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St. Peter, an Incredible Story of Redemption

“I have the best idea ever!”  I cheer to myself as I dream my next adventure into fruition. 

Sometimes these ideas are a smashing success, and other times they are a very expensive or painful lesson learned.


A lightbulb and hand signifying a great idea
An Amazing Idea Taking Shape

I approach most things in my life with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm.  I can be absolutely gung-ho about something, making me the biggest cheerleader and salesman one minute and do a complete 180 the next. 


This has frustrated and even hurt many people with my sporadic gusto over the years, but no one more than myself.


This chaotic trait got passed down to my second-born son.  It makes him the life of every party, but has left a wake of tools, supplies, and jerseys as a reminder of all of the projects that he has undertaken and abandoned over the years.


His namesake happens to be one of my favorite saints who shares our cross of impulsivity- Peter.


St. Peter holding the keys to the Catholic Church
St. Peter

Peter is awesome.  In Matthew 14:25-33 he challenges Jesus by saying, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”  Who in their right mind would even think of requesting something so bold?  Jesus told him to come, so Peter actually had the guts to get out of the boat!!  He quickly realizes how crazy this is and becomes afraid and doubts, causing him to sink.


 In John 13:8 he tells Jesus, “You will never wash my feet!”  But then Jesus tells him that if he didn’t, he would have no inheritance with him, so Peter, with dramatic flair, tells him to wash his hands and head as well!  I love his enthusiasm here.


Let’s keep going.  Peter gets frustrated when Jesus tells him at the Last Supper that he can’t follow Him.  Peter informs Jesus that he would lay down his life for Him.  To which Jesus responds with his famous prophecy- “You will lay your life down for me?  Amen, Amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times.” John 13-36-38.


In John 18, Peter does indeed chicken out while warming himself by the fire.  But can you really blame the guy?  He doesn’t have the power of the Holy Spirit yet, and that lady was sassy.  She would likely have turned him over to the authorities which could lead to his death.


But do you see why I love this incredible saint?  He ranks fairly low on the steadfastness scale, but he is off the charts when it comes to enthusiasm!  Draw a sword and lob off a guy's ear in John 18:10?  Would you expect anything less from him?


BUT!  This is the best part of his story.  In John 21:15-19, he is asked three times, and three times he affirms his love for Jesus.  One for every time he denied Our Lord during His passion.


Isn’t that amazing?  


I think this is why I am so drawn to St. Peter.  The entire Catholic Church was entrusted to his authority. This- a man who doubted (Matthew 14:25-33), who several times in scriptures tried telling Jesus that he was doing things wrong (John 13:8 and Matthew 16:22-23), who chopped off a guy’s ear (John 18:10), who denies even knowing Jesus (John 18), and given what we know about him, acted impulsively many more times that aren’t recorded in scripture, is the man that was the first Vicar of Christ on earth.


What a story of redemption!  If that doesn’t give you hope, I don’t know what can.  He messed up and was forgiven, and was even used in a BIG way for the Kingdom of God.

Peter’s shining quality is his “all-in” attitude.  When he was given the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, it emboldened him and gave him the wisdom and courage to lead the church.  He was passionate and on fire for Our Lord.  His weaknesses became his strengths because he was changed.


The Holy Spirit that awakened the lion in St. Peter, is the same one that is imparted to us in baptism and is rekindled in confirmation. 


White Dove symbolizing Holy Spirit stained glass window
Come Holy Spirit!

The story of Peter affirming his love for Jesus is one of my favorite stories in the Gospels.  I think of the many times in my life when I had a knee-jerk reaction that was sinful, like letting something sarcastic slip out before I realized what I said, or a frustrated response to a child who was looking to me for help navigating their emotions, or spilling fresh gossip before I even realized the words passed my lips.  How many times have I acted before I thought about the possible sinful consequences?


I know I can come back to Jesus again and again and He will offer me forgiveness.  What is even more incredible to me is that He doesn’t just offer forgiveness, but through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, He offers a vital role to play in the Kingdom of God.


Be like Peter.  Be passionate and rise to fill the role that only you can play in the kingdom of God.


Until next time, your sister in Christ,

 

Leah

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