Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul (formerly considered a day to honor all twelve apostles). We honor Saint Peter, the first Pope, and Apostle to Jesus, as well as Saint Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles. (This post originally posted on June 29, 2016, but given that today is their solemnity, I thought it #worthrevisiting).
It was to Saint Peter that Jesus declared that whatever Peter and the Apostles determined to be bound on earth would be bound in Heaven, and whatever is loosed on earth would be loose in Heaven (Matt 16:19); and with that Jesus bestowed upon Peter, as the first Pope, the keys to Heaven. Peter came from humble beginnings and grew to become a fisherman, until that day when he met Jesus, and after that became a “fisher of men.” With a simple style of humble means, Peter grew in courage and perseverance, wisdom and understanding to become the first leader of the Church as Christ’s successor, and to this day, through apostolic succession, the line of leadership as Peter’s successor remains unbroken.
It was to Saint Paul that Jesus paid a visit, after His Ascension to Heaven, where he asked then named Saul, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me” (Acts 9:4)? Saul had been persecuting followers of Christ and creating waves of fear amongst Christ’s followers. This vision brought about Saul’s conversion, and with that he changed his name to Paul. Paul excelled at the virtues of discernment, knowledge, wisdom, understanding and faith. Through his personal witness to the powers of Christ, he brought about many conversions to Christianity.
Exemplars of Virtue
Both of these gentlemen serve as exemplars of virtue to us as we travel on our journey in faith. They were both sinful men who turned toward Christ, and by doing so turned away from sin. By their example, they tell us that we, too, can do the same thing. By doing so, we can live holier, and happier lives in the embrace of Christ.
Painting by El Greco
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