A reflection on the matrydom of St. Stephen by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB. (Cf Acts 7:51- 8:1).
Sometimes lectio can lead you on and on to the most wonderful things. In the martyrdom of Stephen – we can see the passion and the crucifixion of Christ. Stephen, now, after the resurrection, becomes an alter Christi. He now takes up the suffering of the Church. And we have: ‘Stephen said the people, the elders and the scribes: “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears. You always oppose the Holy Spirit. Doesn’t this following part sound like the crowd before Pontius Pilate? "When they heard this they were infuriated and they ground their teeth at him.’ This wasn’t the first time I’m sure that they ground their teeth at Stephen. We know in the life of Christ, how many times they ground their teeth at Him. This reminded me of what St. Ignatius of Antioch says: “I am God’s wheat, and I shall be ground by their teeth, so that I may become Christ’s pure bread.” If something causes you to grind your teeth, be sure you’re not grinding the wheat of Christ. I ask myself that – what’s causing me to grind my teeth? I’d rather be the wheat and be ground than be the grinder.
And we go on to see how Stephen’s love is perfected at the end-- like Christ-- he forgave those who killed him. We hear St. Benedict saying a similar thing himself in Chapter 64 where it says: “let him hate vice but love the brethren.” (v. 11) That’s for all of us. We need to each one be very ready to see through the vices of one another and love the soul and know everything comes from woundedness. But it is our duty to seek the remedy and take the medicine. And St. Benedict hopes that the medicine is the Scriptures.