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Sitting and Listening on the Chair of St. Peter

Matthew Harrison

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Reading John’s blogspot on Psalm 23, I couldn’t help but be drawn to today’s feast – the Chair of St. Peter. The Lord, the Good Shepherd, built his church on Peter the rock, and has created a succession of shepherds to watch over us, his flock.
Speaking to his apostles, Christ said:
“’But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” (Mt 15-18)
I wanted to focus this blog entry on the fact that Peter’s answer was revealed to him by God the Father. How was it revealed? Did he have some kind of inclination? Did he sense something? Was there something supernatural that occurred?
I often think of the times when I have an inclination to do something. It’s not a voice, or something audible, but it’s a feeling I should do it. I’m sure you’ve had such an experience: you see someone carrying some parcels and offer to open the door for them, you see someone lost and struggling with a map and you offer them directions. Before you make the act, you may get a little a feeling prompting you to do something and so you do. (Perhaps it’s what we call conscience?)
I wonder if Peter experienced this? Over his time with him, had Peter been thinking about Jesus as more than a wise teacher? Did he start to get a feeling that yes, he is the Messiah? Then at the moment when Christ asked the question, Peter proclaimed what God the Father had been revealing to him?
Or was it the case that Peter had a sudden ‘a-ha’ moment, firmly and faithfully proclaiming “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God”?
We can only speculate.
However, what we can draw out of this is a reminder, particularly during this season of Lent, to stop and listen to God. How do we know what God wants of us if we never stop and consider what he is asking of us? And I’m not talking about reciting prayers to him, but stopping and sitting silently, letting him do the talking.
Today is also an excellent reminder to always pray for Peter’s successor (another decent habit to pick up during and continue after Lent). Pope Benedict XVI can always use our prayers, and we should make his needs, intentions, and health a regular part of our daily intentions. May he, and all those who take the Chair of Peter always guide the Church faithfully!
St. Peter, pray for us!

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