BEAR WRONGS PATIENTLY
V. Adoramus Te Christe et benedicimus Tibi.
R. Quia per sanctam Crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
From the Acts of the Apostles:
When they heard [Stephen’s speech] they were infuriated, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, filled with the holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven […] and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them”; and when he said this, he died.
(Ac 7:54-55, 60)
We bless you, Lord Jesus, for giving such power to people! Power in the form of patience – not so much in the face of suffering, as toward those who cause it. Even toward the persecutors. This patience is not just biting one’s tongue. It is also not idle apathy. Nor stoic calm, with a sense of cool superiority over evildoers. Stephen’s patience, the patience of martyrs, is love for the wrongdoers. It is a strong testimony. It is full of peaceful silence interrupted by prayer for forgiveness. It is the last strong word and act of mercy.
Stephen’s patience represents your patience, Lord; his words are a reflection of your words: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. But also at the time of the martyrdom of Stephen, he looked up to the sky and saw you! He had you in front of his eyes, not his injustice and not the anger of his foes. This vision captured him and transformed him – likened him to you. The promise of Scripture was fulfilled on Stephen: We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Just like that! You revealed yourself to him and likened him to yourself.
Jesus Christ, patient and of great mercy, let us fix our eyes on you like Stephen. Let us discover patience as an act of great mercy! Put your finger to our lips when we want to explode with bitterness and resentment, aggression, and complaint. Teach us to pray for our enemies. Offer no resistance to one who is evil! Turn the other cheek. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him two miles. Help us to not be conquered by evil but to conquer evil with good. Meek lamb led slaughter, like a sheep silent before shearers – manifest in us your patience. You live and reign forever and ever. Amen.
“The Way of the Cross” as an eBook.