Thursday, June 29, 2006

Saints Peter & Paul & Prayer

In today's First Reading on this Solemnity (Acts 12:1-11), hear that "Peter was kept in prison; but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church."

Remember that this was just after James, the brother of John, was stabbed to death by Herod.

I think about stuff like this — our first Pope thrown in jail, one of our first bishops murdered — when I hear people bemoan (and I'm not excluding myself, here!) "the state of the Church today." And, too, I realize why we pray for our Holy Father and bishops at every Mass.

Saint John Chrysostom observes:

Notice the feelings of the faithful towards their pastors. They do not riot or rebel; they have recourse to prayer, which can solve all problems. They do not say to themselves: we do not count, there is no point in our praying for him. Their love led them to pray and they did not think along those lines. Have you noticed what these persecutors did without intending to? They made (their victims) more determined to stand the test, and (the faithful) more zealous and loving. ("Homily on Acts," 26)

Let's remember our Holy Father and our bishops, not just today, not just at Mass, but everyday and in our own private prayers.

And will you say a special prayer for Boston's Archbishop, Sean Cardinal O'Malley? Today's his birthday.