Saturday, 17 December 2016

Peter: A rock who has been asked to love.

In May 1952, Madeleine Delbrel undertook a visit to Rome, spending some twelve hours in prayer at the tomb of St Peter in the Vatican Basilica. Madeleine travelled by train from Paris, spent her time in prayer, and returned by train, all in 24 hours. The circumstances of the visit are described in We, the Ordinary People of the Streets pp.77-78 and on pages 125-127 of the biography Madeleine Delbrel: A Life Beyond the Boundaries.

Madeleine's note of her visit was circulated to a few of her friends and can be found in We, the Ordinary People of the Streets pp.114-116. The following is an extract:
During the journey and also in Rome, I discovered the immense importance of bishops for the faith and the life of the Church.
"I will make you fishers of men". It seem to me, in relation to what we call authority, we tend to react either as liberals or as people with a fetish. We do not flow back to the bishops with everything we have encountered in or learned from the world.
Either we obey like a second-class soldier; or else at best we submit our requests for their signature. We do not bring back images, or sensations, etc, like eyes to the brain.
We're under the rule of authorizations rather than the rule of authority, which would mean to receive that which is "to be done", that of which we are meant to be "authors" in the work of God.....
I also thought a lot about the fact that, though St John is the "disciple Jesus loved", it was Peter that Jesus asked: "Do you love me?" and it was after his affirmations of love that Jesus gave him the flock. He also explained what it means to love: "That which you have done to the least of my brothers, you have done unto me".
It became clear to me how essential it is that people, all people, come to know that the hierarchical Church loves them. Peter - a rock who has been asked to love. I understood that all the expressions of the Church have to be penetrated through and through with love.

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