Monday, December 8, 2014

St. Peter's Cross and the virtue of Hope

I obviously think the relentless captioning of the Joe Biden window photo is humorous. I wonder if anyone else has noticed what to me was the main feature of the picture. Joseph Biden is the first Catholic occupant of the White House since JFK, 51 years and a couple weeks ago. And here he is being presented with an image of St. Peter's Cross. That's a Catholic symbol. Most Protestant Christians don't use it in their art or architecture, thinking it's satanic or too Catholic. So I think that it is significant enough for a sort of meditation.

I imagine that Simon Peter had a look similar to the one in the photo on his face when he was told by the Resurrented Christ that he was going to be crucified. The Catholic Answer's piece I linked to notes "In the ancient world — particularly in the Christian tradition — “to stretch out one’s hands” was a common reference to crucifixion."

And yet it is possible that this thought of impending martyrdom may have given Peter some hope. He had denied his Lord in the most cowardly way just to get out of a little bit of uncomfortable questioning. I imagine that if the servant girl had a Twitter account she might have tweeted something like "That Simon dude is sooooo one of those #jesusfreaks and he smells like fish." As Peter wept bitterly, he may have prayed like mad to get a chance to make up for his denials.

And the answer came during he reinstatement after the Resurrection. You're going to get martyred, Peter. It will be excruciatingly painful, but then you get to spend Eternity in glory. You get the better end of the stick—no pun intended—so don't despair, persevere in Hope.

Despair is a sin against hope, and that appears to be the sin of Judas who hung himself when he became aware of his sin and the consequences. This picture of our Catholic VP and the contemplation of St. Peter's Cross should give hope to Joseph Biden and to other Catholics who have denied Christ by their words or actions, i.e., all of us to one degree or another. There would be nothing funny about a picture of Joe Biden staring at a donkey halter.

Some of you might say, "Hey! why are you grimmin' us out talking about Crucifixion and Resurrection in the middle of the season of Advent on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception?" Busted — smack me with a ruler, sister. But I did find out that even though the picture has just undergone a type of resurrection on Twitter, the picture was taken on September 18. That is, of course, the feast day of a saint named Joseph who wasn't very bright and had a quick temper. Maybe the Vice President will even learn to fly someday like St. Joe of Cupertino without his private plane and spare a lot of jet fuel.

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