THE SECOND EPISTLE OF S. PETER THE APOSTLE. CHAPTER I.
16 For we have not followed cunningly-devised fables, when we made known to you the power and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ: but having been made eye-witness of his majesty.
17 For he received from God the Father, honour and glory: this voice coming down to him from the excellent glory: This is my be loved Son, in whom I have pleased myself, hear ye him.
18 And this voice we heard brought from heaven, when we were with him in the holy mount.
The Apostle again grounds his claims to be believed, as to all that he taught about the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, on his having been himself with Him, and on what he had himself seen and heard. But how much was there of our Lord's life known only to Mary who dwelt with Him alone for thirty years. How many mysteries were there of which she alone was eye-witness, and wherein she alone had part. Some of these she made known to the Apostles and Evangelists, and through them, especially through S. Luke, they are revealed to us. But how many still remain concealed in the consciousness of Mary's soul.
15 And account the long-suffering of our Lord, salvation; as also our most dear brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, hath written to you:
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction.
17 You therefore, brethren, knowing these things before: take heed, lest being led aside by the error of the unwise, you fall from your own steadfastness.
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and unto the day of eternity. Amen.
S. Peter says that in all the Epistles of S. Paul, as well as in the rest of Holy Scripture, there are certain things hard to be understood, which, without sure guidance and explanation, may be easily taken in a perverse sense. He does not tell us what these hard things are, much less does he give the true sense of them, or explain them in this or in his former Epistle. Nor do any of the other sacred writers of the New Testament do this in their Gospels or Epistles. Hence, clearly, the right rule for interpreting Scripture is not contained in the written word. And yet the Apostle bids Christians take heed, remain steadfast, and grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Of what, then, must they take heed ? The Apostle had before laid down as a first principle, which the faithful should well understand, that all that the sacred penmen wrote was under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost; and that consequently Holy Scripture is of no mere private interpretation ; but, to be known in its true sense, it must have a like infallible authority to explain it. [12 Pet. i. 20,21] Hence S. Peter here bids those whom he ad dresses beware of their own private judgment of Holy Scripture, as well as the mere private judgment of others on its sense, lest they should be led aside into error and folly. To what, then, does he bid them remain steadfast ? To the teaching that had been orally preached to them by the Church. And how must they grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ ? Especially by continuing to listen with docile faith and attention to the instructions thus orally delivered to them, and to the explanations of those hard passages in the written word, that should be thus given to them by the teaching Church, which has the promise of the ever-abiding assistance of the Holy Ghost. All that the Church teaches with regard to the Blessed Virgin Mary is here included. The silence about Mary in the written word is to some one of those hard things, which by many is perverted to wrong conclusions, and to their own spiritual loss.