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Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus rescues Peter and says: “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” When we live wrapped up around our own egos and their fears, we inhabit the narrow space of the pusilla anima (the little soul), but when we forget our awful seriousness, when we live in a risky freedom, we inhabit the infinite expanse of the magna anima (the great soul).

Holy people are those who realize that they participate in something and Someone infinitely greater than themselves. Far from crushing them, this awareness makes them great. In a hundred ways, our theological and spiritual tradition attempts to cultivate the great soul, to lure us into that wonderful conviction that it is not about us.

John’s Gospel says that in his youth, Peter labored under the illusion that he could control his life: he walked where he liked and he tied his own belt. But in his old age—the time of wisdom—he will realize that his life has been under the direction of a Power that his ego cannot begin to manipulate. In taking him where he does not want to go, this Power will introduce him to the magna anima.