Saint Peter’s Chair at Antioch

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Saint Peter’s Chair at Antioch

(ca. 36-43)

That Saint Peter, before he went to Rome, founded the see of Antioch is attested by many Saints of the earliest times, including Saint Ignatius of Antioch and Saint Clement, Pope. It was just that the Prince of the Apostles should take under his particular care and surveillance this city, which was then the capital of the East, and where the faith so early took such deep roots as to give birth there to the name of Christians. There his voice could be heard by representatives of the three largest nations of antiquity — the Hebrews, the Greeks and the Latins. Saint Chrysostom says that Saint Peter was there for a long period; Saint Gregory the Great, that he was seven years Bishop of Antioch. He did not reside there at all times, but governed its apostolic activity with the wisdom his mandate assured.

If as tradition affirms, he was twenty-five years in Rome, the date of his establishment at Antioch must be within three years after Our Saviour’s Ascension, for he would have gone to Rome in the second year of Claudius. He no doubt left Jerusalem when the persecution which followed Saint Steven’s martyrdom broke out (Acts 8:1), and remained in Antioch until he escaped miraculously from prison and from the hands of Herod Agrippa, while in Jerusalem in 43 at the time of the Passover. (Acts 12) Knowing he would be pursued to Antioch, his well-known center of activity, he went to Rome.

In the first ages it was customary, especially in the East, for every Christian to observe the anniversary of his Baptism. On that day each one renewed his baptismal vows and gave thanks to God for his heavenly adoption. That memorable day they regarded as their spiritual birthday. The bishops similarly kept the anniversary of their consecration, as appears from four sermons of Saint Leo the Great on the anniversary of his accession to the pontifical dignity. These commemorations were frequently continued by the people after their bishops’ decease, out of respect for their memory. The feast of the Chair of Saint Peter was instituted from very early times. Saint Leo says we should celebrate the Chair of Saint Peter with no less joy than the day of his martyrdom, for as in the latter he was exalted to a throne of glory in heaven, by the former he was installed Head of the Church on earth.

Reflection: On this festival we are especially bound to adore and thank the divine Goodness for the establishment and propagation of His Church, and to pray earnestly that in His mercy He will preserve it and extend its dominion, so that His name may be glorified by all nations and all hearts even to the boundaries of the earth.

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 2.

Meditations for Each Day of Lent by St. Thomas Aquinas – First Week in Lent Sunday

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Meditations for Each Day of Lent
by St. Thomas Aquinas

First Week in Lent Sunday

It was fitting that Christ should be tempted

Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted
by the devil. Matt. iv. i.

Christ willed to be tempted:

1. That He might assist us against our own temptations. St. Gregory says, ” That our Redeemer, who had come on earth to be killed, should will to be tempted was not unworthy of Him. It was indeed but just that he should overcome our temptations by His own, in the same way that He had come to overcome our death by His death.”

2. To warn us that no man, however holy he be, should think himself safe and free from temptation. Whence again His choosing to be tempted after His baptism, about which St. Hilary says, “The devil’s wiles are especially directed to trap us at times when we have recently been made holy, because the devil desires no victory so much as a victory over the world of grace.” Whence too, the scripture warns us, Son, when thou comest to the service of God, stand in justice and in fear, and prepare thy soul for temptation (Ecclus. ii. i).

3. To give us an example how we should over come the temptations of the devil, St. Augustine says, “Christ gave Himself to the devil to be tempted, that in the matter of our overcoming those same temptations He might be of service not only by His help but by His example too.”

4. To fill and saturate our minds with confidence in His mercy. For we have not a high-priest who cannot have compassion on our infirmities, but one tempted in all things, like as we are, without sin (Heb. iv. 15). 

INSTRUCTION ON THE FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT

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INSTRUCTION ON THE FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT
INVOCABIT

The Church’s Year
Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine

This Sunday is called Invocabit, because the Introit of the Mass begins with this word, which is taken from the ninetieth psalm, wherein we are urged to confidence in God, who willingly hears the prayer of the penitent:

INTROIT He shall call upon me, and I will hear him; I will deliver him, and glorify him; I will fill him with length of days. (Ps. XC. 15-16.) He that dwelleth in the aid of the Most high shall abide under the protection of the God of heaven. (Ps. XC. 1.) Glory be to the Father, etc.

COLLECT O God who dost purify Thy Church by the yearly fast of Lent; grant to Thy household that what we strive to obtain from Thee by abstinence, by good works we may secure. Through our Lord, etc.

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