For the Love of Saint Peter!
Instead of swearing, I have formed the habit of just saying “For the love of Saint Peter!” I stub my toe: “For the love of Saint Peter!” I broke my phone: “For the love of Saint Peter.” Instead of cursing, I get the love of a saint, who aids me. It is similar to asking Saint Anthony to help me find something I lost.
Why Saint Peter?
I have no idea. Peter’s name, for some odd reason, keeps rolling off my lips. It is strange, though that Saint Peter is not one of my patron saints and I really find nothing about him that important or interesting for me. He just does not seem like my “type” of Saint.
Well, then my friend gives me a book on Saint Peter, Fisher of Men, by Kurt Frieberger. I am still reading it right now. It is my favorite type of book, historical and biblical fiction.
Next thing I know, my uncle lends me a book about the bones of Saint Peter. It is The Fisherman’s Tomb by John O’Neal.
In prayer, Saint Peter’s name keeps coming up. Then, a friend of mine sends a link to an article about the bones of Saint Peter in Rome.
That is when I start to think, “Alright! I don’t know what is going on right now, Peter, as I really have no intentional devotion to you.”
Other people who have experienced “stalker saints,” like me, would understand that it seems God has assigned a saint to us, and we might not even know it. Or, we come to know about that saint because he or she keeps popping up wherever we go.
Even the four best books in the world (the Gospels) have Peter in them.
I start reflecting more. Peter is originally named Simon. But God calls him Peter, the rock on which He would build His Church. He is the first pope! Well, that’s cool, but how does that relate to me?
Why Saint Pope John XXIII?
Then, I start reflecting on Pope John XXIII who also seems to be “stalking” me. I entered the monastery on his feast day, and since then, I have thought that he is always interceding for my vocation. In truth, I am not particularly drawn to that pope. I know he is the pope that began the work of the Second Vatican Council. I know he was canonized with Pope Saint John Paul II.
I mention all of this to my spiritual director. What is with these saints? They are popes and I have nothing in common with them.
Why Saint Pope John Paul II?
The next “stalker” is Pope St. John Paul the Great. I have a white Vatican rosary with the special JPII crucifix on it. And then, I am thinking about how I will renew my consecration to Mary, and my spiritual director suggests a book called Totus Tuus by Father Brian McMaster. It is about consecrating ourselves to Jesus through Mary with Saint John Paul II.
“What if,” my spiritual director says, “God is asking you to pray for the
pope? And through the intercession of past popes, such as Saint Peter and Saint John XXIII.”
Pope Francis. Francis was a saint I could relate to. And this was the first time a pope ever took the name, Francis. Saint Clare had a special bond with Saint Francis, and with Clare as my patron saint, I too automatically feel adopted by her and Saint Francis.
The pope. The pope. Is God calling me to pray for the pope? Future and past popes. Through the intercession of the “saint” popes, I could pray for the papacy.
I think my job is to pray for Pope Francis. I can pray that the Lord God helps him in all of his ways. I can pray for the amendment of his sins, pray that he comes to defend the Church, and decide what is best for the Church.
The details belong to the Lord alone. In this circumstance, I am to pray alone, humbly letting God work.
So, Saint Peter. Your name keeps popping in my head and I keep saying, “For the love of Saint Peter,” when I am late or I spill coffee. I now take it as my task to pray for the papacy, especially for our current Pope Francis. May I accept the invitation to pray with Saint Peter, Saint Pope John XXIII, and Saint John Paul II. May they continue to “stalk me,” so that I continue to pray for the pope.