Quote/s of the Day – 22 February – The Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter,at Antioch
“He gave way to sin so that, remembering his own failure and the kindness of the Lord, he might testify to others, a grace of philanthropy in accord with the divine design conceived by God. The fall had been permitted to the one who was going to see himself entrusted with the Church, the Pillar of the Church, the Harbour of the Faith; the fall had been permitted to Peter, the Doctor of the Universe, in order that, the forgiveness received, might remain the foundation of love for others.”
St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Yes, the Apostle chosen to be His co-worker, merited to share, the same Name as Christ. They built the same Building together – Peter does the planting, the Lord gives the increase and it is the Lord, too, Who sends those, who will do the watering (cf 1 Cor 3:6f).”
St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church
“Nothing escaped the Wisdom and Power of Christ, the elements of nature lay at His service, spirits obeyed Him, Angels served Him. … And yet, out of all the world, Peter alone was chosen to stand at the head, for the calling of all the peoples and the oversight of all the Apostles and Fathers of the Church.”
Saint Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father and Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 22 February – The Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter,at Antioch – Readings: 1 Peter 1-7, Matthew 16:13-19.
“Upon this rock I will build my church” – Matthew 16:18
REFLECTION – “Though the earth and all who dwell in it quake, I have set firm its pillars” (Ps 74,40). All the Apostles are pillars of the earth but, at their head, the two whose feast we are celebrating. They are the two pillars who support the Church with their teaching, their prayer and the example of their steadfastness. The Lord himself strengthened these pillars. For at first they were weak, completely incapable of supporting either themselves or others. And in this the Lord’s great design appears – if they had always been strong, people could have thought their strength came from themselves. That is why the Lord wanted to show ,what they were capable of before strengthening them, so that all might know their strength came from God… Peter was thrown to the ground by the voice of a mere servant… and the other pillar was very weak too: “I was once a blasphemer and persecutor and an arrogant man” (1Tm 1,13)…
Hence we must ought to praise these Saints with all our heart – our fathers who bore such trials for the Lord’s sake and who persevered with such determination. It is nothing to persevere in joy, happiness and peace. But this is what is great: to be stoned, scourged, struck for Christ (2Cor 11,25) and in all this, to persevere with Christ. With Paul, it is a great thing to be cursed and to bless, to be persecuted and to endure, to be slandered and to console, to be like the world’s rubbish and to draw glory from it (1Cor 4,12-13)…, And what shall we say of Peter?,, Even if he had undergone nothing for Christ, it would be sufficient to celebrate him today, in that he was crucified for Him… He well knew where He Whom he loved, He Whom he longed for was… his cross has been his road to heaven.” – St Aelred of Rielvaux (1110-1167) Cistercian Monk (Sermon 18, for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul PL 195, 298).
PRAYER – O God, Who when giving blessed Peter, Your Apostle, the keys of the heavenly Kingdom, bestowed on him the power of binding and loosing, grant that by the help of his intercession we may be delivered from the bonds of our sins. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
The Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter at Antioch, where the disciples were first entitled “Christians.” The Chair/Throne or Cathedra itself is a relic conserved in St Peter’s Basilica although it seems not to be the original Chair. The Chair which was enclosed in a sculpted gilt bronze casing designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and constructed between 1647 and 1653 is a later Chair.
Saint Peter, before he went to Rome, founded the See of Antioch is attested by Eusebius, Origen, St Clemnt, St Jerome, St Innocent, Pope Gelasius, in his Roman Council, St John Chrysostom and others.
It was right and just that the Prince of the Apostles should take this City under his particular care and inspection, which was then the Capital of the East and in which, the Faith took roots, so early and so deeply, as to give birth in it, to the name of Christians.
St Chrysostom says, that St Peter made there a long stay while St Gregory the Great says, that St Peter was the Bishop of Antioch for seven years – not that he resided there permanently but only that he had a particular care over that Church. If he sat for twenty-five years at Rome, the date of his establishing his Chair at Antioch. must be within three years after our Saviour’s Ascension; for in that supposition, he must have gone to Rome in the second year of Claudius.
The festival of St Peter’s Chair in general, Natale Petri de Cathedrâ, is marked on this day in the most ancient calendar extant, made in the time of Pope Liberius, about the year 354. It also occurs in Gregory’s Sacramentary and in all the Martyrologies. It was kept in France in the sixth century, as appears from the Council of Tours and from that of Le Conte.
In the first ages ,it was customary, especially in the East, for every Christian to keep the Anniversary of his Baptism, on which he renewed his Baptismal Vows and gave thanks to God for his Heavenly Adoption: this they called their spiritual Birth-day – worthy indeed of renewal in our times! The Bishop,s in like manner, kept the Anniversary of their own Consecration, as appears from four sermons of St Leo on the Anniversary of his accession or assumption to the Pontifical dignity and this was frequently continued by the people after their decease, out of respect and love for their memory. St Leo says, we ought to celebrate the Chair of St Peter with no less joy than the day of his Martyrdom, for, as in this, he was exalted to a Throne of glory in Heaven, so, by the former, he was installed as Head of the Church on earth.
On this festival we are especially bound to adore and thank the Divine Goodness for the establishment and propagation of His Church and earnestly to pray, that in His Mercy, He may preserve the same, that His Name may be glorified by all nations and by all hearts, to the boundaries of the earth, for His Divine honour and the salvation of souls, framed to His Divine Image and the price of his adorable Blood.
The Church of Christ is His spiritual Kingdom – He is not only the Architect and Founder but continues to govern it and by His Spirit, to animate its members to the end of the world, as its invisible Head: although He has left in St Peter and his successors, a Vicar, or lieutenant, as a visible head, with an established hierarchy for its exterior government.
If we love Him and desire His honour, can we cease weeping and praying, that by His sweet Omnipotent grace, He may subdue all the enemies of His Church, both inside it and without it, converting to it all infidels and apostates? In its very bosom, sinners fight against Him! Although these continue as His members, they are dead members because He lives not in them by His grace and charity, reigns not in their hearts, animates them not with His Spirit. He will indeed always live by grace and sanctity in many members of His Mystical Body, fighting against the heretics and apostates who seek the destruction of His Church.
Let us pray that by the destruction of the tyranny of sin, all souls may subject themselves to the reign of His Holy Love.
Good Jesus! for Your mercy’s sake, hear us in this prayer, above all other petitions, never suffer us to be separated from You by forfeiting your holy love: may we remain always rooted and grounded in Your charity, as is the will of Your Father. Amen.
St Peter, Pray for Holy Mother Church and for us all!