Because they were afraid to suffer, the apostles abandoned Jesus, and Peter denied him three times. Only a short while earlier he had declared himself ready to give his life for our Lord, but he hadn’t taken into account his own weakness. After his betrayal, however, Peter repents; his love brings tears and forgiveness. Despite his momentary infidelity, he becomes the rock on which Christ will build his Church. God’s grace and his own contrition make of him a firm support, a man who is faithful. . . . .
In that bitter hour, what would St.
Peter have done? How would he have found repentance? The Gospel doesn’t tell
us, but I recall what our Father always said: to Jesus we always return through
Mary. She is the surest path to a cleansing contrition that presses us to
Christ’s heart, more closely than before we fell. “My mother, Lady,” wrote St.
Josemaria in his Intimate Notes, “you
well know what I need. Above all, sorrow born of Love. And to cry? Or without
crying, but with true sorrow, so we can clean very well the soul of Jesus’
donkey. Ut iumentum! How I would like
to be his throne for a triumph greater than that in
My daughter, my son, this fire and light is now in your hands, in your life. Don’t let a bourgeois spirit darken it. (Alvaro del Portillo, Letter, 19 March 1992, nos 44-45)