St. Paul Other Epistles
 
 

Hymn as a Prayer

     

Martyr whom no persecutor could overcome and follower in the Father’s only Son, you overcame your enemies and received the honour of a triumph, entering heaven as a conqueror to enjoy its pleasures.

Through the merit of your intercession cause our guilt to melt away, keep at a distance from us all infection from sin and drive away life’s weariness.

 

The bonds of your dedicated body are now undone. Undo us from the bonds of the world by the grace of the God of heaven.

To God the Father be the glory, and to His only Son, with the Spirit, the Advocate, now and forever. Amen

     
 
     
 
 

Zackary’s Hymn of Praise — St. Luke 1: 68 — 79

 

St. Luke records (Luke 1: 67) that the father of John the Baptist, eight days after the birth of his son, “filled with the Holy Spirit”, uttered this prophecy, which has remained a daily prayer for Christians.

 
 
 
Antiphon

Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was working great signs among the people.

   
       

 

       

Blessed be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and wrought redemption for his people,

And has raised up a horn # of salvation for us in the house of David his servant,

As he promised through the mouths of his holy ones the prophets from of old;

Salvation from our enemies and from the hands of all our foes

He has fulfilled his kindness to all our fathers and been mindful of his holy covenant

In the Oath to Abraham our father, by which he swore to grant us

That, delivered from the hands of our enemies, we should serve him without fear.

In holiness and justice before him all our days. —

 

And you, O child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,

To give his people knowledge of salvation through forgiveness of their sins,

Because of the compassionate kindness of our God with which the Orient from on high will visit us,

To shine on those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end.
Amen.

       
 

# “Horn of salvation.”

Horn refers originally to the power of an ox. It came to be applied to people and here, to the royal saving power of the messiah.

 
Antiphon

Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was working great signs among the people.

 
 

The Lord’s Prayer

 
 

Traditional

Our Father who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.

Amen.

 

Contemporary

Our Father, in heaven,
Hallowed be Your Name,
Your Kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as in heaven,
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.

Amen.

 

Prayer

 
 

Grant us, we implore You, O Lord, so to imitate what we revere, that we may learn to love even our enemies; for we celebrate the heavenly birthday of him who knew how to pray for his very persecutors to our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son. Who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

 

Closing

   
 

V. Our help is in the Name of the Lord.

R. Who made heaven and earth.

   

May the all powerful and merciful
Lord, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
bless and preserve us.

Amen.

 

Part 2. Devotions Throughout Christmastide | Part 3. The Angelus

Part 4. Prayers For Protection