Monthly Archives: February 2018

My Main Man

by Orlando Hernandez

When I first saw “The Chair of Peter” I was amazed and delighted. I was a lover of art and a fan of Gianlorenzo Bernini. At the time I was not a believer in God, and I was put off by the opulence of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The place seemed to me like an oversized train station. I felt no presence of God in this place. But I was also overcome by the magnificent beauty of the place.

What most impressed me though, was the back of the Basilica, behind the marvelous, massive metal canopy over the altar. Vast quantities of angels and swirling cloud-like shapes surrounded this huge, empty throne, giving the impression that it was being lifted up like some sort of Renaissance-era Space Shuttle blasting off into space. How all this heavy metal could evoke the lightness of cake frosting was indeed marvelous. And on top of it all, seeming small in comparison, was the poignant image of the brooding Spirit of God, shining from a stained-glass window way up high. Wow, Bernini, what a genius, my main man! Not a thought about this Saint Peter.

Nearly thirty years later, I re-entered this great place full of the Holy Spirit and the love of God. My attitude was different. I still loved great art but, after spiritual experiences and much reading of the Gospels, Jesus was my love, and Peter the Fisherman was my “Main Man,” my favorite saint. I was coming here to honor them both.

And yet, the place left me cold. It still felt huge and empty, yet full of aggressive, jostling tourists, making it very hard to be in a prayerful mood. This spectacular building said nothing to me about what the person of St Peter meant in my life. Then, the simplest of objects appeared before me, to remind me of why I was there.

In front of the stairs to the lower levels, where Peter’s tomb was located, there were a number of small tablets mounted on iron stands with typewritten information on them in different languages. I read the English one, and this is what was written on it:
“You are the Christ, the son of the, living God. (Mt 16:16)”

“Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God. (Jn 6: 68-69)”

“Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you. (Jn 21:17b)”

I almost felt dizzy. My heart was filled with so much emotion. It was as if the great saint had personally come to remind me of the mystery and the marvelous miracle that is the love of God. The humble fisherman had for the longest time been my example of what a life with Christ can be like. First, when He calls, I cannot help but recognize who He truly is. When I am confused, in doubt, or afraid of losing my faith, those words of Peter remind me that there really is no other place for me to go. I have walked too far with My Lord. In spite of the many times that I have been confused or felt threatened by His message, in spite of the many times I have denied Him, Peter has been my example every time I feel Jesus’ invitation to love Him. Thank you, Saint Peter, for being such an inspiration in my life!

I stood there for a while, and, as had happened various other times in Churches in Italy, my Lord came to call me. An elderly, stern priest came by ringing a bell, “Ding, ding, ding, ding ding,” announcing the Eucharist in one of the large chapels to the left. The chapel commemorated the crucifixion of Peter. I went joyfully to be with my Lord. I know that Peter, my “Main Man” and guide, was there also with me.

Orlando Hernandez

Abuela, I am afraid

By Berta Hernandez

Dear Lord,
My granddaughter, Isabel, is afraid of returning to school. Her school is just a few miles away from the shooting that took place on Ash Wednesday, February 14th, Valentine’s Day. Lord, she’s only 11 years old. She said to me, “Abuela, I don’t want to go back to school!” What do I say, Lord ? What answer can I give that will alleviate her fears?

My dear Lord Jesus, I know that you are with her, like I know you are with all the parents, family, and friends of all the victims, like I also know you are with the young man that did the shooting. You are with us through all the many good things, and the very awful ones too. I can say all this to Isabel, but Lord, she’s only 11 years old. How can I help her understand?

You can see, my God, that we have left You behind! So many are not looking to You for help. They say things like, “No more prayers! We have to take action!” or, “God doesn’t listen! Look at how many times these shootings have occurred and nothing has happened?” How, Lord Jesus, how can we realize in our own grief, fear, and worry, that it is by bringing You closer in prayer, and listening to Your message, that we will find the way?

Maybe, just maybe, You are speaking through all these teenagers that are calling for more compassion and love, and less violence and guns. Maybe You are speaking through every Pastor and Priest that spoke to their congregations this past weekend about peace and love. Maybe You are speaking through the politicians that are ready to discuss legislation that will help the depressed, the desperate, the lonely, and the bullied, and while they are at this, also find new ways to have gun control in this country.

We can see our world as dark and gloomy, but that would be a world without Your Light, Lord God! I would rather see a world of Light, Hope and Love, where together as one with You we conquer fear, loneliness, desolation, depression, and unhappiness. Lord, “ Take up Your Holy Throne deep within our hearts.” Arm us with the weapons of Hope, Faith and Love ! We want You to govern, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as it was meant to be from the beginning! Help us, our God! We need You more than ever.

Praise, Honor and Glory to You my Lord God.

Berta Hernandez

Short and Simple — Contemplative Philosophy

“Pray, brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.” Tall and handsome. Big and powerful. Profound and exciting. A great adventure starring a great hero. Doing the dishes. Just the right combination of hot and cold. Mostly hot of course. And the cold, that splash of sobriety so […]

via Short and Simple — Contemplative Philosophy