Saturday 26 March 2022

Companion to Saint Peter - J.B. Midgley - CTS Companions Series

Companion to Saint Peter
CTS Companions Series
J.B. Midgley
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860822124
CTS Booklet Do698

A few of years ago I encountered the works of J.B. Midgley and was very impressed with his writing. I have worked at tracking all his books down. And it took me a few years. I now have all of his books, or at least the ones I am aware of. After reading this one I only have 5 volumes to go to have read all of his books. I have read his works a total of 28 times so far; with a few having been read more than once. It has been well worth tracking down all 28 books by J.B. Midgley. Twenty-six of those books were for the Catholic Truth Society.  And 6 of those were from the CTS Great Saints Series. And 7 are from the CTS Companions Series. I have also read many in the CTS Biographies and also Saints of the Isles Series. And have loved most of them. I first read a book by Midgley almost nearly 4 years ago. This volume is a good book, by an excellent author in an amazing series! It is much more academic than some of his other offerings. 

The description on the back of the book is:

“On the life and times of the prince of Apostles.

This booklet provides a unique look at the life and discipleship of St Peter and at the legacy of St Peter not only in the early Church, but through the centuries and up to modern times. The feasts and devotions surrounding St Peter are explained, while special attention is given to the foundation of the Church, the role of the Bishop of Rome, the apostolic succession and the role of the papacy today.”

And the chapters in this little volume are:

Devotion to Saint Peter
The First Disciples
The Foundation of the Church
Holy Thursday
The Primacy of Peter

I have encountered this saint many times in the past, in Church history courses, and in Theology courses. And just generally in reading. The introduction to this volume states:

“Pope John Paul II recently reminded the Church that Christ, the Eternal Good Shepherd, appointed Peter to be the chief shepherd of His Flock so that His loving care should be experienced in Time and that salvation should reach to the ends of the earth. In the exercise of this pastoral office which he and the Bishops have inherited, he welcomes the dawn of a new millennium as an opportunity to proclaim the good news of God’s Kingdom with renewed confidence.

St Peter, Prince of the Apostles, has bequeathed to us his divinely inspired profession of faith which is the Rock upon which Christ built His Church. As guardian of the keys to Heaven’s gates, Peter Continues to guide us in the challenges of successive ages. He has left the memory of a life characterised by an absolute commitment born of love for Jesus, and an heroic witness which is an inspiration and reassurance of faith. It is hoped that these pages may contribute towards renewed appreciation of a Saint in whose abiding friendship we always find eager and powerful support.”

As mentioned this work is more academic than many of Midgley’s other volumes I have read. It is for the most part a recap of Saint Peter through the gospels and book of Acts. And then as his story continues in church history. It was a great read. It was a volume I would have appreciated having when doing my Religious Studies undergraduate degree. I highlighted many passages mostly in the first third of the book. The booklet is 72 pages and I highlighted 11 passages not counting the introduction above. Most of those highlights spanned 2 paragraphs. The sections I highlighted were:

“Hesitation and fear were no more as he bravely endured an unjust imprisonment which could have culminated in execution, made the problematic decision to recognise the right of Gentiles to become Christians, undertook hazardous missionary journeys and, with Paul, nurtured the Church in Rome. The name “first Pope” and “Bishop of Rome” illuminates Peter’s incomparable vocation, and his establishment of the episcopal continuity which exists to this day.”

“”Peter inspired great affection because, in the vivid characterisation drawn by the New Testament, we catch a glimpse of his own failings and aspirations. He was quick-tempered, impulsive, selfish, generous, brave, frightened, striving to go forward, and often retreating.”

“In England, the Abbeys of Canterbury, Glastonbury, Malmesbury, Peterborough, Lindisfarne, Whitby, Westminster: and the cathedrals of York, Lichfield, Worcester and Selsby are dedicated to him, as is Peterhouse, Cambridge University’s first College.”

“The reading from the Acts of the Apostles records that Peter performed the first Apostolic miracle. He and John were entering the Temple for the prayers which were said at the ninth hour when a man, lame from birth, was being carried to the Beautiful Gate where the destitute traditionally begged alms from worshippers.”

“Three other Feasts of Saint Peter once adorned the Roman Calendar and are worth remembering in the context of Church History, Peter’s primacy, and the devotion of earlier generations.

January 18th: “Saint Peter’s Chair in Rome” celebrates the episcopal See of Rome as the centre of the Universal Church and seat of the Supreme Pontiffs who are Peter’s successors.
February 22nd: “St Peter’s Chair in Antioch” commemorates his authoritative Gospel mission to the Gentiles, and the fruitful establishment of the first Gentile Church in Antioch where the followers of Jesus were first described as Christians.

August 1st: “Saint Peter Ad Vincula” celebrates his miraculous escape from prison and certain death thanks to the intercession of an Angel sent by God.”

“Jesus, “the one who sanctifies is of the same stock as those he sanctifies” (Heb 2:11). The power He delegates to Peter and his successors to promote the cause of the Kingdom, and its rule of love in human hearts, is a divine power. It is this which is exercised in the spiritual order on earth, and concerning which our Lord will say to Peter after the resurrection.”

“Jesus’ rebuke to Peter “Get behind me Satan”, seems harsh because we cannot heart the tone of voice of an exchange between close friends. He did not want Peter to act as a stumbling-block on the road which His Father chose for Him, and which He willingly followed.”

“Peter was the first Apostle to whom Jesus appeared after His Resurrection because He wanted to reassure him that his sorrow for the denial in the courtyard of the high priest’s palace had brought forgiveness, and that their relationship was unaffected.”

“Peter’s appointment and commission are inherited by his successors who are the Popes and Christ’s vicars on earth and the pastoral office, with royal authority and responsibility is at the heart of the Church and is perpetuated by the bishops under the primacy of the Pope.”

“A movement once preoccupied with Judaism was emerging as the Universal Church and, as new districts were evangelised, Peter assumed full pastoral powers and responsibilities.”

I hope those sample quotes will instil an interest in this volume for you. At the end of the book is a list of Acknowledgements referencing several other CTS resources that were quoted or used to prepare this volume. And then a bibliography 8 other resources used. This is followed by a list of 11 volumes in the CTS Companions series. 

This book is a good read in an excellent series. It is a little different than the others and more academic. That is not a criticism just an observation. I have been blessed by all of the books from Midgley’s pen that I have been able to read. I highly recommend this book, the series and many of the works from the Catholic Truth Society. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

For other books in the CTS Companions Series click here.

Books by J.B. Midgley:

Advent & Christmastide with the Saints
Antonio Rosmini
Benedict - Patron of Europe
Bernard of Clairvaux – CTS Great Saints
Charles Borromeo  - CTS Great Saints
Companion to St. Joseph
Companion to the Feasts of Mary
Companion to Saint Peter
Companion to Saint Paul
Companion to the Angels
Companion to the Feasts of Our Lord
Companion to the Passion of Our Lord
Dominic - CTS Great Saints
George: Patron of England - CTS Great Saints
Dewi Sant: St David Patron of Wales
Francis de Sales – CTS Great Saints
John Baptist de La Salle – CTS Great Saints
John Vianney – CTS Great Saints
Lent with the Saints
Nurturing the Young
Robert Bellarmine
Saint John the Baptist 
Stations of the Cross and Resurrection with the Saints
The Eucharist with the Saints
The Four Evangelists
Thomas Becket – CTS Saints of the Isles
Vincent de Paul – CTS Great Saints
Witchcraft, Sorcery and Magic

Contributed to:
First Fridays and First Saturdays The Devotions Explained 

Other books in the CTS Companions Series:
Companion to St. Joseph – J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Feasts of Mary – J.B. Midgley
Companion to Saint Peter – J.B. Midgley
Companion to Saint Paul – J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Angels – J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Feasts of Our Lord - J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Passion of Our Lord – J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Order of the Mass - Mgr Bruce Harbert
Companion to Reading the Old Testament – Adrian Graffy
Companion to Reading the New Testament – Adrian Graffy
Companion to Praying with the Bible – Z. Mattam
New Companion to Advent & Christmastide - CTS
New Companion to Prayer - Celia Wolf-Devine
New Companion to Lent - CTS

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