Saturday, June 29, 2013

St Peter and St Paul, solemnity


'Simon, son of John, do you love me?...'Lord, you know everything, you know that I love thee'...'Feed my sheep' (John 21:17)

How did JESUS have love his disciples and why did he love them? It wasn't their human qualities that attracted Him; an infinite distance existed between them. He was knowledge, Eternal Wisdom; they were poor sinners - ignorant, filled with worldly thoughts. Yet, JESUS called them his friends, his brothers. He wants to open his Father's kingdom for them and see them reign with Him in this kingdom. He wants to die on a cross because He said: 'There is no greater love than to give one's life for those we love' (The Story of a Soul)

'Fight like a good soldier (which means making every effort in overcoming temptations, imperfections, addictions, giving always good example to others) 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 thee for a warning, and keep thee always humble (Imitation of Christ book 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 have happened, 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 you own experience how necessary it is for salvation to rely solely upon God. (St Therese, Conseils et Souvenirs).
Text inspirations from 'Through the Year with St Therese' and 'Just for Today - daily readings from St Therese and Imitations of Christ'