• 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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  • St. Peter the Fisherman

May 26, 2020

Memorial of St. Peter Neri, Priest

John 17:1-11

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him. Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began. I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them. And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”

Opening Prayer: Lord, allow me to participate spiritually in the Last Supper as you speak these intimate words to your closest disciples.

Encountering Christ:

1. The Hour Has Come: The Last Supper meal had ended. Judas had left, and the eleven, still gathered around the table with Jesus, watched him “raise his eyes to heaven” and prayed, “Father, the hour has come.” The moment of his passion had arrived: the moment foreshadowed by the prophet Isaiah; anticipated by Simeon when Joseph and Mary presented Jesus in the temple; spoken of by Jesus when Mary invited him to work a miracle at Cana; perhaps imagined by Jesus every time he saw a soul in need of redemption. The penultimate moment of salvation history was at hand. Knowing every detail of the suffering he was to endure, Jesus called out, “Father...give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you...” By these first words of his priestly prayer, Jesus set an example for us. Facing our difficult circumstances, we imitate Jesus when the first words on our lips are, “Father, may I glorify you.”

2. Those You Gave Me: What did Jesus name as the qualities of those who belonged to the Father? They knew and accepted Jesus’s word. They believed the Father sent Jesus. They were “in the world” but not of the world. Are we among those elect? How well do we know and accept the word of Jesus? Do we believe in the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Are we other-worldly–living with an eye on eternity–or more often bogged down by cares and concerns of day-to-day life and forgetful of God? Let’s ask for an increase in faith so that we may comprehend more deeply our “belonging” to the Father.

3. I Pray for Them: In the last few moments before Jesus’s passion began, his thoughts were with us. St. John captured for us in these sacred last words of Christ a prayer of petition to the Father for you and for me. He carried each of us in his heart at that moment and through the next painful hours as he was tortured, scourged, crowned, and crucified. We honor Our Lord and love him in return when we meditate on his Passion in the Scriptures or by saying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary with reverence and gratitude.

Conversing with Christ: Lord, in the hours before your passion, your actions and words teach me volumes about what’s truly important in life. You gathered your closest friends around you. You prayed aloud without reserve. You asked your Father to glorify you in your mission. And you asked the Father’s blessing on each one of us. May I do the same.

Resolution: Lord, today, by your grace, I will pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary for souls on their deathbed.

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  • St. Peter the Fisherman

May 25, 2020

Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter

John 16:29-33

The disciples said to Jesus, “Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech. Now we realize that you know everything and that you do not need to have anyone question you. Because of this we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now? Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone. But I am not alone, because the Father is with me. I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, our understanding is sometimes so muddled, and when life assails us, we can be confused. I turn to you now, because you know my deep needs, and I ask that you fill me with your courage and peace.

Encountering Christ:

1. “Now You Are Talking Plainly”: It must have been challenging to be a disciple. Jesus was unlike anyone the people had ever met. He turned their world and their thinking upside down and inside out. His message was extraordinary but, quite often, his listeners were confused by the things that he said and did. Some even left him because his teaching was “too much.” When we feel like we need more than anything to hear Jesus talk plainly, how well do we listen? Our Lord will sometimes speak while we reflect on Scripture, sometimes when we’re in prayer, and other times through the ordinary circumstances of our lives. St. Therese of Lisieux says, “I know and have experienced that ‘the Kingdom of God is within us,’ that our Master has no need of books or teacher to instruct a soul. The Teacher of teachers instructs without sound of words, and though I have never heard him speak, yet I know he is within me, always guiding and inspiring me; and just when I need them, lights, hitherto unseen, break in upon me. As a rule, it is not during prayer that this happens, but in the midst of my daily duties.”

2. “You Will Leave Me Alone”: Jesus prophesied that his disciples would abandon him, and they did. We also abandon Jesus from time to time. One minute we are invigorated by deep spiritual consolations, and the next, we feel depleted and too quickly leave Jesus alone. And when we feel alone, we stumble and fall. In those moments, Jesus shows us what to do. “I am not alone,” Jesus said, “because the Father is with me.” We are to remember that we are always children of God. We can flee from God, but he never abandons us. Our loving Lord is patient with us and calls us to repent and return to his presence. “The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard ‘delay,’ but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

3. Take Courage: “In the world you will have trouble.” Jesus knows that all of us face seemingly insurmountable circumstances at times during our life. His recommendation? Take courage. As Christians, we draw courage from the sure knowledge that Jesus conquered “the world”—sin and death. We fix our eyes on eternity and live in the present moment with Jesus–whether we are suffering or joyful–and his peace pervades our soul.

Conversing with Christ: My Lord, talk plainly to me. Help me to see when my actions please you and when they don’t. Please send me your peace, give me the consolation of your presence, and strengthen me to persevere when I run into trouble.

Resolution: Lord, today, by your grace, I will spend a few minutes praising God the Father and reflecting on my eternal destiny, heaven.

For Further Reflection: I will consider my own sonship, and ponder this entry from CCC 2781: “When we pray to the Father, we are in communion with him and with his Son, Jesus Christ. Then we know and recognize him with an ever new sense of wonder. The first phrase of the Our Father is a blessing of adoration before it is a supplication. For it is the glory of God that we should recognize him as ‘Father,’ the true God. We give him thanks for having revealed his name to us, for the gift of believing in it, and for the indwelling of his Presence in us.”

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