Thought for the Day – 29 June – The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul
Blessed Isaac of Stella O.Cist. (c 1100 – c 1170)
Sermon 49, 1st for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul
“These were men of mercy whose good deeds shall not be forgotten; the wealth they have left their inheritance will last for ever” (Latin liturgy; cf. Sir 44:10-11).”
Today, beloved, we are celebrating the birthday of the apostles Peter and Paul and it is altogether fitting that… such a death should be called ‘birth’ since it gave birth to life… See to what the saints have come – through the death that bestows life, they leave this life that leads to death, so as to come to that life-giving life, which is in the hands of Him who, as Christ said: “has life in Himself” – the Father (Jn 5:26)…
There are three kinds of people who are merciful. The first give of their goods… so as to contribute out of their superfluity to the penury of their neighbour… The second give all their goods away and, for them… everything is held in common with others from then on… But as for the third, they not only expend all they have but are “themselves utterly spent” (2 Cor 12:15) and give themselves up in person to the dangers of prison, exile and death so that they may rescue others from the dangers in which their souls are lying. They pour themselves out because they are so full of ardent desire for others. They will receive the reward of that love of which “there is no greater – to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13)… Such are those glorious princes of the earth and servants of heaven of whom today – after long privations “from hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness”, exhaustion and danger, “from their own race, from Gentiles, from false brethren” (2 Cor 11:26-27) – we celebrate the death that was so magnificently victorious. To such as these, the saying well applie – “Their good deeds shall never be forgotten” because they have not forgotten mercy… Yes, to the merciful, “their lot has fallen in a pleasant land, their inheritance is without compare” (Ps 16:6).