Sunday, 21 November 2010

No stranger at the door.

“ … and there we were both standing at the doorway of the Church,” said Father Ignatius, “ and then he asked me if I could spare a cup of coffee. I didn’t think he drank coffee. What do you think he drank anyway?”

“St Peter?” asked Father Donald.

“Yes … St Peter,” repeated Father Ignatius, “what do you think he drank. Surely not coffee. It hadn’t been discovered then! When he was alive on earth.”

“Oh … boiled fish water, I shouldn’t wonder” laughed Father Donald, “must have tasted really horrible I should think!”

“And then …” continued Father Ignatius after a short pause, “and then, as if by magic, we were here in my office. I was sitting at my desk, like now, and he sat in the very armchair where you’re sitting in!”

Father Donald looked around him in the armchair and said nothing. Father Ignatius continued.

“St Peter sat just where you’re sitting Donald. He looked just like we’ve seen him portrayed in the movies. Tall guy and well set. With a beard and wearing a brown tunic … and sandals. I remember distinctly the sandals … Big man, he was … I wouldn’t wish to be on the wrong side of an argument with him. He was here in this office.

“He asked what I thought of him.

“I mumbled the usual things we’ve been taught in seminary … Loyal follower of Christ, leader of the Disciples, Head of the Church … That sort of thing!

“He smiled and picked up a biscuit … he preferred the chocolate covered ones and commented that they tasted different to the ones he was used to in them days … That’s exactly what he said … in them days!”

Father Donald raised an eyebrow and smiled, whilst Father Ignatius went on.

“Then he asked me to be honest. Not repeat what I’d been taught. What did I really think of him?”

Father Donald smiled once more and said nothing.

“Well …” Father Ignatius went on, “I hesitated of course … it’s quite a shock seeing St Peter face to face and being asked such a direct question …

“I said that some theologians consider him to be a bit irresolute of character … Tends to speak first, sometimes acts quickly, yet … a bit hesitant when the chips are down!”

“Wow …” said Father Donald, “did he hit you for saying that? He has a bit of a temper our St Peter you know.”

“No … he remained calm,” replied Father Ignatius, “He said ‘I don’t care about what theologians think … what do they know? I’m asking for your opinion Ignatius!’ He called me Ignatius … so he knew full well who I was. Then he asked me if I had any more of those brown covered biscuits …

“I gave him the whole packet of chocolate biscuits which somehow I had here in my desk; and then I said that I sympathized with his predicament and how he’d been portrayed by some theologians. He was and I’m sure he still is very loyal to Christ. He spoke first because of his confidence and beliefs in our Lord.

“He hesitated a little when he jumped into the lake and tried to walk on water. But anyone would have done that … Jesus had asked to him to come to Him … so at least he did show real Faith by jumping into the water … but his Faith faltered … understandable really!

“And that’s when St Peter sat a little forward in the armchair and calmly said to me … ‘Quite the diplomat aren’t you Ignatius?’ I remember distinctly those words … and they were not said in a complimentary way either … He asked me to go on … what did I really and honestly think of him …

“So I swallowed hard Donald … I knew what he wanted me to say but I was too scared to say it. He nodded gently to encourage me …

“And very quietly I mumbled that he had denied Christ three times …

“He looked me straight in the eye and all gentleness seemed to have gone from his face. He waved his hand gently at me, still holding a half-eaten chocolate biscuit, as if to reprimand me … you know, as we do with our finger when we point at a little child, and then he said ‘After over two thousand years you people still hold that against me! And you call yourselves forgiving Christians … The Lord Himself forgave me with His knowledgeable look full of love and pity for me. But you Christians still bring this matter up …

“And it’s the same with Thomas … Whenever I meet him he says that the only thing that people remember about him is his doubting, and they can’t relate anything else he did after that.

“Well let me tell you something clever Ignatius that you are’ … That’s what St Peter called me, Donald. ‘Clever Ignatius that you are …

“Let me tell you something … Have you ever considered what would have happened if I did not deny our Lord? I would have most probably been taken by the crowd and hung from the nearest tree …

“They were horrible they were … and angry and wild. Those same people who pretended to love Him, whom He had healed and taught over the years suddenly became very wild. They became angry, almost feral … And of course I was scared. They were probably scared too, you know. They had to act this way because acting any differently would have resulted in them being hanged too!

“And by denying Christ, the Son of our God, I unwittingly set in course the chain of events which followed. Jesus knew exactly why I had to deny Him at the time of His capture.

“After His Resurrection, when He appeared to us on the shore of the lake as we were fishing; it was the third time Jesus appeared to us after He was raised from death … We had just eaten together, and Jesus asked me three times if I loved Him. And every time I said yes He asked me to take care of His lambs and His sheep!’ ”

After a short silence Father Donald asked “What happened then Ignatius? When St Peter told you that?”

Father Ignatius replied.

“Well, he finished eating his biscuit and then he asked me whether I thought I had done a good job of looking after Our Lord’s lambs and sheep …

“Before I could answer … I just woke up!”

“That’s quite a dream …” said Father Donald, “and quite a message from St Peter.

“Christ knew precisely why Peter had to be spared at the time of His capture … in order to lead the Disciples and the Church!”

16 comments:

  1. Wow! What a dream! Another wonderful reflection!! Wising you a grand day! Cathy

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  2. Wow Victor - really quite interesting. I have to give this one some thought....my first and usual thought is that God can make right any wrong, but this puts a bit of a twist in the mix. I suppose the end result is the same and that is what really counts. Through it all, we need to end up with him.
    Andie

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  3. 'God works in mysterious ways' is what comes to mind after reading this. There are so many instances that we just cannot understand and which God lets happen and take its course as He has plans we can't begin to imagine! Thanks for a lovely story to reflect upon : )

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  4. Hi Cathy, Andie and Doreen,

    How nice to see you here again. Thanx for visiting.

    I believe that Jesus knew full well the events that would unfold after His capture. It is significant that none of his 11 Disciples (excluding Judas) were either captured or killed. It is important that none perished. All escaped. Except Peter who stayed behind. When he was questioned by the people he became scared and denied knowing Jesus. This too is significant. Had he stood there and defended Jesus, he too would have been captured and killed. Jesus alone and none of His followers was captured and killed. They lived on to establish His Church on earth.

    God bless.

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  5. This was a fabulous story, Victor! Poor St. Peter! He's got a point here - everyone remembers the denials :) And yet, God brought great good out of it, didn't He? He can do amazing things with us fumbling human beings. He used a fisherman to start a church that nothing will overcome, not even hell. Nothing is impossible with God!

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  6. Oh what a lovely dream, it is sad in a way as I too remember doubting Thomas and Peter's denial. We were taught to remember weren't we.....:-)Hugs

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  7. Gosh, I've denied Christ (perhaps indirectly via my life, but denied Him still the same) more than three times. I'm so grateful that Jesus shows me Who God is; that God is just, but that He is merciful and forgiving if we'll come to Him. I'm glad when I read about someone like Peter, someone so human, and I can see how God used Peter in such great ways.

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  8. Hello Mary, Bernie and Tracy,

    Great to see you here again. Thanx.

    God uses even the weakest amongst us to help further His Kingdom on earth. And He forgives us time and again when we fail Him.

    Perhaps we've been taught to remember the denials and the doubting to remind us of God's love and forgiveness.

    Praise the Lord.

    God bless.

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  9. Hi Victor, First od all I love that church door, it is so inviting...you just want to go inside. You know I was talking and thinking about the disciples when Jesus left them to go to Heaven. It must have been frightening to know they were now alone and had to do the work they had been told. I bet Peter sounded off in frustration at times.. Its amazing when we allow our imagination to roam and see the picture of how it might have been... No coffee oh no...I don't think fish water would be nice at all. xxx Crystal Mary.

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  10. Hi Crystal Mary,

    It is a lovely door isn't it? Old churches were built with so much style!

    I suspect Peter did sound off because at first he never really understood Christ's mission on earth. But in time, he learnt from the Holy Spirit as did all the other disciples.

    Boiled fish water would taste a little better with a sponnful or two of honey. Sugar hadn't been discovered yet "in them days!"

    Hope you're keeping well Crystal.

    God bless.

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  11. St Peter is a saint I can certainly identify with. I can be as impulsive as he was and I know that through my actions I too have denied Our Lord.
    But Peter was sorry and Christ knew that. So if we go to Jesus with a repentant heart we too will always be forgiven.
    Thanks for a beautiful and very different Fr. Ignatius story, Victor.
    God Bless!

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  12. Hi Karinann,

    Yes ... I can identify with him too; and I pray that he helps me when my Faith falters.

    Thank you for you kind comments Karinann.

    God bless you.

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  13. I never thought about what would have happened if Peter had not denied Christ. I love the way Jesus knew what would happen, knew how it would fit with his plan, knew He would forgive Peter. Beautiful!

    I hope I have a dream like this one day.

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  14. Hello Sarah,

    Thanx for visiting me again.

    Yes, Our Lord knew precisely what was to happen, and how it fitted with God's plan. All we need do is trust Him.

    God bless you and yours.

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