musical chairs at 12,000 feet
"To the elders among you I, a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and sharer in the glory that is to be revealed, make this appeal." —1 Peter 5:1
A chair is a symbol of authority. That's why we call the head of a meeting the chairperson and why the Church has named this special day "The Chair of Peter." Catholics believe Peter and his successors are called by the Spirit to chair the meeting of God's people (Mt 16:18). We also believe that, if we do things God's way, according to His order, we will see the glory and the power of God. If we listen to Peter's successor, the pope, and let him lead us, we will attack the gates of hell and the devil's strongholds will not prevail against us (Mt 16:18).
When we are under authority through our obedience to God's instrument, the pope, we are in authority. Then whatever the Church shall "declare bound on earth shall be bound in heaven;" whatever the Church shall "declare loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Mt 16:19).
It's a matter of sitting in the right chair. For example, when the pilot, co-pilot, navigator, flight attendants, and passengers are sitting in the right chairs, the airplane will fly effectively and safely. However, if everyone played musical chairs, the plane would crash. Let's keep our seat belts fastened and stay in our chairs. Let's joyfully submit to the authority of the pope.
Prayer: Father, thank You for giving me parents, pastors, and popes. Thank You for sending leaders into my life. May I listen to You in them.
Promise: "When the chief Shepherd appears you will win for yourselves the unfading crown of glory." —1 Pt 5:4
Praise: A serious dispute in the early Church about eating with Gentiles ended abruptly when the opposite party listened to St. Peter's testimony and submitted to his authority (Acts 11:17-18).
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tapes on The Pope's Vision of God's Plan on audio AV 50-3 or video V-50.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Giles H. Pater, August 18 8, 2004
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 23, 2004