After two weeks of hellish schedule running around with my family members in town, I stumbled into an evening Mass yesterday at Novena, only to find that they were celebrating the feast of Sts. Peter & Paul. I did say I had two rough weeks, didn't I, but I think I know the feast was to be celebrated on June 29th and not yesterday.
It'd be interesting to know why the Church put the two saints, of different characters and at times, at odd with each other, together in their commemoration day. Anyway, at the same time, I'm in the middle of reading Georges Chevrot's book called "Simon Peter" (translated from French, originally Simon-Pierre). St Peter is an endearing figure to me, and many Christians out there I'm sure, the personification of a madly affectionate soul who is at the same time aware of his own weaknesses and wretchedness.
Simon Peter fell down and caught Jesus by the knees: "Leave me to myself, Lord", he said, "I am a sinner".
[S]imon Peter has another feeling, no less lively, for instead of backing away as his words might lead one to expect, he throws himself at the Saviour's knees. (St Luke does not say that he kneels before Jesus, but that he throws his arms around His knees). He tells Jesus to go away from him, and at the same time he stops Him by holding His legs. "Leave me to myself, Lord!" and he hugs Him tighter.
--Chapter 3, Simon Peter
Doesn't that resonate for you? I know for me it happens often!
Year dedicated to St Paul
And just yesterday, our Pope Benedict XVI jut announced a special jubilee year dedicated to St Paul, in order to 'invigorate' the Church, which 'needs modern Christians who will imitate the apostle's missionary energy and spirit of sacrifice'.
While I still don't know why these two illustrious pillars of the Church are put together, I think their working together in the vineyard of the Lord is a bit like faith & reason as two wings beating together to bring the soul up to God.
And this, is the beautiful solemn blessing at the end of today's mass:
The Lord has set you firm within his Church,
which he built upon the rock of Peter's faith.
May he bless you with a faith that never wavers. Amen.
The Lord has given you knowledge of the faith
through the labors and preaching of Saint Paul.
May his example inspire you to lead others to Christ
by the manner of your life. Amen.
May the keys of Peter, and the words of Paul,
their undying witness and their prayers,
lead you to the joy of that eternal home
which Peter gained by his cross, and Paul by the sword. Amen.
Sancti Apostoli Petrus et Paulus, ora pro nobis!