St. STEPHEN OF HUNGARY.
Short bio + Divine Office 2nd reading.
St. Stephen (969-1038) greatly expanded Hungarian control over the Carpathian Basin during his lifetime, broadly established Christianity in the region. He ruled with great wisdom and was outstanding for his justice and piety. He is generally regarded as the founder of the Kingdom of Hungary. He is one of the more popular saints and on 20 August, his feast day until 1687, Hungary commemorates the foundation of the state.
From admonitions to his son by Saint Stephen
Son, listen to your father’s instruction
My dearest son, if you desire to honour the royal crown, I advise, I counsel, I urge you above all things to maintain the Catholic and apostolic faith with such diligence and care that you may be an example for all those placed under you by God and that all the clergy may rightly call you a man of true Christian profession. Failing to do this, you may be sure that you will not be called a Christian or a son of the Church. Indeed, in the royal palace – after the faith itself – the Church holds second place, first propagated as she was by our head, Christ; then transplanted, firmly constituted and spread through the whole world by his members, the apostles and holy fathers. And though she always produced fresh offspring, nevertheless in certain places she is regarded as ancient.
However, dearest son, even now in our kingdom the Church is proclaimed as young and newly planted; and for that reason she needs more prudent and trustworthy guardians lest a benefit which the divine mercy bestowed on us undeservedly should be destroyed and annihilated through your idleness, indolence or neglect.
My beloved son, delight of my heart, hope of your posterity, I pray, I command, that at every time and in everything, strengthened by your devotion to me, you may show favour not only to relations and kin, or to the most eminent, be they leaders or rich men or neighbours or fellow-countrymen, but also to foreigners and to all who come to you. By fulfilling your duty in this way you will reach the highest state of happiness. Be merciful to all who are suffering violence, keeping always in your heart the example of the Lord who said: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. Be patient with everyone, not only with the powerful, but also with the weak.
Finally be strong lest prosperity lift you up too much or adversity cast you down. Be humble in this life, that God may raise you up in the next. Be truly moderate and do not punish or condemn anyone immoderately. Be gentle so that you may never oppose justice. Be honourable so that you may never voluntarily bring disgrace upon anyone. Be chaste so that you may avoid all the foulness of lust like the pangs of death.
All these virtues I have noted above make up the royal crown and without them no one is fit to rule here on earth or attain to the heavenly kingdom.
℟. Measure your alms by what you have:* if you have much, give more; if you have little, give less, but do not be mean in giving alms.
℣. Add a smiling face to all your gifts; give to the Most High as he has given to you;* if you have much, give more; if you have little, give less, but do not be mean in giving alms.
Let us pray.
Grant your Church, we pray, almighty God, that she may have Saint Stephen of Hungary, who fostered her growth while a king on earth, as her glorious defender in heaven. Through our Lord.