THE CHAIR OF ST PETER:
Insight vid + text on the meaning of the feast.
Dear friends in Christ, Happy Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. Below you have an explanation of the meaning of today’s feast taken from F. Fernández-Carvajal, “In Conversation with God, vol. 6”: an excellent bestseller, multitranslated 7-volume collection of daily meditations. Happy reading and meditation.
+++EXCERPT OF MEDITATION BEGINS HERE+++
This feast celebrates the fact that Peter established his See in Rome. Christians were known to have celebrated this feast before the Fourth Century. The original name found on the ancient calendars was Natale Petri de Cathedra and the original date was 22 February.
The Lord said to Simon Peter: I have prayed that your faith may not fail; and you in your turn must strengthen your brothers (Entrance Antiphon Luke 22:32).
The Chair of Saint Peter refers to his seat of authority. The Fathers of the Church used this term as a symbol of a bishop’s authority, paying special regard to the Bishop of Rome. In the Third Century, Saint Cyprian wrote: Peter holds primacy so as to show that Christ’s Church is one, that his Chair is one. He goes on to emphasize the matter of unity with these words: God is one. The Lord is one. The Church is one. The Chair founded by Christ is one (St Cyprian, Epistle 43, 5).
For many years, the people of Rome had on display a wooden chair which Saint Peter reputedly sat upon. Saint Damasus moved this relic to the baptistry of the newly built Vatican in the fourth century. The chair was seen and honoured by thousands of pilgrims from all over Christendom. At the time when the present Basilica of Saint Peter was erected, it was thought advisable to preserve the chair in bronze and gold.
Before the fourth century, in the earliest liturgical calendars of the Church one finds this feast, Natale Petri de Cathedra, the celebration of the institution of the papacy. This feast highlights the fact that the Bishop of Rome has jurisdiction throughout the entire world. It has been a long-standing custom to commemorate the consecration of bishops in their respective dioceses. Yet these commemorations pertained solely to the limits of each diocese. The Chair of Peter, however, is unique in that it extends to all Christianity and has done so from the first centuries. As Saint Augustine has pointed out on a sermon for this feast: “Our forefathers gave the name ‘Chair’ to this feast so that we might remember that the Prince of the Apostles was entrusted with the ‘Chair’ of the episcopate (St Augustine, Sermon 15 on the Saints).” We should be sure to review the quality of our love and obedience to the Pope.
Dear friends, our “LOVE FOR THE POPE IS A GOOD INDICATOR OF OUR LOVE FOR CHRIST. THIS LOVE AND VENERATION NEEDS TO BE SPECIFIED IS DAILY PRAYER AND SACRIFICE FOR HIS INTENTIONS: Dominus conservet eum et vivificet eum et beatum faciat eum in terra... May the Lord preserve him and give him life and make him blessed on earth, and not deliver him up to the will of his enemies. We should show this love in real life: whenever we make a trip for apostolic purposes, when we are sick, whenever people are attacking the Church, when we are introducing our friends to the Faith. “Catholic, apostolic, Roman! I want you to be very Roman, ever anxious to make your ‘pilgrimage’ to Rome, videre Petrum – ‘to see Peter’ (St. Josemaria, The Way, 520).”
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