Thursday, June 29, 2006

Sts. Peter and Paul

The Feast of Rome as Whispers puts it. I was in Rome for this feast in 2003, and attended the Solemn Vespers, held in the Basilica. A truly memorable occasion. It was one of the times that I saw Pope John Paul II, and the first time I saw then Cardinal Ratzinger. I'd gotten there early, and several prelates walked up the central aisle, without eliciting much from the assembled crowd. Except Ratzinger. A rustle as he walked up, smiling. "Guardi Ratzinger!" several people next to me exclaimed. I truly regret that in a fit of piety I decied not to take my camera with me. No one else, apparently, was that pious. The other memory is that of the famous statue of St. Peter by Arnolfo di Cambio, decked out in red for the Feast. It looked spectacular.

I missed the Mass the next day, out in the Piazza. It turned out to be an extra-hot day in Rome, and I ended up at an extended lunch (in an air-conditioned place!) with a friend, and gave the Mass a pass.

From today's Office of Readings, from St. Augustine:
The blessed Peter, the first of the Apostles, the ardent lover of Christ, who was found worthy to hear, And I say to you, that you are Peter. He himself, you see, had just said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Christ said to him, And I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church. Upon this rock I will build the faith you have just confessed. Upon your words, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, I will build my Church; because you are Peter. Peter comes from petra, meaning a rock. Peter, “Rocky”, from “rock”; not “rock” from “Rocky”. Peter comes from the word for a rock in exactly the same way as the name Christian comes from Christ.
Before his passion the Lord Jesus, as you know, chose those disciples of his whom he called apostles. Among these it was only Peter who almost everywhere was given the privilege of representing the whole Church. It was in the person of the whole Church, which he alone represented, that he was privileged to hear, To you will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. After all, it is not just one man that received these keys, but the Church in its unity. So this is the reason for Peter’s acknowledged pre-eminence, that he stood for the Church’s universality and unity, when he was told, To you I am entrusting, what has in fact been entrusted to all. To show you that it is the Church which has received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, listen to what the Lord says in another place to all his apostles: Receive the Holy Spirit; and immediately afterwards, Whose sins you forgive, they will be forgiven them; whose sins you retain, they will be retained.
[Also check out the reflections from New Advent on the main page at Universalis.]


Anonymous said...

Heyas... don't ya know in France they celebrate a patron saints day just like your b-day? So where is my present? ~ Peter

Gashwin said...

Except your name isn't Peter-Paul, it's Peter ... heh. :)

I'll think of something suitable to give you on my return. A swift kick or something of that nature