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  • Sarah Raad

Keys

The power of the Holy Spirit to transform is truly an awesome thing…

Saint Peter Preaching in Jerusalem (Charles Poërson)

Over the last few weeks, I have been dealing with a little personal issue, which has troubled me very much. Though I have tried to follow the advice of Saint Padre Pio, who told us to “pray, hope and don’t worry.” I have found myself invariably bogged down with worry about this issue.


Thank God, the problem is nothing major, but even minor problems can overwhelm a weak soul such as mine.


Thank God today is the Feast of Pentecost – the day that we celebrate the breathing of the Holy Spirit into the Apostles, and by extension into the Church itself.


I was reading a beautiful online reflection today, written by a priest who I do not know, and in it, he brought something very interesting to my attention.


Saint Peter…


Saint Peter came to my attention today.

If we read the First Reading from today’s Mass (Acts 2:1-11), we can see that Saint Peter was preaching to a crowd of thousands… Literal thousands.

This is Saint Peter! This is the same guy who was running away from one servant girl only a few short days earlier. This is the same guy who was denying Christ three times before the cock crew. This is the same guy that was sitting in an upper room on Easter Saturday, in hiding and in great public silence with his brother apostles, thinking that everything was over and Christ was dead...


Never forget, that when we read or hear the stories of Scripture, we receive them knowing what the ending will be. But the apostles LIVED them – not really knowing how things would end…


For the apostles, Scripture presented in the same way that our lives roll out before us. They experienced hardships and problems and apparently insurmountable, and frightening obstacles. What we see as Scripture, they saw as LIFE – their life…


When those apostles were sitting there in that upper room – when Saint Peter was sitting there – surely, they were wondering what would come next. After all, many of them were probably married, and had left wives and children at home to follow Christ for the three years of His public ministry. Surely, they were worried not only for themselves, but also for their wives and children. Surely, they were worried about their in-laws and their families of origin – their parents and their siblings and their wives – having been so publicly associated with Christ during His public ministry.


I wonder too, did they think that the last three years of their lives – years that were surely difficult and challenging, living as nomads on the road, without home, money, work, career or planned future – were a waste of their time?


I wonder, did Saint Peter think he had made a terrible terrible mistake in following Christ? I mean, he witnessed such wonderful miracles, and he obviously loved Christ with all his heart and soul – he would have had to, being so close to Him… After all, surely that is one reason why Judas Iscariot despaired – in a moment of weakness and greed and temptation, he had betrayed someone who he loved very much…


I wonder what Saint Peter thought, sitting in that upper room? How he doubted himself… How he worried himself… Surely he would have re-thought every miracle and imagined that each one of them was somehow a figment of his imagination with a perfectly good logical explanation. I wonder if he thought ti himself, “Perhaps the leper was not actually a leper. Perhaps it only appeared that way. Perhaps he had some other problem.” Or, “Those fish that day, were they really as many as I recall. Maybe my mind is playing tricks on me and I am imagining the whole thing…”

For, there at the end, the Man who he loved with all his heart and soul and mind – did not even save CHOSE Himself. Perhaps in Saint Peter’s mind, it appeared that Christ COULD not even save Himself…

And so that is why the first reading today in Mass is so significant… Because it is in that First Reading today that we see the actual TRANSFORMATION of Saint Peter…


A man riddled with doubt, a man denying his God, a man afraid of a servant girl – TRANSFORMED through the power of the Holy Spirit.


And through that transformation, he is a man preaching to thousands in a PUBLIC space, and answering to the Chief Priests and the Pharisees without fear…


Through that transformation, he carries the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.


Through that transformation, he carries the KEYS…


Come Holy Spirit, please condescend to transform me too…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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