Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent

On the Repentance of St. Peter, and the Despair of Judas Iscariot.


Judas betrayed his divine Master and Peter denied him. Judas, in despair, destroyed his own life and Peter was converted. From whence comes this difference? Is it because Jesus looked at Peter? But he spoke to Judas. He warned him of his crime. He threatened him with terrible chastisements. He treated him as a friend and assailed his heart with all the inspirations and charms of divine love. Notwithstanding these facts, St. Peter was converted and Judas despaired. Oh, judgments of God! Terrible is the effect of your visitation on men! Oh, malice of the human heart! Oh, admirable results of the mercy and justice of God!


Judas was lost because he did not desire to be saved. He had powerful graces before he sinned. He had the grace of repentance after he had sinned. But these graces were of no avail because he abused them, resisted them, and was hardened in evil; because he had communicated unworthily, and was too much attached to the things of the world; because he sinned through malice, knowing the sanctity of him whom he betrayed; and through ingratitude, delivering up to death him from whom he had received so many graces. Oh, it is a perilous thing to abandon one’s self to evil passions, to resist the grace of God, and sin with knowledge!


St. Peter was raised, because he fell through fear and weakness. He did not renounce his Master in his heart although he denied him with his lips. His apostasy was criminal but excusable, as it was caused by terror, surprise, and unexpected events. He always loved his divine Master, but fear triumphed over love. It was his first fault. The dangers which threatened him of being seized and delivered into the hands of the infuriated Jews prevented his reflecting on his crime, hearing the cock that crowed, or remembering the prediction of Jesus Christ. As soon as he was conscious of his fault he did penance, and did not, like Judas, despair.

Resolution: As soon as I commit a sin I will not despair but immediately repent and do penance, and if the sin is mortal, I will make going to confession my highest priority.

Prayer: O my God, grant me the grace of true repentance for my sins, that with the penitent Peter I may one day join the company of the blessed where thou livest and reignest forever, world without end. Amen.

By a Member of the Society of Jesus, edited and amended by J. Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R.


Micki said...

Wow....I've never seen a picture of Judas like this before.
Looking at this should keep us from ever disparing of his forgiveness.

Fr Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R. said...

Judas did not have the good fortune of knowing the extent of Jesus love for us despite our sins. If we understand that Jesus voluntarily suffered and died because he loves us then we know he can forgive anything and despair becomes untenable. Such love can forgive anything.