Petrus Romanus seems to be in the news now more than ever as the world waits to see if the prophecy of Malachy will be fulfilled with the assignment of the next Pope. Is he the Pope of the End Times?
Saint Peter’s Square (Photo credit: jimmyharris)
Petrus is the name or the ‘identity’ of the last Pope according to Malachy, named after Peter, the Apostle.
What timing for this prophecy. The story of Peter is exactly what is happening today.
The whole spirit of Peter’s writings and his story are also more relevant than ever in our midst. His message springs forward to me at this time as something addressing our present day situation. Themes of persecution, wavering faith, doubt, weakness, solidity, foundations are surfacing today more than ever. He addresses the challenge of believing that which you know to be true, but that you can’t “see”.
There are power surges of faith happening throughout the world. Some people are just waking up to the truth of Christ, feeling the heat of the moment, some are embracing their faith more fervently, seekers are now actively seeking more light while others are being persecuted for their faith in many countries. We are seeing people today chastised and ridiculed for their faith in countries which were built on Christian principles. This surge of faith is not able to permeate everywhere yet. We are also seeing a strong current of lukewarm believers, who want to believe, but are being carried downstream by a strong rush of current, sourcing from deceit and Godlessness that is permeating society. These people are either too weak to withstand the current or they are too afraid to speak up for what they believe in and to go against the grain.
These spiritual states of being are not new to humanity. This state of affairs is very similar to the conditions that were experienced by the early Christians. Some were strong, some were weak and many were persecuted. All had to contend with tremendous forces of anti Christian sentiment and Godlessness permeating all aspects of their lives and corrupting society at that time. Peter addressed this situation in his writing to the followers of Christ who were in Asia Minor – an area which was wrought with the persecution of these early Christians.
Peter is the English form of the name Petros (Petrus in Latin) which comes from the Greek word “petra” meaning Rock. Peter was God’s rock. Jesus chose Peter to be His rock. Christ was able to see solid foundation even when we can only see weakness.
St. Peter Denying Christ, by Gustave Doré (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Peter displayed human weakness. He wavered – he first proclaimed Christ as the Savior, the Messiah , before the others did, and yet Peter also disowned Christ three times. (Luke 22: 54 -71) Despite that, Peter became his Rock, giving him the keys to Paradise. Christ understood and saw beyond the human condition that is visible to us.
The wavering was meant to happen then. Christ knew about it before it happened. And that wavering still happens today, on a small and a grand scale. People are easily led to waver in all facets of their lives. We even see churches having wavered, being steered away from Christ. Peter bitterly cried over the way he denied Christ the night that Christ was seized. Christ however knew the depth of the faith that Peter had in his heart.
That is so relevant to us today because Christ is giving us all the opportunity to be accepted in His Kingdom, in His Heart, giving us a clear path to salvation and eternal life, even though we waver, we are weak and we are vulnerable. He sees what is in our hearts and wants us to live through that faith alone – not by the worldly principles. In this world, but not of this world. That is a difficult task with all of the temptation and deceit that prevails in the world, but what a small task when we see the tremendous sacrifice that He made for us.
Peter’s letters give sound advice for us to be able to withstand any forces that may cause us to waver in our faith, in our heart.
Peter wrote to those who were slandered, humiliated, alienated and even persecuted for the belief in Christ. Although they were written then, like all that is written in the Scriptures, his letters are still “alive” and speak to the issues facing Christians today.
Crucifixion of St. Peter by Caravaggio. The early Christians were persecuted by the Roman Empire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today we see the persecution of Christians in many forms throughout the world. Being Christian is targeted in so many ways in today’s world.
Click on the link below and listen to Peter’s letter. He gives advice, encouragement and wisdom that we should keep in mind constantly.
He talks about things that are issues for many of us today. Peter talks about having to submit to authority that is unjust and cruel. He talks about the strength needed to stay firm to your beliefs in a Godless society. The society that the first receivers of this letter lived in was a pagan one, and they persecuted the Christians. The conditions then however were very similar in many ways to the conditions that prevail in the world now.
Here is an audio version of the first letter of Peter.