Thursday, February 22, 2007

Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

It seems strange to have a feast the day after Ash Wednesday, but today is the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter. The collect for the feast says it all:

All-powerful Father, You have built Your Church on the rock of Saint Peter's confession of faith. May nothing divide or weaken our unity in faith and love. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
But, since this is my blog I'll add something from the Divine Office for the feast, from Matins, from a sermon by St. Leo the Great:
But when he presses the disciples to say what they think themselves, the first to confess his faith in the Lord is the one who is first in rank among the apostles.

Peter says: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus replies, Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father who is in heaven. You are blessed, he means, because my Father has taught you. You have not been deceived by earthly opinion, but have been enlightened by inspiration from heaven. It was not flesh and blood that pointed me out to you, but the one whose only-begotten Son I am.

He continues: And I say to you. In other words, as my Father has reveled to you my godhead, so I in my turn make known to you your preeminence. You are Peter: though I am the inviolable rock, the cornerstone that makes both one, the foundation apart from which no one can lay any other, yet you also are a rock, for you are given solidity by my strength, so that which is my very own because of my power is common between us through your participation.
I should mention, of course, that I take this as one of my Name Days. Being named after Peter has been a source of many moments of reflection over the course of my life.

Image from Catholic Culture.