Thursday, April 29, 2010

St Peter Martyr

A great saint, this, whose feast falls this day: St Peter of Verona, Dominican preacher extraordinaire against heretical depravity and martyr, stedfastly adhering to our Most Holy Faith despite being born of Manichee parents, and being at length done to death by a hireling of the enemies of Catholic truth – but he had the victory as a second St Stephen, for his murder repented, himself joined the Dominicans and had a happy death.  Blessed are they who die in the Lord!

St Peter is an Easter saint: preaching the true resurrection of Christ, Who was just as surely true God and true Man, he had the Paschal Sequence Victimæ Paschali laudes immolent Christiani ("Christians, to the Paschal Victim offer sacrifice and praise") on his lips as he walked toward Milan the day of his martyrdom: thus he merited to follow in His Lord's footsteps, and to offer his body a holocaust in honour of the Paschal Victory of Christ, the King of Martyrs.

Such was the popular acclaim that St Peter was canonized at Milan by the Pope only a year after his death; his skull, cruelly chopped by a billhook, is still exhibited as a holy relic there.  As he lay dying, his last act was to write Credo in Deum with his own cerebral blood: surely an apt death for a true Preacher.  Now, with the Lamb once slain, he lives for ever.  Alleluia!

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