I have not been disobedient to the heavenly vision.
Peter in Acts 26:19
It pleased Him who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me by His grace to reveal His son in me that I might preach Him among the gentiles. Paul in Galatians 1:15
As a national literature, the story of the Old Testament is a tale of catastrophe. God finds the world He created in perfection in darkness, chaos, and emptiness, and while He remakes it into a world of light, order and fullness, the man and woman, two perfect persons He has placed in the garden of delights He has made for them, choose to obey the serpent. Brother murders brother. There is unlawful liaison between angels and womankind. God, seeing that the intentions of men’s hearts are ever evil destroys mankind in the great flood. Noah comes to dry land, there to fall into drunkenness and incest. Tower-builders seek to know God on their own terms. Sodom and Gomorrah defy the very form of nature. Israel desires to be like the Gentiles, to have a king over them rather than the Lord. While the law is given on the mountain, on the plain below Israel fashions a golden calf and worships it. Prophets filled with God’s Spirit are sent, but these are rejected and murdered.
Not a happy story. Finally the maker of all things, whose will and purpose is indefectible, came down to make human nature His own, to restore it to Himself and as He who owed no debt for rebellion to offer Himself in atonement for our sins, restoring us to the Father, and giving the threefold promise: that He would rise victorious over death, that He would send His Spirit to dwell in those whom He calls, and that He would return again in glory when time had run its course. Meanwhile He called twelve apostles, men sent by Him to perpetuate His word and power in fulfillment of the promise. Two would be called not with greater power but with special apostolic vocations in fulfilling God’s promise. To Peter He said, You are Peter the Rock, and on this Rock I will build my Church (Matthew 16:17–19). Paul He foreknew and would meet on the Damascus road, sending him to the Gentiles, so that Paul would present himself to the Roman Church as one “called to be an apostle, set apart for the Gospel of God . . . to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of His name among the nations” (Romans 1, 5). Continue reading “Thoughts on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul”