I spent hours, if not days, agonizing over future conversations. I used to feel almost sick, as the stomach knots grew tighter, while thinking about just the right words so much.
Saint Stephen does not appear to have had this problem.
I imagine he didn’t have time to agonize over just the right way to share the Good News. Instead of worrying about what to say, he was “filled with grace and power” from the Holy Spirit, worked wonders, and spoke boldly. I’m touched to the core that even as others snarled at him and literally dragged him to his death, he witnessed to the Lord. To the very end, he confidently trusted the Lord’s promise that he would "be given at that moment what [he was] to say" (Matthew 10:19).
Oh, how I long for that trust and confidence!
Jesus’ promise to the disciples is the same to me. He tells me, and you, "do not worry about how are you are to speak or what you are to say," (Matthew 10:19). I know that He longs for me to believe this and trust Him. The longer I sit with the words from both readings and the Psalm, the more clearly I realize that all too often, worry takes all the space in my heart that the Spirit should fill.
Jesus’ words are more than a cliche; they are the how-to guide to making room for the Spirit.
I believe Jesus’ promise, but I still worry about what to say. With a doubting teen, friends who question the Church’s wisdom, and struggles in my marriage, the weights are heavy on my heart. Worry can consume me. I’m far from being as trusting as Saint Stephen.
But when I echo his last-breath prayer with my own, "Lord, take all that I am and lead me," a transformation happens. Slowly, worry lessens the grip on my heart and the Spirit fills me with grace instead.
Grace moves me to a place of peace, and renews my resolve to trust the Lord in His promise.
Learn more about Saint Stephen's noble martyrdom here.
Gina Fensterer is a Colorado native at heart, but the West Coast beach life suits her just fine. She currently lives in small coastal area of California with her husband and six children. She loves the Jesus prayer, coffee at any time of day, homemade salsa, photography, and sleepy toddler snuggles. You can find out more about her here.