I once heard Dr. Scott Hahn say, regarding echoes of Truth throughout the Old and New Testaments, that “history does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
One small instance of “rhyming” I’m personally fond of has to do with charcoal. I’ve heard this connection mentioned by several Scripture scholars, who pointed out that two significant events in the life of St. Peter happened beside charcoal fires.
It was beside a charcoal fire where Peter denied Jesus three times (John 18:18 and 18:25-27). “Are you not a disciple of this Man?” “I am not!” But didn’t I see you with Him in the garden…? “No!” Three times Peter said it, cowering beside a charcoal fire in fear. When Peter wept bitterly after hearing the cock crow (Luke 22:62).
I wonder if he wiped his face on a shirt sleeve saturated with charcoal scent…
Three times Peter was asked; three times he denied. And Jesus, ever merciful, presented a second chance.
It was after the Lord’s Resurrection, and the disciples had been out in their boat. “When theylanded, they saw a charcoal fire…” (John 21:9). They all ate together, and then Jesus asked: “‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me…?’ ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love You.’ At which Jesus said ‘feed My lambs.’” Jesus went on, sitting by the charcoal fire,to ask Peter two more times… Do you love Me?
Three times Peter was asked; three times he said yes. Jesus, ever merciful, presented a second chance.
I wonder if the smell of charcoal carried a different memory for Peter after that.
Our God is the God of second chances. He gives us opportunities to find the rhymein history as well as in our personal lives. Circumstances do not repeat themselves, exactly. But we are given chance after chance to say the one word that will rhyme with the plans of God. He does not put the word in our mouths; He has given us free will.
And so, He waits. He waits for the one word that will rhyme. None of our “nos” will ever rhyme with the plans of God.
In His mercy, He waits…
Stay with Me, child, as I unfold the rhyme.
Stay with Me; it will all make sense, in time.
You think that things are nothing but a mess.
But watch what happens, child, when you say _____.