In our current age of ‘celebrity’ where, it seems, that we are influenced too much by famous people, we can lose our sense of our individuality and our uniqueness.
We can learn a lot from saints and although they are not ‘celebrities’ as we would understand one to be today, they can certainly teach us much more than many celebrities can. The saints are people of great wisdom which they have gained from their close relationship with God.
On June 29 we celebrate the feast day of two well-known saints in the Christian calendar – St Peter and St Paul.
They are both called ‘Apostles’ as they were messengers of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Saint Peter was a close companion of Jesus, one of the 12 disciples. Saint Paul was a later convert to Christianity after his famous conversion experience on his way to Damascus (Acts 9:3-9).
Peter became the most prominent of the 12 disciples after his testimony of faith saying to Jesus: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Mat. 16:16)
In reply, Jesus gives him the name Peter (his name was previously Simon) and adds a special commission, giving him primacy over the other disciples when he says: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my community. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven.” (Mat. 16:18-19)
Peter and Paul travelled extensively in their missionary work and on occasion they met together. Peter’s last days were in Rome where he was crucified upside-down at his own request because he considered himself to be unworthy to die in the same way as his Lord, Jesus. From the time of his death, Peter’s tomb has been a place of reverence for Christians.
The successors of Peter in Rome, or Popes, as we know them, have always had the primary role in the Catholic Church. Pope Francis is the 266th Pope, continuing the line of popes throughout the centuries, leading and guiding the Catholic Church.
In a society of seemingly never-ending chatter, tweeting, messaging and information, we can be overloaded with advice and this can be confusing. However, if we are careful who we listen to and not allow the avalanche of communication to inundate us, then we can feel more secure in our uniqueness as created by God. Our family and trusted friends can give us good advice and guidance, and we can also trust the saints to give us wise advice too.