O God, you make your church glorious through the wonderful learning of the blessed Thomas, your confessor and doctor, and render it fruitful by his hold deeds; grant us, we beseech you, both to understand what he taught and to imitate what he did.
So I’m one day late on this, but I figured it was more appropriate to post this on the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.
Yesterday was the 65th Anniversary of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s Ordination to the Priesthood. Ad Multos Annos!
“Tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversus eam. Et tibi dabo claves regni caelorum.” ~Matthew 16:18-19
“Thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.”
“Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven, exult, let Angel ministers of God exult, let the trumpet of salvation sound aloud our mighty King’s triumph!” ~From the Exsultet, or Easter Proclamation
Dear friends, we have made it.
The 40 days lost in the desert are over.
On Palm Sunday we processed with Christ, palms in our hands, into Jerusalem.
On Spy Wednesday we saw Christ anointed by a woman from Bethany, reminding us that all we must do must be done in accordance to Him. We also saw Judas prepare his imminent betrayal.
On Holy Thursday, we saw Christ’s institution of the Mass. We saw bread and wine become fully body, blood, soul, and divinity of God the Son. We saw the institution of the priesthood, men called to be priests forever, in the line of Melchizedek. We were then mandated by Christ to do for others what he has done for us. Little did we know the depth of what that actually meant.
On Good Friday, we shouted “Crucify Him!” We were not ready for what Christ had in store for us. We crucified Him because we believed it was impossible to love in the same way He loved. We denied Him and abandoned Him because the world wallowed in its sin. We found it easier to deny and abandon Him. We found it easier to sin than to love.
On Holy Saturday, we waited. We wondered where we were going. We were lost.
And on the Easter Vigil, we witnessed the miracle we most definitely did not deserve. We saw Christ triumph over death and sin. We saw the tomb empty, stone rolled away.
Why did He do it? Why did he defeat death and show himself to us who denied Him, abandoned Him, crucified Him?
“O happy fault, that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer!”
Christ defeated death so that we may have hope to defeat death.
Christ took on sin because we could not hope to atone for our sins by ourselves.
Christ died so that we may live for others.
We did not deserve this, and yet we are here as witnesses to the King’s triumph.
It is time to roll away our own stones of sin so that we may join in the beatific vision of the many countless Saints who have lived for others and for God.
It is time to recommit ourselves to Christ’s mandate.
It is time to show ourselves and others that we are made in the image and likeness of God, and thus deserving of the divine love Christ showed us.
And when we do so, may we sing our praises together with the angels.
Collect: Almighty ever-living God, who as an example of humility for the human race to follow caused our Savior to take flesh and submit to the Cross, graciously grant that we may heed his lesson of patient suffering and so merit a share in his Resurrection.
Sorry dear readers; I was out of the country last week and could not post about last week’s Mass.
But anyway, Palm Sunday is here.
Holy Week, the week of weeks. We have walked with Christ to Jerusalem.
Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel!
Let us set aside some time to follow our King, not just to Jerusalem, but to the Glory of His Resurrection.
We are almost there.
Collect: Grant, we pray, almighty God, that no tempests may disturb us, for you have set us fast on the rock of the Apostle Peter’s confession of faith.
“Et ego dico tibi quia tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversum eam”
“And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” ~Matthew 16:18
Today, we celebrate the Feast of The Chair of St. Peter. The above Bible verse is my most favorite verse because it shows how blessed it is to be a part of the Catholic Church.
This Church, founded by Jesus Christ himself and safeguarded by the line of St. Peter for over 2000 years!
But, why Rome? Of all cities, why do we look towards Rome?
The Church is taught through Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium, which is the authority the Church has to interpret Tradition and Scripture.
Of course, we can say that Rome is where the line of St. Peter descends, but that is not all.
In the Acts of the Apostles, St. Paul says “For this is what the Lord has commanded us:’I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'”~Acts of the Apostles 13:47
Where are the ends of the earth? Sacred Tradition and Scripture tells us St. Paul ministered in Rome. Tradition tells us that Sts. Peter and Paul both ordained presbyters, and depending on your source, Pope St. Linus was ordained Bishop of Rome by St. Paul, and Pope St. Clement I was ordained by St. Peter. This means that the Apostolic Succession of the Popes of Rome trace themselves to both Sts. Peter and Paul.
Thus, we look to Rome because that is where St. Peter was martyred. St. Peter being the Rock of the Church, laid his life, and therefore the cornerstone of the Church in Rome. We look to Rome because St. Paul was commanded to bring salvation to the ends of the earth. He laid down his life and was martyred in Rome, and so therefore the ministry to salvation flows from Rome. The heirs of that ministry are fully embodied in the unbroken line of Bishops of Rome.
We look to the Pope to safeguard the Truth with confidence because the Gates of Hell shall never prevail against the Church.
We look to the Pope because Christ told us to look to him, for whatever he loosens on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven, and whatever he binds on Earth shall be bound in Heaven.
For over 2000 years, the Popes, even the worst ones, have done this. The Truth has been proclaimed and will continue to be proclaimed until Christ returns.
It is by faith in Christ that we can look to the Pope in confidence.