Good Saint Peter,

Of the twelve apostles, Jesus saw in you, Peter, the power of persuasion, the guardian of the Gospel, and the the quality
of superior leadership.

He made you His vicar on earth,
His executive, His successor, the rock,
the leader, the foundation stone on which
His church was to be built:

"You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church," he declared.

You, Petrus, Rock, are the foundation stone upon which our faith rests.

You were our first Pope, our first leader,
our first teacher.

Jesus entrusted to you the keys
to the kingdom of heaven.

But being human and imperfect, you lost
your courage on the terrible night when Jesus was taken into captivity, and it seemed that your world would come to an end.

And so, on that the dark night, you denied Jesus three times while He was being mocked, and about to be scourged.

At the very end of your discipleship
with Him, and the beginning of a new era,
you swore that you did not "know the man."

Your heart was surely rent with sorrow when you realized later what you had done
in disavowing the Lord Christ,
Who had loved you, and trusted you as first among the apostles, and His heir
here on earth.

Help me, Peter to never be afraid to proclaim the glory of God and His goodness, but I am human as you were, and I may fail.
Please help me not to fail.

We praise you, now Saint Peter, as we also take hope that those who falter, and even deny Jesus, can repent and rebuild their spiritual lives as you did, and finally attain salvation.

You redeemed yourself and preached
the Gospel, giving hope to sinners
and strength to saints.

You were captured by those who feared
the Word of the Lord, and you were held captive in chains.

Finally, you died at the hands of those who feared Christianity. Condemned to death
by crucifixion, you insisted that you not be crucified as Jesus was, but that you be hung ignominiously, upside down. You last wish
was granted.

You suffered what seemed a sad death on earth at the hands of enemies, but you earned
a martyr's shining crown of light
from the hand of Jesus in heaven.

Please give steadying support
to your successor Popes in the Vatican.
Guide them to foresight, humility, wisdom
and grace.

Give me strength, courage and faith, Saint Peter, and please pray to God for me. Let me never be ashamed of or deny my faith.

You hold the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven and I earnestly pray that one day you will unlock the gates of Paradise and welcome me, in spite of all my faults and failures,
into the court of Our Divine Lord and King, Jesus, Our Savior and Our God.


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(c) Donn B. Murphy, 2011
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