The Guéranger Blog

Welcome to the Gueranger Blog! You have stumbled across the notebook I use to record my thoughts as I read through Dom Prosper Gueranger's 15-volume set, The Liturgical Year. I do not have any special expertise in liturgy, but I have some general knowledge of Catholic theology and an enthusiasm for Gueranger's magnum opus. Think of it as the Liturgical Year fan site!

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Why St. Stephen's Feast is the day after Christmas

Canisius | 27 December, 2005 18:39

Gueranger offers some very nice reflections on why St. Stephen's Feast is the day after Christmas. He remarks on how important the martyrs are for maintaining the witness of Christ's death over time, and the special honor due to St. Stephen as the first martyr.

He seems to hint at a further thought, though. Gueranger has a beautiful passage on "Practice During Christmas" (Vol. 2, Bk. I, ch. 3) wherein he relates the mystery of the mystical body to the liturgical year. To put his thoughts in my words, he says that because the Church is Christ's body, and is ever composed of new members, and members who need renewal at that, every year the Church must re-live the mysteries of Christ's life. Every year, the Church is born with Christ at Christmas, fasts with him during Lent, dies with him on Good Friday, and rises with him on Easter Sunday.

Couldn't we relate this to the Feast of Stephen? If Christmas is also the spiritual birthday of the Church, then it is appropriate to follow Christmas with a commemoration of a special event that came during the Church's infancy. Stephen's martydom was not so long after the first Pentecost (within a few years), and was the first recorded instance of a member of the new Christian going to heaven and thus attaining the fruits of the Church's birth. So it makes as much sense to commemorate Stephen soon after Christmas as it does to celebrate the wise men.


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