Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Feast of St Peter and St Paul - click to read

"Fight like a good soldier: and if sometimes thou fall through frailty, rise up again, with greater strength than before, confiding in My more abundant grace; but take great care thou yield not to any vain complacency and pride. Through this, many are led into error, and sometimes fall into incurable blindness. Let this fall of the proud, who foolishly rely on their own strength, serve for a warning, and keep thee always humble." (Imitation bk 3, ch 6)
" I understand why St Peter fell. He counted too much on the affection he felt for Our Lord, instead of relying on the strength of divine grace. I am quite sure that if he had said to Our Lord: 'Master, give me the courage to follow Thee even unto death,' he would have obtained the grace. I wonder why Our Lord, knowing what would happen, did not say to him: "Ask Me for the grace to accomplish what you desire"? I think it was in order to teach us two lessons: firstly, that His visible presence did not teach the Apostles more than we can learn from the inspirations of grace; secondly, that having chosen St Peter to govern the Church, whose members would include so many sinners, He wished him to learn by experience what man is without the help of God. That is why Our Lord said to him before his fall: Thou being once converted, confirm thy brethren (Luke 22:32), i.e. tell them the story of your fall, and show them by your own experience how necessary it is to rely solely upon God.  (St Therese "Conseils et Souvenirs")

"Upon this rock I will build my church"

Pillars of the earth (Ps 75[74], 4): this is what the apostles are, but those whose feast we celebrate in the first place. They are the two pillars who support the Church by their teaching and prayer and example of steadfastness. It was the Lord himself who set up these two pillars. To begin with they were weak and unable to support either themselves or anyone else. And in this the Lord's great plan was made manifest: for if they had always been strong then one might have thought their strength came from themselves. And so, before he strengthened them, our Lord wanted to show what they were capable of so that everyone would know their strength came from God.  It was the Lord who set up these pillars of the earth, that is to say, of the Holy Church. And hence we are heartily to extol our holy fathers who underwent so many sufferings for the Lord and who persevered with such strength. To persevere in times of joy, prosperity and patience is nothing. But this is what greatness is: when one is stoned, lashed, beaten for Christ's sake and one perseveres with Christ in spite of it (2 Cor 11:25). With Paul it is greatness to be cursed and to bless..., to be like the world's rubbish and make it our glory (1 Cor 4: 12-13)... And what shall we say about Peter? Even if he had not endured anything for Christ, yet he suffered that we might celebrate him because today he was crucified for him. The cross was his way. (St Aelred of Rielvaux, Cistercian monk, from Sermon 16, for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul ) 

After Daily Gospel
Picture represents Rembrandt's painting 'Two  scholars disputing (St Peter and St Paul)'