This year Saint Stephen’s Day falls on the Sunday after Christmas. Thus, alongside the seasonal arcana, the (0) Fool, and the aranca for the week, the (2) High Priestess, we also place the arcana for Saint Stephen, the (12) Hanged Man. Also on display is the King of Swords (from the Masonic Tarot Deck) to mark King David’s Day, which is on 29th December. It replaces a picture of The Holy Family by Francesco Curradi, which had been on the shelf during Advent. For the Christmas season this year I have displayed a picture of the Nativity by Neri di Bicci, from the Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence.
For an insightful meditation upon the mystical significance of the martyrdom of Saint Stephen see: https://www.truthunity.net/mbd/stephen
Almighty God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin: Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.Book of Common Prayer
The Collect for Saint Stephen’s Day
Grant, O Lord, that in all our sufferings here upon earth, for the testimony of thy truth, we may steadfastly look up to heaven, and by faith behold the glory that shall be revealed; and, being filled with the Holy Ghost, may learn to love and bless our persecutors by the example of thy first Martyr Saint Stephen, who prayed for his murderers to thee, O blessed Jesus, who standest at the right hand of God to succour all those that suffer for thee, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.Book of Common Prayer
Old Testament Reading
Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.Isaiah 7: 14
New Testament Reading
Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.Galatians 4: 6-7
New Testament Reading for Saint Stephen’s Day
Stephen, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.Acts 7: 55-60
A Carol For the Feast of Stephen
Quisquis non receperit regnum Dei velut parvulus, non intrabit in illud. Ego sapientia habito in consilio et eruditis intersum cogitationibus. Virtus in infirmitate perficitur.Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall not enter therein. I, Wisdom, dwell in counsel and am found among erudite contemplations.Virtue is perfected in infirmity.