Today is the Feast of Saint Peter in Chains, but you would not know it by looking at your 1962 missal. It’s missing from mine entirely, not even in the section for feasts of certain countries or congregations (mine is the 2004 edition Baronius). Luckily, I have a tattered 1948 I found on eBay years ago, for just such days. The FSSP now celebrates today as a Patronal Feast.
EPISTLE Acts 12: 1-11
In those days, Herod the king stretched forth his hands, to afflict some of the church. And he killed James, the brother of John, With the sword. And seeing that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to take up Peter also. Now it was in the days of the Azymes. And when he had apprehended him, he cast him into prison, delivering him to four files of soldiers, to be kept, intending, after the pasch, to bring him forth to the people. Peter therefore was kept in prison. But prayer was made without ceasing by the Church unto God for him. And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by him and a light shined in the room. And he, striking Peter on the side, raised him up, saying: “Arise quickly.” And the chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said to him: “Gird thyself and put on thy sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him: “Cast thy garment about thee and follow me,” And going out, he followed him. And he knew not that it was true which was done by the angel: but thought he saw a vision. And passing through the first and the second ward, they came to the iron gate that leadeth to the city which of itself opened to them. And going out, they passed on through one street. And immediately the angel departed from him. And Peter coming to himself, said: “Now I know in very deed that the Lord hath sent his angel and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.”
Did you catch the manner by which Peter was freed? It’s Acts 12:5:
Peter therefore was kept in prison. But prayer was made without ceasing by the Church unto God for him.
Et Petrus quidem servabatur in carcere. Oratio autem fiebant sine intermissione ab Ecclesia ad Deum pro eo.
Pope St. Peter was imprisoned, under heavy guard, and he was freed by… prayer. This is our role in the current crisis. Prayers without ceasing. I mentioned a gloss on this in the latest Barnhardt Podcast. We must pray, we must find yet more time for prayer, we must associate with others who pray, and we must take care to avoid those who we suspect do not. Most especially, do not follow anyone you suspect might be giving opinions or advice while not in the State of Grace.
Making prayer plentiful in your life means finding distinct places or activities where it is easier to expand time in contemplation. This means time outside of your set prayers, and it is some of the most rewarding prayer there is. Don’t miss out.
The Sacraments, daily Rosary, Eucharistic Adoration… all are essential; when you know, you know. Finding the little way, prayers during chores, radio off in the car, turn off your phone one hour a day, take an extra ten minute walk, stay an extra five minutes after Mass, and get to Daily Mass as often as possible. He is always so glad you came, and He won’t forget you did. Soon you will be that prayer warrior that everyone turns to when they need help, even the pagans tbh. When you have so many people to pray for that you don’t think you can pray that much, a simple Ave will do, or even, “Virgin Most Powerful, pray for us.”
We are the Church Militant. We need to start acting like it.
“After King Herod Agrippa had put to death St. James the Greater ten years after Christ’s crucifixion, he decided to placate the Jews still more by arresting Peter, Prince of the Apostles. The Acts tell us that while Peter was in prison, “prayer was being made to god for him by the Church without ceasing.” Finally, one night, an angel awakened the prisoner. The chains fell from his hands, he followed the angel safely past the sentries, and the iron gate of the jail opened of its own accord. This miracle confirmed the divine promise: “If two of you shall agree on earth about anything at all for which they ask, it shall be done for them by My Father in heaven” (Matt. 18:19). It is these chains, now preserved in Rome, that are venerated today.“