Simon's heart was racing from effort and emotion, and he gasped for breath as he made his way through the fish to where Jesus was sitting in the stern.
Simon approached this man whose presence had become almost unbearable: they were too different, too distant, too "other." And yet it seemed to him that this presence was such an absolute gift to him that only Jesus could reestablish the correct distance between them.
Simon was overtaken by a sense of unworthiness: everything in his life that was petty, false, angry, silly, greedy, proud, vile had now become a heavy, nauseating heap.
He was surprised himself by what he cried out in front of everyone: "Depart from me for I am a sinful man, Lord" (Lk 5:8). And he knew that no truer words had ever come from his lips.
Even so, just as his words were disappearing into the noise of the water, the wind, the boat Simon understood that these words, too, were false. They were no longer true before that face, before the expression of Jesus, who continued to stare at him in silence. The words were true inside of Peter himself in his heart, in his humanity, but they were no longer true before Jesus. He had not yet finished saying, "Depart from me, Lord," when his heart began crying in desolation, "No! Stay with me, Lord! Take me with you!"
Abbot Mauro-Giuseppi Lepori, O.Cist. "Sharing in Peter's Grace." excerpt from Simon, Called Peter: In the Company of a Man in Search of God (Ignatius Press, 2010).
Written originally in Italian, Simon Called Peter has been translated into both French and German. Other works by Lepori include Lamato presente. This excerpt appeared in Magnificat February, 2013.
Abbot Mauro-Giuseppi Lepori, O.Cist. has been Abbot General of the Order of Cistercians since 2010. He was previously the abbot of the Abbey of Hauterive which he entered in 1984. The Cistercian of Hauterive is outside of Fribourg, Switzerland. Abbot Mauro earned a licentiate in philosophy and theology from the Catholic University of Fribourg. The abbot general is a Swiss-Italian born (from Lugano) monk who, before his entrance into the cloister was an active follower of Communion and Liberation. He is the author of Simon, Called Peter: In the Company of a Man in Search of God.Copyright © 2010 Ignatius Press
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