The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter reminds us of important Christian values we are called to live every day.
Today is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. While it might seem strange for an inanimate piece of furniture to have a commemorative day, it’s very symbolic and significant.
St. Peter was “the rock” on which the Catholic Church was built, and there is an actual chair in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican that represents the authority of the apostles.
The chair of St. Peter has a two-fold meaning. But it also makes us think about the regular, common chairs that we use in our every day lives, and how they have a role to play in pointing to and reinforcing our Catholic values …
If ever there were a chair that encouraged compassion and selflessness, it’s the germ-filled seat on the bus, subway, or train at rush hour. When you slump into a last remaining chair at the end of a long day at work, and someone in need comes along and you offer up your place, you are certainly “loving thy neighbor.”
Sadly, this most basic form of social etiquette is becoming more and more rare. It’s something we need to remind ourselves and our children to consider. Giving up our chair for another is an act of kindness and builds a more beautiful, compassionate world.
On the surface there’s nothing very remarkable about the restaurant chair. People come and sit to enjoy a meal, and then off they go. But do they think of tucking their chair back in? Increasingly, this is a habit many ignore, but one that shows consideration and thoughtfulness towards the wait staff and other patrons in the restaurant.
Growing up, there was always my father’s chair placed at the head of the table and my mother’s at the other end. While some families don’t follow this tradition today, it was a visual reminder that my parents were the heads of the household, and they deserved honor and respect, as the fifth commandment tells us.
Some families will set a place at the table on important occasions, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, for loved ones they’ve lost. Even when it’s a little tight for comfortable seating, it’s a beautiful gesture of remembrance for the dead, and allows us to think of those in heaven while we’re here on earth.
Sometimes it’s hard to place ourselves in another’s position, especially when running around trying to cross off our to-do lists. But when we see others in need of assistance, or just trying to navigate a busy crowd, it’s our duty to help them. Whether that’s making room for a wheelchair on a crowded bus, or keeping a path unobstructed so those who use devices to get around can travel to their destinations with ease.
Leaving “room at the table” for everyone is a reminder that being aware of and helping the vulnerable is one of the most important aspects of being human.