Day 9: Pull Up A Chair

BY JIM BRODERICK KING | February 22nd, 2024
Today’s readings

The Chair of St. Peter – an odd Catholic feast today celebrating an object, albeit one with powerful symbolism pointing to the authority of St. Peter. When I consider the theme “it’s time to refresh,” I don’t picture Peter relaxing in that chair and attending to his self-care; that chair is a symbol evoking the anxiety and weight of leading a great institution from its foundation. Frankly, I have great pity for Peter.

I more easily identify with the Simon Peter who shows himself a bit thick-headed when his Rabbi shares a parable, who rages in violence to defend Jesus at Gethsemane or who flees in denial when tensions rise on the path to the Cross. Yet Jesus entrusts this chair to Peter to become the foundation and leader of the future Church, not ignoring his foibles, but recognizing that Peter has come to know Jesus’ true nature through experience and relationship. 

Like Peter, I can be a bit of a wavering, unpredictable, anxious dolt when it comes to following Jesus. I often ponder what Jesus wants to entrust to me despite my flaws and idiosyncrasies. Today on Ignatian Spirituality Project retreats, Jesus is inviting me to take a chair in a circle with those who are recovering from the struggle and trauma of addiction and homelessness. Jesus asks me to sit across from someone with very different lived experience than myself and to share our places of anxiety, pain and hope. Sitting in those chairs I begin to understand that we all may fall short in our human expectations, but God really desires to reveal Himself to us. Like Peter, my retreat companions and I refresh our spirits and shepherd each other as we sit in those chairs together so that, in the authority of our own experience, we can show each other what we know of the Incarnation.

For Reflection: (Use these, if helpful):

  1. What are your flaws or idiosyncrasies that you feel make you unworthy of God’s trust?
  2. What role or relationships is God calling you to despite or even because of your failings?
  3. How does your own life experience allow you to be closer to others? How does the life experience of others reveal the Incarnation to you?



1 reply
  1. sonja
    sonja says:

    I think living the life of a tramp helps me to connect to the homeless on the streets. I can always learn more from them. When we are open we can always learn from others no matter who they are.
    I would say my biggest failing is being judgemental. So I try to understand others first.


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