The Two Pillars

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 2.39.20 PMIt’s the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul! Today is one of our most favorite feast days of the entire liturgical year.  What hope it gives us to meditate on these two men – one a betrayer, the other a murderer – who became such loyal friends of Our Lord that we call them the two Pillars of the Church.  They witnessed to Christ, even to the shedding of their blood.  How differently one looks at martyrdom in today cultural climate.  It’s no longer a romantic idea from the distant past.  We see it on the news weekly, if not daily, as Christians in the Middle East are brutally slaughtered for confessing Christ.  And as the hostility toward Christianity escalates in our own nation, we should consider that white martyrdom may not be the only kind of martyrdom to which we are called.  May we be strengthened by the example and intercession of Saints Peter and Paul, who loved Jesus unto death.

Petitions to St. Peter and St. Paul

O holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, I choose you this day and forever to be my special patrons and advocates; thee, Saint Peter, Prince of the Apostles, because thou art the Rock, upon which Almighty God hath built His Church; thee, Saint Paul, because thou wast fore-chosen by God as the Vessel of election and the Preacher of truth in the whole world. Obtain for me, I pray you, lively faith, firm hope, and burning love; complete detachment from myself, contempt of the world, patience in adversity, humility in prosperity, attention in prayer, purity of heart, a right intention in all my works, diligence in fulfilling the duties of my state of life, constancy in my resolutions, resignation to the will of God and perseverance in the grace of God even unto death; that so, by means of your intercession and your glorious merits, I may be able to overcome the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil, and may be made worthy to appear before the chief and eternal Shepherd of souls, Jesus Christ, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth for endless ages, to enjoy His presence and love Him forever. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

V. Thou shalt make them princes over all the earth.
R. They shall be mindful of Thy name, O Lord.

Let us pray:

O God, Whose right hand raised up blessed Peter, when he walked upon the water and began to sink, and thrice delivered his fellow-Apostle Paul from the depths of the sea, when he suffered shipwreck: graciously hear us and grant, by the merits of them both, that we also may attain unto everlasting glory: Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen

(An Indulgence of 500 days.)

We found the above prayer here, and there are more beautiful prayers and information to be found there about today’s feast.

Connecting Bethlehem to Calvary

The martyrdom of St Stephen & the Conversion of St PaulToday, on the Feast of St. Stephen, Pope Francis spoke briefly to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square before the praying the Angelus with them.

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning

You are not afraid of the rain, you are good!

The liturgy prolongs the Solemnity of Christmas for 8 days: a joyous time for all the people of God! And in this second day of the octave, in the joy of Christmas is inserted the feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr of the Church. The book of the Acts of the Apostles presents him as a “man full of faith and the Holy Spirit” (6,5), chosen with six others to serve the widows and the poor in the first community of Jerusalem. It also recounts his martyrdom: when, after a fiery speech that enraged the members of the Sanhedrin, he was dragged Continue reading