Dear brethren, let us arm ourselves with all our might, let us prepare ourselves for the struggle by innocence of heart, integrity of faith, dedication to virtue.
The blessed Apostle teaches us how to arm and prepare ourselves: Put round you the belt of truth; put on the breastplate of righteousness; for shoes wear zeal for the Gospel of peace; take up the shield of faith to extinguish all the burning arrows of the evil one; take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.
Let us take this armor and defend ourselves with these spiritual defenses from heaven, so that we may be able to resist the threats of the devil, and fight back on the evil day.
Let us put on the breastplate of righteousness so that our hearts may be safeguarded, proof against the arrows of the enemy. Let our feet be protected by the shoes of the teaching of the Gospel so that when we begin to trample on the serpent and crush it, we may not be bitten and tripped up by it.
Let us with fortitude bear the shield of faith to protect us by extinguishing all the burning arrows that the enemy may launch against us.
Let us wear on our head the helmet of the spirit to defend our ears against the proclamations of death, our eyes against the sight of accursed idols, our forehead so that God’s sign may be kept intact, our lips so that our tongue may proclaim victoriously its faith in Christ its Lord.
Let us arm our right hand with the sword of the spirit so that it may courageously refuse the daily sacrifices, and like the hand – mindful of the eucharist – that receives the body of the Lord, stretch out to embrace him, and so gain from the Lord the future prize of a heavenly crown.
Dear brethren, have all this firmly fixed in your hearts. If the day of persecution finds us thinking on these things and meditating upon them, the soldier of Christ, trained by Christ’s commands and instructions, does not begin to panic at the thought of battle, but is ready for the crown of victory.
For the law of God this holy man engaged in combat even unto death.
He fears no wicked threats;
— his faith was founded on solid rock, alleluia.
He renounced earthly joys,
and gained the kingdom of heaven.
— His faith was founded on solid rock, alleluia.
O God, for whose honor the Bishop Saint Stanislaus
fell beneath the swords of his persecutors,
grant we pray,
that we may persevere strong in faith even until death.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
The English translation of Psalm Responses, Alleluia Verses, Gospel Verses from Lectionary for Mass © 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL); the English translation of Antiphons, Invitatories, Responsories, Intercessions, Psalm 95, the Canticle of the Lamb, Psalm Prayers, Non-Biblical Readings from The Liturgy of the Hours © 1973, 1974, 1975, ICEL; excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, ICEL. All rights reserved. Used with permission.