Spiritual Life

Pray to St. Peter to obtain the gift of zeal for the Lord

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading.”

These words from the First Letter of St. Peter to the Universal Church are powerful to say the least. Do these words sound like someone who was timid and afraid to admit that he knew Jesus of Nazareth? Do they sound like the musings of someone who abandoned his best friend at the time of his greatest need?

No, they certainly do not. They sound like the words of a man who is certain of who Jesus is and unwavering in his conviction. The man who wrote these words experienced something powerful from the time the Passion began to the time these words were written. This man journeyed from fearful to fearless in a very short period of time. Something other than himself brought him to this place of abundant confidence in God’s love.

St. Peter and his fellow apostles witnessed the trial and execution of Jesus from a distance, save for St. John. St. Peter’s soul and the souls of the other nine had journeyed to a place of fear and isolation during the ordeal that wounded their hearts and bound them in a cocoon of guilt and self-loathing. They were ashamed of themselves and afraid to go back out into the world and face their fears.

Jesus broke into their den of self-imprisonment and breathed on them, bringing them comfort and consolation much like a mother who breathes on the skinned knee of her child to let the child know that she understands the pain and wants to take it away. Jesus’ breath of the Holy Spirit and his extension of peace become the iodine that accelerates the healing of their bruised hearts. They were forever changed by this inpouring of God’s love into their lives, and the obstacles of fear and self-doubt were eradicated. The world outside was no longer a threat to be feared.

The faith of the apostles began to evolve when they encountered the risen Christ and received his Spirit at Pentecost. This gift enabled St. Peter to write the words he wrote and to live the life he lived. They can do the same for us if we just ask for the gift. Ask St. Peter to intercede for you to obtain his gift of zeal for the Lord. Have a blessed Divine Mercy Sunday.

Father Walter Nolte is pastor of St. Patrick Parish and president of Archbishop Bergan Catholic Schools in Fremont.

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