It is estimated that Stephen, a deacon of the Church and the first Christian martyr, was killed approximately in the year 35.
Scripture tells us that Stephen “full of grace and power” did great wonders and signs among the people, but his teaching outraged the Jews and they accused him of blasphemy. During his speech to the Jewish council, Stephen looked up into the heavens and proclaimed that he saw Jesus, the Son of Man, standing at the right hand of God.
His accusers were furious. They grabbed him and dragged him out of the city to stone him to death. As he was being executed he cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”
The full account can be read in Acts of the Apostles, chapters 6-7.
From Johnnette Benkovic’s Graceful Living: Meditations to Help You Grow Closer to God Day by Day
My brothers, Christ made love the stairway that would enable all Christians to climb to heaven. Hold fast to it, therefore, in all sincerity, give one another practical proof of it, and by your progress in it, make your ascent together.
— From a homily of St. Fulgentius of Ruspe on the Feast of St. Stephen
What practical proof of love can I give today?