Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles and Martyrs
is today. There is information on them here and here.

We ought to desire to do great things for the service of God, and not content ourselves with a moderate goodness, but wish, if it were possible, to surpass in sanctity and love even St. Peter and St. Paul.

St. Philip Neri

Thus the very presence of Jesus enkindled Peter's heart, and at once drew him unto Him; also at a former time, when he saw his Lord walking on the sea, his very first impulse was, as in the passage to which I have been referring, to leave the vessel and hasten to His side: "Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come to Thee upon the waters". And when he had been betrayed into his great sin, the very Eye of Jesus brought him to himself: "And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter; and Peter remembered the word of the Lord, and he went out and wept bitterly". Hence, on another occasion, when many of the disciples fell away, and "Jesus said to the twelve, Do you too wish to go away?" St. Peter answered, "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life; and we have believed and have known that Thou art Christ, the Son of God."

Such, too, was that other great Apostle, who, in so many ways, is associated with St. Peter—the Doctor of the Gentiles. He indeed was converted miraculously, by our Lord's appearing to him, when he was on his way to carry death to the Christians of Damascus: but how does he speak? "Whether we are beside ourselves," he says, "it is to God; or whether we be sober, it is for you: for the charity of Christ constraineth us. If, therefore, any be a new creature in Christ, old things have passed away, behold all things are made new." And so again: "With Christ am I nailed to the cross; but I live, yet no longer I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me". And again: "I am the least of the Apostles, who am not worthy to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am; and His grace in me hath not been void, but I laboured more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God with me." And once more:"Whether we live, unto the Lord we live; whether we die, unto the Lord we die; whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's". You see, my brethren, the character of St. Paul's love; it was a love fervent, eager, energetic, active, full of great works, "strong as death," as the inspired Word says, a flame which "many waters could not quench, nor the streams drown," which lasted to the end, when he could say, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; henceforth is laid up for me the crown of justice, which the Lord will render to me at that day, the just Judge".

Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., Discourses to Mixed Congregations


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