"As soon as I lie down, I fall peacefully asleep, for You alone, O Lord, bring security to my dwelling." Psalm 4:8
A good sleep is such a blessing. Sometimes I take coffee too late in the day because I have a meeting at night, and then I toss and turn and can't sleep. Or I can't sleep because I am thinking of the long list of things I have to do and take care of. Such a trial! People try all sorts of ways to sleep. Some take supplements of taurine, magnesium or vitamin B6. Some need a sleep mask and/or ear plugs to block out noise and light. I've heard of people praying the Rosary to sleep, or inhaling through the left nostril. Some even need to see a doctor, take sleeping pills or go to sleep clinics for insomnia! When I can't sleep, I count my blessings, and one of them is that I get a really good sleep almost every night. That is actually amazing, that we can sleep, in spite of the many challenges on our plate, the things we HAVE to remember to do, the things we need to do and want to do....
Truly, we should know that we can leave all that with God, in His hands, and He will take care of the things we forget, or those things beyond our power to do. "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of!" And while we sleep, we can be sure that He who keeps us will not slumber or rest. (Psalm 121:3-4)
"Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power..." Acts 6:8
Saint Stephen was the first martyr of the Catholic faith. His story is short but very dramatic. When the Church was growing, there were some complaints that some widows were not getting their share of food. It was decided that the disciples would preach the Word, and seven men would be chosen to take care of food distribution. One of these men was Stephen. In Acts 6:8, Stephen is said to have performed "amazing miracles and signs". You would think more would have been written about this, but it is just one line, as if this was quite ordinary among the disciples of Jesus.
Apparently Stephen did not merely distribute bread to the members of the Church, or he would not have gotten himself into a whole lot of trouble. Jews from all over would debate with him, and he would be able to defend the faith with wisdom. Some men lied about what he said, and he was brought before the Sanhedrin. In John chapter 6, Jesus told the crowds to "NOT work for perishable food but for food that will last unto eternal life." Stephen made sure to follow what Jesus said. Even before the Sanhedrin, he spoke with conviction, filled with the Holy Spirit, about God's plan through the ages. This infuriated the Jewish leaders and they dragged Stephen out of the city and stoned him. This does not happen today. But are we brave enough to stand up for truth, even if we will get stoned with criticism or censure? Are we willing to spread God's Word in a skeptical world, in the middle of a group of friends who would ridicule us, perhaps?
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