SECOND WEEK OF LENT: THURSDAY
Repentance and Conversion of St. Peter
1st Prelude. Look at the Apostle St. Peter weeping over his sin.
2nd Prelude. Beg for the grace of true contrition.
POINT I. “And the Lord, turning, looked on Peter.”
CONSIDERATION. How inexpressibly great was the goodness of our Blessed Lord! He was in the midst of His sufferings; horrible insults and blasphemies were being poured upon Him; but He forgot Himself, and thought only of His faithless disciple. That grievous fall of St. Peter’s had wounded Him more than all His other injuries. “The Lord turned,” says the Gospel, “and looked upon Peter.” It was a glance of mingled reproach and mercy, which instantly wrought his conversion.
APPLICATION. And day by day this same goodness of our Lord is manifested towards numbers of poor sinners. He prevents them by His grace. He looks mercifully on them, dealing with them as He did with the penitent King David when he cried out “Look Thou upon me, and have mercy on me.” Terror had so completely taken possession of St. Peter in the hall of Caiphas that it had blinded him to the extent of his sin. Our Lord came to his assistance, and opened his eyes; and from that day forward his gratitude to his loving Saviour was fervent and continual. If we think over our past sins, we shall recollect how often grace has prevented us, and roused us from the sleep of death. Deep, then, ought to be our gratitude.
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT II. “Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said to him: Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt thrice deny Me.”
CONSIDERATION. Sudden and wonderful was the change which one look from Jesus wrought in the heart of the faithless disciple. In an instant the darkness which encompassed his soul disappeared; he saw clearly the greatness of his sin; he remembered all his Master’s forewarnings at the Last Supper and in the Garden of Olives. And his heart was filled, not with despair, but with the deepest contrition. He was transformed into the model of a true penitent.
APPLICATION. Wonderful, indeed, is the work of grace! Silently it penetrates into the soul, enlightening and strengthening it, showing it the instability of creatures, the guilt and horror of sin, filling it with a deep and salutary contrition. It makes the sinner shed tears of mingled grief, love, and joy; it purifies the soul from all unruly affections; disengages it from the world, and draws it upwards to God.
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT III. “And going forth, he wept bitterly.”
CONSIDERATION. The fall of St. Peter had been a grievous and a public one, and his repentance was generous and fervent. Without a moment’s delay, he fled from the place and the company which had occasioned his fall; and when alone he began to shed those bitter tears which may be said never to have ceased till his death. He mourned over the humiliation of his fall, the thought of his ingratitude, the grief and pain he had given to his Divine Master at the very moment when He was manifesting His love for him. Not only did our Blessed Lord pardon His penitent disciple, but He gave him back all the privileges which had been granted to him before his fall.
APPLICATION. If we, like the Apostle, have been unfaithful, let us also imitate him in his repentance. The remembrance of our past ingratitude, and of God’s goodness to us, should inspire us with deeper humility, more steadfast trust, and an unbounded generosity in works of charity; and thus, with the help of God’s grace, we shall be enabled to bring good out of evil.
COLLOQUY with our good Lord.