Saint Peter of Verona aka Saint Peter Martyr because he’s a paradigm of giving witness unto death. That’s him, depicted in the upper left niche of what I call the Angelicum’s basilica aka the Church of Saints Dominic and Sixtus. Yes, that’s a heavy butcher style machete in his head, and a dagger in his heart.
At the time, the Dominicans, particularly Saint Peter, were preaching ferociously against the blood-thirsty heretics called the Cathars, “the clean ones”, aka Albigensians, “the ones born pure”, gnostics, “the ones in the know” about their own great perfection with no need of redemption, no need of salvation, thus being those who could not possibly do anything wrong, ever, which is a license to kill. The more you kill faithful Catholics, the more manifestly you were certainly one of the pure ones. With extreme lack of self-awareness they were on killing sprees, truly committing genocide against Catholics. Saint Peter was one of their victims.
200 years later, a blink of an eye in history, the great Signorelli depicted Saint Peter in this way, just below the feet of the anti-Christ and Satan:
The one who looks like Jesus is actually the anti-Christ. It that the anti-Christ pointing below himself to the now-dead Saint Peter, or is that Satan who is pointing while congratulating the anti-Christ?
Well, it’s both together, of course. That pedestal depicts the false-prophet beating up his good donkey, who saw the angel forbidding them to go further into the darkness.
The more things change the more they stay the same. Today, the heretics who deny the Sacrifice of the Mass, who say that they have no sin, and that there is no need for redemption, for salvation, are also violent in their persecution of those who simply point to the goodness and kindness and truth of Christ Jesus. These heretics, today’s Cathars, Albigensians, those “clean ones”, claim that those who the members of Jesus’ Little Flock, who listen to Jesus, have grave psychological problems going on inside of themselves and are in the dark, unclean, ideological because of being in reverence before Jesus, humbly thanking Jesus for redemption, forgiveness, salvation, praising Jesus.
These little ones, as Saint Peter, in thanksgiving for their own forgiveness, want even these violent heretics to convert and be saved. Depending on circumstances in society and with those where we are in this dark world, any of the little ones of Jesus’ Little Flock can be next up for what happened to Saint Peter.
Better: the little ones of Jesus’ Little Flock are already there with him and are being cut down at any and every moment right around the world to the greater honor and glory of God. They are being condemned as rigid and entrenched, but they are most light-hearted and, in their greatest love for the brethren, not their love but Christ’s in them, it is they who have been purified, sanctified by Jesus, and have been introduced to purity of heart and agility of soul and clarity of vision and profundity of understanding, not congratulating themselves like self-absorbed gnostic heretics of Cathar / Albigensian infamy, but just thankful for the forgiveness they themselves have received.
Meanwhile, just to be clear. We’re all of us a work in progress. We go to Confession one moment and may lay down our lives for the brethren in the next.
- It’s not that we are perfect. No. Having just gone to Confession myself, because I’m a sinner, my penance was telling, that I pray two decades of the Divine Mercy chaplet, one so that my priesthood may be more dedicated to Jesus’ Little Flock in my parish, the other for the parishioners, that they may benefit from Jesus’ priesthood with me having gotten myself out of Jesus’ way.
- It’s that Jesus is very good and very kind to us, very patient with us, wanting that we pray always, be always in humble reverence and thanksgiving before Him, praising Him. They only way I know how to even begin to start to do this is to go to Confession regularly. I love Confession. Go to Confession.
2 responses to “Saint Peter Martyr… Wait… What?”
May day May day May day! a signal of distress, yes… a holiday with many different meanings, but first and foremost it is a holi holyday for Mary, Mother of God.
You are a great teacher (one who opens the eyes of students to see beyond themselves) and I fall to my knees thanking God that you share these insights, especially art appreciation and flowers for the Immaculate and encouraging confession.
Our beautiful church in Wake Forest NC (y’all come visit!) has a statue of St. Peter of Verona with a hatchet in his head and blood dripping down. Someone expressed that it might be too disturbing for some to see, and our former pastor (God rest his soul) said “Well, we might as well take the nails and Jesus down off the Cross then!”
Two suggestions for the motto on your coat of arms:
1. Rigid and entrenched! (in Latin, if you like)
2. Out of Jesus’ way!