I do not have a good opinion of St. Peter.
He seemed cocky and self-assured. He presumed to know things he didn't, and was arrogant enough to tell Jesus what he could and could not do. Having the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven seemed to have gone to his head.
Surely Jesus could have picked someone better to lead the Apostles and the early Church, right?
I wonder if the things I see in Peter--cockiness, smugness, and arrogance--are simply the negative aspects of myself that I am projecting on him. Perhaps I'm just jealous: I wish I was the one who could decide who is in and who is out. But if I never recognize these shadows, then I will never see Peter as a teacher, and I will miss a valuable lesson he is trying to teach me: what faith in Jesus Christ means.
Peter's statement of faith was not just his proclamation "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16) Rather, his true statement of faith wasn't until after Jesus' Resurrection:
He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” (John 21:17)
This is the humility of a saint: to admit his love to a man he denied (and to some extent betrayed) aloud, saying "Yes, I do love you." Peter's response to meeting the Risen Christ encourages me to be humble: to be honest about my limitations, recognize the parts of me that I hide from myself and others, admit when I'm wrong, and seek forgiveness.
Like St. Peter, I need such humility to say "Yes Lord, I do love you." That is the rock upon which the Church is truly built. Otherwise, these words will be in vain.
So, St. Peter, forgive me for my cockiness, smugness, and arrogance. Forgive me for thinking that I know what was in your heart when I can't even admit to what's in my own. Teach me to let go of the high opinions I have of myself and the low opinions I have of others. Teach me instead how to love as Jesus taught you.