What a striking thing it is--in this curious moment in the pilgrimage of the Church Militant--to celebrate today the feast of the Chair of Peter, knowing that by this time next week that chair will be empty, sede vacante, as they say.
Nevertheless, for now, for the next few days anyway, we (still) have a pope, and we look forward to a couple of the final 'lasts' of Benedict XVI: the last Sunday Angelus, the last Wednesday audience.
But I have to say, it was something perhaps more basic that struck me as I prayed through the liturgy this morning.
In the Office of Readings, Leo the Great comments on Matthew 16:18, in which Jesus responds to Peter's confession by proclaiming him the 'rock' on which Jesus will build his Church:
"And I, he said, say to you: as my Father revealed to you my divinity, so I make known to you your preeminence [excellentiam]: You are Peter..."
Peter's confession and subsequent vocation reveal a fundamental dynamic of the Christian vocation: by allowing the truth about Jesus Christ to be revealed to us, from him we can then receive the truth about our own identity and vocation in this life.
Only by confessing the truth of his Name do we hear our own spoken clearly. His humility reveals our dignity, his descent our ascent, our excellence in his being made, 'for a little while lower than the angels.' (Hebrews 2:7 RSV)