As we approach Holy Thursday and the Triduum, it’s an opportune time to reflect on the story of Christ’s passion and how it resonates with our own journey of faith. Jill Simons, in a recent episode of Charisms for Catholics, delved into the powerful narrative of Peter’s identity crisis during the Passion of Christ and the transformation he underwent through his encounter with the Holy Spirit.

The Identity Quotient: Embracing Our Journey

Jill shares insights into Peter’s struggle with identity during the Passion and emphasizes its relevance to many of us today. Just as Peter drew his sense of self-esteem and worth from being physically close to Christ, we often seek our identity in the world rather than in God. This struggle is a common experience for many individuals, particularly those who grapple with the perceived safety of aligning with the world over committing to their faith.

The Transition: Encountering the Holy Spirit

Pivoting the discussion to Pentecost, Jill highlights Peter’s profound transformation following his encounter with the Holy Spirit. This transition is a pivotal moment in Peter’s journey, as he shifts from a fearful denier of Christ to a bold proclaimer of the gospel. His actions reflect a radical transformation driven by his newfound security and identity rooted in the Holy Spirit. This transformation serves as a beacon of hope, demonstrating the remarkable change that God’s grace can inspire within individuals.

Renouncing Lies and Embracing Truth

Jill encourages listeners to pray on Holy Thursday and throughout the Triduum, seeking to identify the lies that influence their perceptions of safety and identity. The process of renouncing these lies in the name of Jesus and embracing the truth aligns with the transformative journey that leads individuals to find their ultimate security in the unshakable foundation of God’s love. It’s a call to reflect, renounce, and embrace the truth of our identity as beloved children of God, grounded in his unwavering love and grace.

Living in the Freedom of God’s Love

Finally, Jill reminds us that the story of Peter is not one confined to the past, but a narrative that resonates with believers today. The transition that Peter underwent serves as an invitation for each of us to find our security and value in God’s enduring love. It’s an encouragement to live in the freedom and joy of our identity as children of God, empowered by the Holy Spirit to navigate the complexities of life with unwavering faith.

As we embark on the Triduum, let’s embrace the opportunity for self-reflection and spiritual growth. Just as Peter’s journey unfolded through encounters with Christ and the Holy Spirit, so too can our own journeys be marked by transformative encounters with the divine. Let’s heed the invitation to transition from seeking our worth in the world to finding our security in the unshakeable love of God. This Easter, may we rejoice in the profound love and grace that enable us to embrace our identity as cherished members of the body of Christ.

Hello, and welcome to Charisms for Catholics. My name is Jill Simons, and I’m the executive director at Many Parts Ministries, where we equip the Body of Christ by helping people learn about and discern their charisms, which is really another word for spiritual gifts. When you discern your charisms, you’re able to see how the Holy Spirit is already active in your life and where he is inviting you to further build the Church. Let’s dive in.

Hello, and welcome to holy Thursday. I am so excited to be heading into the Triduum. This is, like so many people, one of my favorite times of the year, and I just love getting to dive back into the story of Christ’s passion every single year. I have had such different experiences in different years that I just really wanted to speak to, like, Holy Week and the for the beginningest of beginners. So if that’s not you, maybe this isn’t the episode for you. I really want to speak to what Peter in the Passion of Christ shows us about identity and what my guess is that Peter would have had for an identity quotient going through this process. Right? Obviously, I have no idea what he actually would have gotten. But looking at him throughout this story, I think we see a point that a lot of us are probably at right now.

And that’s part of why I love drawing Peter specifically out of this story because there is, other than Paul, maybe, I don’t know if we have anybody in Scripture that has such a clear path of growth and assessment. And, of course, the thing that changes everything for Peter is first encountering the person of Christ, obviously changes everything for him, but the thing that changes everything at an even more fundamental level in him is, of course, his being filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. And we are not at that part of the story yet. We’re still earlier days as we are looking at the passion of Christ, and we’re seeing him really in his identity phase of development. So he’s been walking with Christ for these three years. He’s been an apostle. He loves Christ very much, and he draws a lot of, his kind of identity, his self esteem, things like that from being with Christ physically. But what we see in the Passion story is that when that physical proximity is no longer a factor, he reverts back to this kind of posture of fear.

This sense that he needs to prove and earn his worth and he needs to be able to do that in the eyes of people that don’t know Christ. So when he’s around the fire while Christ is being judged in the Sanhedrin, Peter then, of course, denies Jesus three times, and we all know this story. Right? But in that denial, what is he trying to do? Why does he deny Christ? Why would any of us deny Christ? And the answer, of course, is that in some way, we’re looking for safety coming through the world instead of coming from God. We are more aware of the power that is in the world than the power that is in the one who made it. And this is, of course, the situation Peter finds himself in. There’s random strangers who don’t have a lot of input and value in his life that are questioning him about his association with Jesus and the fear that he’s going to be associated with a man who is currently on trial and potentially have to give up his own life maybe or be imprisoned or something like that for that association looms larger in his mind than the reality of the fact that he is close to Jesus. And this is the situation for so many people, so many people who come to mass every Sunday, so many people who did all their sacraments, so many people who went to Catholic school, so many people that have been Catholic their whole life and would love, are happy to say so, engage in that when they are in the four walls of their church. But you go outside the proximity to Christ, the perceived proximity of Christ, I should say, because we know that he is with us everywhere.

My new, music obsession is the song “In the Room”, with Tasha Cobb Liddard because that is just so true about Christ and God himself being always in the room with us. When we’re when we leave that perceived proximity and your feet are held to the fire of are you a friend of Jesus? Are you one of those Catholics? What is our response to that? It’s a fair question. It’s a good thing to reflect on. Everybody’s probably at a slightly different point. But if your identity score, if you’ve taken our assessment, if your identity score was under 30, it’s more highly likely that that’s going to be a bigger question mark for you. What would you say? What would you do? What would you do specifically in the smallest moments that don’t seem to mean anything? When somebody uses the name of Christ as a curse word, when someone makes a flippant remark about the priesthood, when somebody acts like it would be childish to truly believe the Catholic faith? What is it that is your instinct to do in those moments? It’s it’s worth examining because it is so easy for us to look back and be like, Peter, you idiot. Like, you of course, you know Jesus, like, own up to it, be a man, all those things, but we have the exact same situations arise in our life, and the smaller, the more important almost. It’s could be so much easier to, like, okay.

I’m gonna embrace something huge because that’s gonna make make a stand for my faith. It’s so much harder to stand up in the very little moments that are gonna just make people think you’re weird. Just make people think that you’re, like, too extreme, make people feel uncomfortable around you, maybe you perceive that to be the case. These are our Peter moments, when we have the opportunity to choose where we are going to draw our safety from. That’s really what identity brings us, is that sense of security, that sense of safety. And so during the Passion, we see Peter in a similar position as so many of us, not thinking that our first round safety is gonna come from our association with Christ, thinking it’s a much safer play to fly under the radar, not ruffle any feathers, not make anybody feel uncomfortable, not be asked any awkward questions, and just sail through. But then we see something happen to Peter. After the Passion, after Christ is assumed into heaven, we see or I should say Christ ascends into heaven.

That was my pause there. It was like, wait. That’s Mary. After Christ ascends into heaven, we have Pentecost. And on Pentecost, we see Peter make the transition. Right? This guy too afraid to ruffle any feathers, to have anybody point him out, so afraid that he denies Christ, goes into the streets proudly proclaiming the truth of the Gospel in a variety of languages that he didn’t even know. And one of my one of my teachers, going through the passage on Pentecost with us, talks about how, Peter in really his first recorded words after Pentecost, the first recorded words of the first pope of the church, it translates loosely as, no, you guys, we swear we’re not drunk. This is the Holy Spirit.

He has that kind of abandon that people think he’s intoxicated. And in a way he is, he’s intoxicated by the Holy Spirit. He’s so filled and overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit that that is the the most real thing to him. And we see the way that he shifts in his action based on where his worth and his security is coming from. Because after Pentecost, he is all in. His security, 100% comes from the Holy Spirit. This is then Peter that sings in prison, that goes willingly to Rome to be martyred, who is willing to do whatever it is that God asks of him and what makes that possible. His encounter with the Holy Spirit, but more than that, his acceptance of God as the only foundation of his identity, his rejection of whatever sense of identity that he could derive from the world.

Whatever sense of safety he could derive from the world. That is what I’m gonna be reflecting on this Passion of Christ, and I just encourage you if that resonates with you. Maybe you are at a totally different point in your journey and that’s completely possible. Not everybody is at this point. I I talk to a lot of people on a regular basis where they’re really reflecting on leveling up with Christ, on listening to God in the minutiae of life and accepting whatever credible seemingly impossible things that God is asking them to do. That’s some people when then we have people everywhere in between, people who are at every stage of the spiritual journey. But I think most people, a lot of people I don’t even wanna say most. I think a lot of people are with Peter unsure of how to transition away from being like Peter.

And so that’s what I would love for you to specifically pray about today, Holy Thursday, tomorrow, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, even on Easter Sunday, asking the Holy Spirit, what lie am I believing that’s making me think that it’s safer to throw my hat in with the world than it is to throw my hat in with you. And when you receive that lie, whatever it is that you hear God sharing with you, you want to renounce that. You can just use the simple formula, in the name of Jesus I renounce the lie that whatever he shares with you. And then you wanna refill that with truth. So you wanna ask him what the truth is and use the reverse of that formula. So in the name of Jesus, I declare the truth that maybe it’s that you feel like the social pressure is overwhelming. Maybe you feel like what other people think is ultimately more important than what God thinks. Maybe you think that you don’t actually have any worth and therefore the only place that you can perceive to gain it is in the world.

Whatever the lie is, I know that the same Christ that died on Good Friday to save you from death wants just as much to save you from the lies poisoning your mind right now as he does save you from death and bring you into eternal life with him. A lot of people feel like God in heaven, being with God in heaven, the Resurrection is the whole and only story. It’s not. It’s a humongous, amazing, only time in history part of the story. It’s a big big part of the story. But when we fixate only on that, we can live in the lie that life here is supposed to, for lack of a better term, kind of suck. Like, that there is only gonna be good things when we get to heaven. And as one of my mentors famously says, then if you live that way, you aren’t even letting Jesus be your savior.

Death is your savior because it’s the only door by which you can access heaven. And this, of course, is a terrible lie. Death is not your savior. Death is what you were saved from, But you weren’t just saved for the next life, you are also being brought into relationship with God for this life and that should change how you live every day of your life now. But if it hasn’t, that should be a diagnostic tool. That should show us that something is wrong somewhere. Not that there’s something wrong with you, not that you have not done something you’re supposed to do, but that there is a blockage to what you should be naturally experiencing as a Christian. God wants to move you from your safety being rooted in the shifting sands of the world to the safety being rooted in the rock of him.

And that is why it is so cool that Peter is then invited to become the rock upon which the Church is built as the first Pope. The man who was the definition of built on shifting sand transitions into becoming the rock grounded in God on which the Church comes to flourish. This should give us an incredible amount of hope because nobody’s worse off than Peter was when he denied Jesus three times during the Passion, and this is an example of what God’s grace can and does do in us when we let it. So rather than looking at the story as something that happened in the past that doesn’t have anything to do with you, I want you, if you empathize with Peter at all, to just really reflect on the transition that happens in him then the transition that God is also inviting you to make into deriving all your safety, all your value from the unshakable foundation of his eternal love. I hope that you have a very happy Easter and that you remember that we are always an Easter people serving out of the great joy and great love shared with us by our father.

Thanks so much for joining us on today’s episode of Charisms for Catholics. If you would like to learn more about your charisms or begin your own discernment journey, head to our website at manypartsministries.com where you can download our free pdf guide to all 24 charisms and also begin your own journey by taking our charism assessment.