God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

Encouragement For All Striving For Holiness

Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Oil on canvas by El Greco.  circa 16th-century. Hermitage Museum, Russia, Via Wikipedia

Saint Peter and Saint Paul.Oil on canvas by El Greco.
circa 16th-century. Hermitage Museum, Russia,Via Wikipedia

The most heart-touching Mass I ever attended took place on the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul on June 29,  1959 in Rome, Italy.  St. Peter’s Basilica, filled to overflowing, set the scene for the Mass, celebrated by Pope John XXIII.  My special ticket placed me next to the altar, as this much loved Pope offered the Holy Sacrifice with solemnity and reverence.

In our efforts to be holy, we can gain much encouragement from the lives of these two great Saints of the early Church.  First of all, Peter, after being in close friendship with Christ for three years, out of cowardice, denied the Lord publicly three times.  All this, on the day His Master received the sentence of death by crucifixion.

After Jesus ascended into Heaven, Peter preached Christ Crucified for many years to the Jews.  For a time, while Peter lived in Rome, the Roman persecution of Christians broke out.  Fearful for his life, Peter rushed out of Rome on the Appian Way.

As the story goes, Jesus met him on the Road and said to him, “Quo Vadis?” – “Where are you going?”  In shame, Peter went back to Rome and was crucified upside down for preaching the “Good News” of Christ.

Then comes the story of Paul, first known as Saul.  Saul persecuted the early Christians with a vengeance.  At the stoning of St. Stephen, the first martyr, Saul held the cloaks of those throwing the stones, thereby being an accomplice to the murder.

On Saul’s journey to Damascus, the Lord knocked him off his horse.  A voice came from Heaven, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”  Saul, now Paul, became a zealous follower of Jesus of Nazareth and suffered in many ways for preaching about the Messiah.

What can we learn from the lives of these two men?  Peter and Paul did not allow their failures to keep them from holiness of life.  We sometimes think that our mishaps in the past will stop us from a close relationship with Christ.  Leave them in the Gracious Hands of God and reach out for new heights of goodness.


Fr. George Mc Kenna

July 4, 2015 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Hi Fr. George (catching up on your posts, sorry for the delay!)… I really love this story – the rich history – I knew about Peter but I didn’t know about Paul, getting knocked off of his horse! When I was a little girl, our parish church was Sts. Peter and Paul – where I made my First Confession and First Holy Communion.

    And as you so wisely point out, even these great men had their doubts and lapses in Faith – and yet they are the cornerstone of the church (You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church…) and so, yes, if they can show their fears and human weaknesses and still profess their faith to Jesus, then by all means, so can we. And for me, that was a huge part of returning to church – that feeling that I was welcomed back. I bet for many who think about returning to church, they put on the guilt and shame and in that way, it obstructs their return. But, as one who was away for nearly TWENTY years, I say, don’t let that stop you! You will be SO happy to return, especially to the Eucharist! It is SO meaningful to go and receive Communion each week. What an uplifting experience…. Thank you for guiding my return, Fr. George! What a gift you are to me! I love you, dear friend!


    Comment by Nancy Kolember Westvang | July 26, 2015 | Reply

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