The Throne of Truth
What is the Throne of Truth? Well, as I was growing up as a little boy the earliest recollection of someone in a chair of truth who spoke with some guidance and authority was my grandfather Gus Phalen. Anytime we would walk in the house he was normally/usually sitting in his comfortable rocking chair, reading the paper, and smoking a Camel non-filter cigarette. He had wisdom because he used to say, “At one time, camels carried wise-men, today, wise-men carry camels!” Well, there ya go! Kidding aside, Gus was always ready to hear what we were doing and when needed, give us some down to earth advice.
In the Church that Throne of Truth is the Chair of St. Peter and it has nothing to do with furniture.
According to the Gospel of Matthew 16:15-18, Jesus asks the Apostles, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter is the only Apostle that provides the correct response, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus in reply says to Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father”. Peter’s answer is heavenly inspired! From that point on Peter is singled out among the apostles to be the rock of Christ’s Church on earth. According to Jesus, the Church will be so rock solid that “the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it”.
Following the Resurrection, Jesus confirms Peter’s primacy over the other apostles as well as authority over His Church. In John 21:15-17, Jesus gives Peter the keys to the kingdom, telling him: to “Feed my lambs…. Feed my sheep”. This mission with authority and responsibility given to Peter, is planned to be passed on to each of his successors. Jesus did not intend for the Church to end with Peter.
St. Peter takes on the role assigned by Christ beginning in the Upper Room. Pope Benedict XVI writes in his book Holiness is Always in Season, p,65, “So what was the ‘Chair’ of St Peter? Chosen by Christ as the ‘rock’ on which to build the Church, he began his ministry in Jerusalem, after the Ascension of the Lord and Pentecost. The Church’s first ‘seat’ was the Upper Room, and it is likely that a special place was reserved for Simon Peter in that room where Mary, Mother of Jesus, also prayed with the disciples”.
There is a chair in St. Peter’s Basilica, enshrined in the Altar of the Chair of St. Peter. That Chair symbolizes the 2,000-year-old papacy and unity the Pope continues to bring to Catholics around the world.
On 22 February every year, the Church celebrates the enduring role of the Pope, the Vicar of Christ, beginning with St Peter. That “chair” symbolizes the authority of St Peter, the first Pope, and his successors who have served the Church as the Bishop of Rome.
On this feast day, the Church acknowledges St. Peter as the first pope where that mission continues through the Holy Fathers today. The mission to care for the people of God; to continue the customs, rituals, teachings, and truths of Jesus; and to uphold the unity of His Church.
The Church proclaims that the authority given to St. Peter by Our Lord, Jesus Christ, has been handed down to Peter’s successors for the past 2,000 years. One can look up on the internet or any theological book and see the succession from St. Peter all the way to Pope Francis today.
The Chair of Truth – The Chair of St. Peter symbolizes an unspoken confidence that the Church does not change from age to age. It is the truths of the Gospel and Holy Tradition that form the basis of our faith and that these truths are reflected in every Catholic parish and at every Mass. Blessings – Dcn Jim