And When They Had Kindled A Fire In The Midst Of The Hall, And Were Sitting About It, Peter Was In The Midst Of Them
GIOTTO di Bondone
No. 32 Scenes from the Life of Christ: 16. Christ before Caiaphas (detail)
And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were sitting about it, Peter was in the midst of them. Whom when a certain servant maid had seen sitting at the light, and had earnestly beheld him, she said: This man also was with him. But he denied him, saying: Woman, I know him not. And after a little while, another seeing him, said: Thou also art one of them. But Peter said: O man, I am not. And after the space, as it were of one hour, another certain man affirmed, saying: Of a truth, this man was also with him; for he is also a Galilean. And Peter said: Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, as he was yet speaking, the cock crew. And the Lord turning looked on Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, as he had said: Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter going out, wept bitterly.Luc.22.
Consider first, that when Peter was come again to the fire, he began to speak more freely with the servants, to the end that he might take away all suspicion from himself: For by his speech he was judged to be a Galilean. Thou therefore who art the servant of Christ take heed of familiarity with the wicked. Let thy communication be of Heavenly things,as thou maiest perceive the Apostles speeches were in the Act of the Apostles, and by their Epistles: For he which is delighted with the vain speeches of secular men,will easily be drawn to imitate their manners,and to be warmed with their fire, and entrapped with their delights.
Secondly, Peter was known by his speech to be the Disciple of Christ,and a Galilean Do thou likewise so govern thyself, that all men even by thy outward conversation may know thee to be the follower of Christ,and a Galilean, that is, one flying from the worldly to a spiritual life and aspiring to Heaven.
Consider thirdly the benignity of Christ towards his servants.He being oppressed with so many miseries, did as it were forget himself, and take care of his Disciple: He restrained him from sinning and deeper,and caused him after his third denial to stay, beholding him, not with the eyes of his body (for that he could not do, being in an upper chamber, and compassed round about with officers) but turning to him which the inward beams of his mercy; with which he touched his heart, illuminated and mollified it. For the beholding of Christ doth illuminate the Conscience, that sins may be known, even as the beams of the Sun do lighten a Chamber.
Consider fourthly the order of his Conversion: First the Cock crowed: Secondly our Lord beheld him: Thirdly Peter remembered the word of Jesus: Fourthly he went forth: Fifthly he wept bitterly: If Christ look not upon thee, the Cock crows in vain. Do thou therefore give ear unto the Preachers and Admonishers, as unto Cocks; and pray that our Lord will turn unto thee, Observe the words which thou hearest: Fly all occasion of evil, and do Penance. Here thou being a most grievous sinner maiest have great hop of pardon, seeing that the mercy of our Lord gave so fee pardon for this grievous sin, that Christ never objected it unto Peter. But thou hast offended with Peter, go not about to excuse thyself with Adam, but weep with Peter, who (as St. Clement witness) did all his whole life time after the first crowing of the Cock rise up to his prayers, and slept no more that night.
Fr. Francis Costerus S.J.