In addition to Boxing Day, and the day good King Wenceslaus went out, it is the feast of St Stephen. I hope all your snow is neat and crisp and even.
St. Stephen’s feast has been celebrated this day since the earliest centuries of the Church’s life.
We are also in the Octave of Christmas. Octaves are mysterious. For Holy Church time is suspended so that we can rest in the mystery of the feast. In her wisdom, Holy Church “stops” her clock so that we contemplate the mystery of the feast from different angles, through different lenses.
St. Stephen reminds us of the consequences of discipleship. He is usually depicted surrounded by people who are beating him to death with rocks. As I said, there are consequences of discipleship.
Are you ready for consequence in the days remaining to you? Consequences can be more or less dramatic. I think we need to get our heads into mental places wherein we can imagine even dire consequences.
Today I also congratulate all the members of the Archconfraternity of St. Stephen! This is a guild of altar boy that started in England. The first chapter ever outside of England was at my home parish of St. Agnes, in St. Paul. In the sacristy there was a letter from the Archbishop of Westminster approving the chapter and each year on this day the new boys were enrolled.
Thanks for the good wishes to us proud Guild members, Father! God willing, our parish will be established in the Guild next year (I was enrolled as a boy at an other parish). Merry Christmas to you!
Between the feast of St. Stephen and the Holy Innocents following Christmas, one should be reminded that the birth of Christ is part of the great battle against Satan.
For a good explanation of why St. Stephen’s martyrdom is commemorated today, see The Day After, by David Warren, for The Catholic Thing.