Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

Today the Church celebrates and remembers the courageous lives of two of its most beloved apostles, Peter and Paul. Without their courage and selfless devotion to the faith, we wouldn' t be believing in Christ today! They both gave up their lives as the first martyrs for the faith, Paul being sawn in half and Peter being crucified upside down (per his request) in Rome by order of the emperor Nero. The chains that were binding Peter can still be seen in Rome and there is archaeological and historical evidence to support his ministry and subsequent martyrdom in Rome.
Peter is the first among the apostles and his name appears more times in the New Testament than any other apostle. With James and John he was privileged to witness the Transfiguration, the raising of a dead child to life and the agony in Gethsemane. His mother-in-law was cured by Jesus. He was sent with John to prepare for the last Passover before Jesus' death. His name is first on every list of apostles in the Bible.
Was Peter always full of faith and courage? No, clearly he had made terrible mistakes and even denied the Lord, but this very same apostle was given the responsibility of being the cornerstone for the Church. Clearly, a fallible man with God-given authority. "Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the nether world shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 16:17b-19).
Note here that Jesus changed his name from Simon(hearkening, obedient) to Peter, Cephas (rock) in this address. Whenever God changed someone's name in the Old Testament, it was to signify an important designation of mission and purpose . Abram to Abraham (father of all the Israelites) , Sarai to Sarah, etc. Simon was to be the rock upon which Christ would build the church. Not his confession of Christ the son of God, which was earlier in the passage.
Peter then passed this authority to the next "father of the church" and so on. The succession of these fathers (papas of the church) can be traced from Peter all the way to our current Papa, Benedict the Sixteenth. As Catholics, we trace the current authority to bind and loose, etc to Peter when Jesus first gave him the keys of the kingdom.



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