Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Peter and Judas

Of set purpose St Peter and Judas the traitor are contrasted: for if the second betrayed Him, the first denied Him, and only in their subsequent reactions lies the key to their far-differing fates: St Peter wept for his sins, repented in hope, and was forgiven; Judas revolted at his crime, but his sorrowful despair led to suicide and eternal death.  St Philip Neri had a curious but significant aspiration, "Trust me not, Lord, for this day I will betray Thee" - meaning that we all sin, the just man seven times a day, and in the words of the Apostle, let him who stands take heed lest he fall, pride coming afore it, and a haughty spirit before destruction: rather in lowliness let us grieve our unhappy state, trusting not in ourselves but in the Redeemer Who pardons every crime if once we turn back to Him with the intent not to sin again.  Better to fall and get up a thousand times, each time trusting in the newness of the Lord's mercies, relying upon His strength when we fear to fail, than utterly to despair and turn away from God, suffering the unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost that is final impenitence, whose secret root is pride in folly, and refusal to believe in divine Omnipotence.  The tragedy of Judas is that he believed far too much of himself, and far too little of the Lord; whereas St Peter threw himself upon the mercy of Christ, and blossomed in grace evermore.

These thoughts are with me; their seed was planted earlier, but seem fitting for this Spy Wednesday (as the Irish call it), when Judas betrayed Our Innocent Saviour.  In preparation for the Triduum, I went to confession again, confessing the same old sins - but remembering the words retold me by a priest who had said to his confessor that he was grieved to always come back with the same troubles, and was reminded that at least he hadn't any new sins to include in the list!  My confessor (a kindly retired priest) simply had me trust in the Lord, Whom we fete this week as our Redeemer, and to pray for Him to come, that we might be Christ to others, and encourage others to do likewise.

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