St. Stephen, as the first Christian martyr, shows all the followers of God what godly dedication should be. First, he is not afraid to speak the truth boldly, and yet he does not do so out of malice or hate for those who are murdering him. St. Stephen, with his dying breathe, follows the example of Christ by praying for His persecutors even as they killed him. And yet one of these persecutors would become St. Paul by whom the gospel was spread throughout the Roman Empire. The Church, the Body of Christ, grows through our suffering. Let us therefore welcome the suffering that God brings to us. May we even have the courage to endure like St. Stephen.