Neither the Brilliant, nor the Mystic, but the Shuffler

Peter and Paul receiving their assignments from the Lord

PRAYER for The Feast of Sts Peter and Paul : O God, Whose right hand raised up blessed Peter, when he walked upon the water and began to sink, and thrice delivered his fellow-Apostle Paul from the depths of the sea, when he suffered shipwreck: graciously hear us and grant, by the merits of them both, that we also may attain unto everlasting glory: Who livest and reignest world without end.+Amen Ora Pro Nobis

Peter responded and said to Him, “Lord, if [g]it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and when he began to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out with His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are truly God’s Son!”[Mark14:28-32]

But when the fourteenth night came, as we were being driven about in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors began to suspect that [a]they were approaching some land. 28 And they took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and a little farther on they took another sounding and found it to be fifteen fathoms. 29 Fearing that we might run aground somewhere on the [b]rocks, they cast four anchors from the stern and [c]prayed for daybreak. 30 But as the sailors were trying to escape from the ship and had let down the ship’s boat into the sea, on the pretense that they were going to lay out anchors from the bow, 31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men remain on the ship, you yourselves cannot be saved.” 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it fall away.[Acts 27:27032]

When Christ established His great society, Chesterton observed, He made His choices not on merit or our desire, but on His higher thinking.

Chesterton on Peter and Paul and God’s Choice

“When Christ at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its cornerstone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward – in a word, a man. And upon this rock He has built His Church, and the gates of Hell have not prevailed against it. All the empires and the kingdoms have failed, because of this inherent and continual weakness, that they were founded by strong men and upon strong men. But this one thing, the historic Christian Church, was founded on a weak man, and for that reason it is indestructible. For no chain is stronger than its weakest link.”

-― G.K. Chesterton, Heretics, 1905

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