February 22: Lent and the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

As we know from experience, Lent is a time to reconsider the path we are taking in life and to answer God’s invitation to return to Him with our whole heart, mind, and soul. Pope Francis, in his Ash Wednesday homily last week said, “Lent is not just about the little sacrifices we make, but about discerning where our hearts are directed: toward God or toward ourselves?”

The Holy Father added: “The journey of Lent is an exodus from slavery to freedom, and we need to be attentive to the easy temptations along that journey, including yearning for the past, or hindered by unhealthy attachments, held back by the seductive snares of our sins, by the false security of money and appearances, or by the paralysis of our discontents. To embark on this Lenten journey, we have to unmask these illusions. The journey is not based on our own strength. Heartfelt conversion, with the deeds and practices that express it, is possible only if it begins with the primacy of God’s work and through His grace. God is inviting us to return to Him, to rediscover the joy of being loved.”

Let us pray. “Lord, Lent is a time for us to review our lives, with all our failings and blessings; it is a time to take a personal inventory of how we have loved or failed to love you – and all those whose paths have crossed our paths. Too often, we forget that the people around us are as fragile or even more fragile than we are; we forget that we need to be careful, compassionate, and gentle with those we meet along the way. So, Lord, open our eyes and ears, our minds and hearts to those around us; wake us to their presence and their needs and keep us gentle and fill us with patience. Help us help them rediscover the joy that is found in you. Through your Son, who lives and reigns with you forever and ever. Amen.”


February 22nd marks the Feast of the Chair of Peter. Lest we think this is about a piece of furniture, what we are celebrating today is Christ’s choice of St. Peter to sit in His place as the servant-authority of the whole Church. The first occupant of the Chair of Peter stumbled a bit, denying Jesus three times and hesitating to welcome Gentiles into the new Church. Some of its later occupants have also stumbled, sometimes even failed scandalously. Still, the office endures as a sign of the long tradition we cherish and as a focus for the universal Church. The latest successor of St. Peter and Vicar of Christ, Pope Francis recently sent this hopeful message to the Religious Education Conference in Los Angeles: https://thedeaconsbench.com/take-and-read-pope-franciss-message-to-l-a-religious-ed-congress/


Meanwhile, some good news out of Texas: https://catholicsentinel.org/Content/News/Nation-and-World/Article/Texas-Catholics-press-through-winter-storm-to-help-neighbors/2/34/41838

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