St. Stephen is honored as the first Christian martyr, and his story is told in chapters 6-7 in the book of the Acts of the Apostles. He was one of the first deacons of the church, called forth to a ministry of service in the community. In his lifetime, he was admired for being “filled with the Spirit and wisdom” (Acts 6:3) and “filled with grace and power” (Acts 6:8). The Sanhedrin condemned him for blasphemy when he preached of a vision he had received of Jesus standing next to (as opposed to sitting beside) the glory of God. Among the witnesses to Stephen’s stoning was Saul, who later had a conversion experience, changed his name to Paul, and spread the Good News all over the world.
Questions for Reflection:
- Reflect on the things that are filling you up. Are you filled with the Holy Spirit, with wisdom, with grace and power, like Stephen was? Do you need to empty yourself of other things so that you can make room for these graces?
- What other gifts has the Holy Spirit given you?