• St. Peter the Fisherman

May 31, 2020 Solemnity of Pentecost

John 20:19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."

Opening Prayer: Lord, I have been preparing my heart this week for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Send forth your Spirit to enlighten my mind as I reflect on this Scripture.

Encountering Christ:

1. The Doors Were Locked: The doors of the room where the disciples were gathered was locked because they were afraid of the Jews. The doors of our hearts are also locked when we are afraid. A wise confessor once told me to prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation by asking myself, “What was I afraid of when I did/said/thought that?” Sin often happens because we’re afraid. Fears can point to self-love, worldly attachments, or vanities. St. John tells us that “perfect love casts out fear.” When we identify our fears, let us ask the Lord to replace them with love. And the grace of Reconciliation strengthens us to reopen the doors to our hearts.

2. Peace Be with You: Our Lord knows the perfect antidote to fear: peace. He bestowed peace on his apostles who were locked in the upper room. And he always brings peace to us when we let him into our moments of prayer or activity. Peace is his “trademark,” a sure sign of his presence in our life. Even when life circumstances challenge us, Jesus brings peace with him if we invite him in. Why do we hesitate? Come Holy Spirit! Reign in my heart and cast out all fear.

3. Receive the Holy Spirit!: There is no better gift on earth or in heaven than to receive the Holy Spirit. Our Lord promised us the Paraclete, and when we are in a state of grace, the Holy Spirit is alive and active within us. The Holy Spirit brings invaluable gifts (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord) and fruits (charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, forbearance, gentleness, faith, modesty, self-control, and chastity). The Sanctifier works to make us holy and worthy of eternal life with the Holy Trinity. So, when our Lord said to his apostles, “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he was saying also to us on this Pentecost Sunday, “Receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit.” Come Holy Spirit. Come!

Conversing with Christ: Lord, please send your Holy Spirit in abundance! I need grace and inspiration to live a life worthy of you. I want to know you more personally and revere you with the gift of fear of the Lord. Please bless me with special graces on this feast day! Allow me to pray in the Spirit.

Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will use the resources below to pray the “Promises of Christ,” and personalize and add to them as I scour the Scriptures in the coming weeks.

For Further Reflection: A shortlist of the promises of Christ:

God will never leave you (Deuteronomy 31:6).

God will always protect you (2 Thessalonians 3:3).

God will give you strength for every battle (Isaiah 40:31).

God will give you the graces necessary to endure all suffering (2 Corinthians 12:9).

God will forgive you even when you have sinned against him (1 John 1:9).

God will never stop loving you (Ephesians 3:17-19).

  • St. Peter the Fisherman

May 30, 2020

Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter

John 21:20-25

Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper and had said, “Master, who is the one who will betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus said to him, “What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me.” So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die. But Jesus had not told him that he would not die, just “What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours?” It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.

Opening Prayer: Lord, thank you for Peter. He teaches us so much about how you work with human nature. Help me to be open and honest in my prayer today.

Encountering Christ:

1. Peter turned...?: The Gospel opens with the phrase “Peter turned…” Jesus had just intimated that Peter would die on a cross, and commanded him to, “Follow me.” Instead of responding to Jesus with “fiat,” or even “I’m frightened,” Peter turned and inquired about John. Little children do this sometimes. They ignore a direct command as if they didn’t hear it, and they busy themselves with the nearest distraction. When God asks more of us than we are willing to give, we sometimes turn away too. Fortunately, we know that Peter, who seemed more interested in John’s fate than in following Jesus at that moment, went on to grow in grace enough to lead the Church and become a saint. We draw consolation from Peter’s example as we hope to become saints one day ourselves.

2. What Concern Is It of Yours?: Our Lord rebuked Peter, reminding him (and us) to stay focused on the mission. “You, follow me,” Jesus said. Why did Peter ask, “What about him?” Was Peter envious of John? Concerned for John, that he might also face crucifixion? Overwhelmed by Jesus’s revelation and out of sorts? Regardless of his motive, Peter earned a reprimand. Considering the ugliness of sin, Our Lord’s reprimands can be exceedingly gentle. They can come in the form of a spouse’s well-intentioned criticism, a friends’ fraternal correction, a chiding by a spiritual guide with our best interests at heart, or an inspired confessor. Knowing, as we do, that these comments are grounded in the love of Christ, we humble ourselves, thank Our Lord for his wisdom, make the correction, and refocus on the mission.

3. Jesus Did so Many Things: John tells us that all the books in the world could not have contained Our Lord’s actions. That was true in his lifetime, but even more, true today, as Christ acts in a multitude of ways in everyone’s life every day, every hour. Among his most profound acts is the transubstantiation that happens at every Mass throughout the world around the clock. His presence through the sacraments sanctifies souls continually. And he acts among nonbelievers in the good they do and the love they share. Even in those spiritually dead, Jesus is entombed. “He remains in all those who are tempted: in those who are in mortal sin, he is in the tomb. We should never come to a sinner without the reverence we would take to the Holy Sepulchre.” – Caryll Houselander

Conversing with Christ: Lord, you seem to be reminding me to keep my eyes on you in these Gospel verses. I get frightened, overwhelmed, and easily distracted from my everyday mission— to love those you put in my path. Please let me know when I’ve stepped out of line. I want to do your will, but I’m weak. Come Holy Spirit!

Resolution: Lord, today, by our grace, I will do a thorough examination of conscience to see where I can reorient my thoughts and actions toward you.

  • St. Peter the Fisherman

May 27, 2020

Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

John 17:11-19

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one. When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”

Opening Prayer: Lord, I quiet my heart to reflect on your final words to your disciples. Help me to draw from this time of prayer a deeper understanding of your love for me, as your disciple.

Encountering Christ:

1. Lifting His Eyes to Heaven: For three consecutive days (yesterday, today, and tomorrow), the Gospel begins with, “Lifting up his eyes to heaven.” Jesus, who is also God, raised his eyes when he spoke to the Father. Jesus also raised his eyes as he prayed to the Father to raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11:41). Perhaps Jesus is calling our attention to the transcendence of God the Father, of his power and might, of his “otherworldliness.” God, the Father, is infinitely deserving of our praise and we raise our eyes most naturally when we are lifting our hearts to him in humble prayer.“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be always in my mouth. My soul will glory in the Lord” (Psalms 34:1-3).

2. Keep Them from the Evil One: In his farewell discourse, Our Lord petitioned the Father for many graces on behalf of his disciples, and all of these graces belong also to us, his modern disciples. In these particular lines, we hear that Jesus protected and guarded his disciples while they accompanied him on his Father’s mission. And, as he prepared to die, Jesus asked the Father to “keep them from the evil one.” We need the Father’s protection to resist temptation. He asked for it aloud, and Jesus encouraged us to ask for it regularly every time we say the Our Father. “God wants to set us free from evil” (CCC 2846).

3. Consecrate Them in the Truth: In this petition, Jesus asked the Father to consecrate his disciples in the truth. Since Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), the Lord was asking the Father to make us holy, to sanctify us, to bring us to union with him. “Is he not himself the living Word of God, to which every other word refers? Sanctify them in the truth—this means, then, in the deepest sense: make them one with me, Christ. Bind them to me. Draw them into me” (Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus, April 9, 2009). Our Lord asked for this grace while the disciples were still alive. We can count on these graces as well, today–now–in this time of prayer. Come Holy Spirit!

Conversing with Christ: It’s clear, Lord, that you desire my holiness. When I am holy, it pleases you, and it also impacts those closest to me. Despite the frequency with which I fall, I believe that you have given me all the grace I need to come to union with you, and my heart is full of gratitude.

Resolution: Lord, today, by your grace, I will prayerfully pray the “Our Father,” one line at a time.


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