Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God
This day, May 2nd is dedicated in the Liturgy to Saint Athanasius who was Bishop of Alexandria in the 3rd and beginning of the fourth century. He, as a leader of the faithful dedicated himself in very difficult times to the preservation of and clarification of basic Christian teaching regarding who Christ was and IS. His role in the struggles with Arianism(which denied the Incarnation) was pivotal in the continuing proclamation of God’s truly having into the flesh and blood world of creation in Jesus Christ. Athanasius suffered deeply in his life in defending the wonder that is the teaching about the Incarnation of Christ. Today, in the Acts of the Apostles reading which is the first lesson for the day, we see the martyr Stephen (the first in Christian history) seeking to speak of who Christ is in his own heart. God speaks truth to us and seeks to reveal that truth in a way that helps us to face ourselves in an honest way. He challenges the authorities who have him on trial to look at history as to how even Moses struggled with Israel’s not willing to face truth. Blindness to truth, in the faith context of life, blinds us to God and God’s eagerness to guide us to see that truth is the freeing from blindness we choose to adopt in life regarding who we truly are in God and who God truly is. God is absolute and total LOVE! That LOVE entered into the flesh and blood world of creation, and the human race simply can’t deal with that wonder. The Arianism that Athanasius struggled against would not deal with it. Athanasius proclaimed in his life and struggle, suffering, and growth in his heart came to know deeply within that God, in the Incarnation sought and seeks to enter into the full human experience of our lives encouraging us and the world to face ourselves and our need to fight against evil in all of the ways it seeks to blind us to our dignity, the dignity of our neighbor (whoever he or she is), and to the presence of God in the midst of our lives calling us to LOVE. Our Precious Blood spirituality takes to heart the full power of the message of the Incarnation and seeks to have us be bonded to all that it challenges to be about.
Rev. Michael Goode, C.PP.S.
Kansas City Province