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  • Sarah Raad

Testing

“Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’” (John 21:15).

Feed my Sheep (Raphael)

The day that I received the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the very first time, was just another ordinary school day for me…


I was just barely seven years old, and I had been learning about confession and sin and reconciliation for a few weeks at school in my year 2 classroom – being taught these miraculous extraordinary things by my year 2 class teacher. You see, back in my day, we were able to receive the Sacraments through our school rather than our local parish, and it was for this reason that such a stupendous wonderous opportunity presented itself to me while I was a little girl wearing a school uniform, with only a handful of sins up my sleeve…


As part of our preparation, we children were given a script of what to say once inside the confessional. After all, we were very little children, and it is very nerve-wracking to actually confess our darkest sins to the Priest in the Confessional… And part of that script was that after making the sign of the cross and asking to confess our sins, we were to recite a small prayer in the form of Sacred Scripture. And that little prayer was… “Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’” (John 21:15).


I was thinking about this beautiful little line from Scripture as I was praying the other day, and I looked up the rest of the passage…

“Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time He said to him, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You.’” (John 21:15-19).

And I have been reflecting on the grief of Saint Peter as he told his Beloved that he loved Him three times that day because it reminds me of my grief when I feel that my Beloved is testing me. After all, what was that conversation between the Son of Man and the Rock upon which He built His Church was really all about – TESTING. And for me – reading that passage of the Gospel in context – that testing makes perfect sense… You see, First Saint Simon Peter DENIED Christ THREE times on Good Friday and then later, He was asked to AFFIRM Christ THREE times after the Resurrection…


And when you look at it like that it is no wonder that my Beloved comes to test me too – to ask me to PROVE my love for Him… Because that is truly such a wonder… To be provided with the opportunity to AFFIRM my love for my Beloved AS OFTEN as I have denied Him…


And how could I ever repay the Mercy of a God who allows that?


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

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