Feast of Christ the King of the Universe
Just a few moments of reflection about the state of the world in 1925 compels us to stop.
And think very hard about the inspiration which led Pope Pius Xl to proclaim the Sunday ending the liturgical year in the Christian liturgy as the feast of Christ the King of the Universe.
- Four years of the “war to end all wars,”
- A war that resulted in the deaths world-wide of 16 million people.
- Followed by a global plague of epic proportion, infecting one out of every three people and killing at least 50 million.
- And then a deflationary global depression, which would lead to an even more terrible economic crisis in a few short years.
Those facts put into perspective the “c” words, politics and just about everything else.
Almost 100 years ago, in 1925, Pope Pius XI wrote Quas Pimas (In the First.) Concerned about the growing domination of communism and its axiomatic atheism, the Pope introduced his 1925 encyclical by recalling the theme of his papacy written three years earlier[The Peace of Christ is the Kingdom of Christ]:
- “..manifold evils in the world were due to the fact that the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives;
- that these had no place either in private affairs or in politics:
- and we said further, that as long as individuals and states refused to submit to the rule of our Savior, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among nations.
- Men must look for the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ…”
As always, the work of researching and writing articles like this one brings me more than a little consolation and infusion of Hope.
In his timeless encyclical, Pope Pius Xl exhorts us:
“…if the faithful were generally to understand that it behooves them ever to fight courageously under the banner of Christ their King, then, fired with apostolic zeal, they would strive to win over to their Lord those hearts that are bitter and estranged from him, and would valiantly defend his rights.”Quas Primas
Today’s second reading warrants rereading:
Brothers and sisters:
Let us give thanks to the Father,
who has made you fit to share
in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.
He delivered us from the power of darkness
and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation.
For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers;
all things were created through him and for him.
He is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.
He is the head of the body, the church.
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
that in all things he himself might be preeminent.
For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell,
and through him to reconcile all things for him,
making peace by the blood of his cross
through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.
In Him all things hold together
I believe this, I do.
And yet, I see the headlines about missiles fired into Poland. Or the population of three states voting to “enshrine abortion” up to the moment of birth. Of our insane pursuit of equality. And I get shaken. Sometimes to the point of focusing on the darkness and the speed with which it’s encroaching in our land, instead of on Him.
Rereading Janet Klasson’s intriguing post on Words, Time and Food, gives me pause. Her comments on words recall my training in the limitation of language—the rigidity of the boundaries of mere words. And the Dominican nun who impressed on me the fact that cultural context is crucial for an understanding of meaning.
One of the last classes I took to satisfy the number of courses needed for my undergraduate major in English was linguistics. With thoughts and viewpoints far beyond her time, head of the English department, Sr. Marie Bernard was fascinated by the power of the vernacular upon those who lived and spoke it.
Her admonitions to her students were simple and practical: while the meaning of a word may be clear and precise to you as a writer or a speaker, understand always, there are those in the listening or reading audience to whom the meaning of that word may be something else entirely…
So many years later, I remember gratefully the time I spent under her tutelage. Lessons taught by a woman who belied her stiff, starched black and white appearance of the Dominican habit. Instead, she took real delight in understanding the nuances of language adopted by people living in a particular time and place. She understood that language is alive, constantly changing. And yet, insisted on precise, careful writing from her English major students.
Sister Marie Bernard had a passion for learning and for awakening her students to the joys inherent in the pursuit of wisdom.
This Solemnity of Christ the King
grabs and shakes me.
“BE STRONG AND STEADFAST.”
My faith is no mere feeling.
Nor is it an opinion.
It’s more real than the chair I sit on as I write. And that fact, I know, is pure gift…unadulterated grace. On that momentous day when I received four sacraments: confession, conditional Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist, I was reborn:
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away….
Faith is not merely a personal reaching out towards things to come that are still totally absent: it gives us something. It gives us even now something of the reality we are waiting for, and this present reality constitutes for us a “proof” of the things that are still unseen. Faith draws the future into the present, so that it is no longer simply a “not yet”. The fact that this future exists changes the present; the present is touched by the future reality, and thus the things of the future spill over into those of the present and those of the present into those of the future.Spe Salvi
A fitting symphony:
Friday night, Michelle Smith and I were immersed in the magnificent music of Holst’s, The Planets. Stunning visuals accompanied the seven movements corresponding to the seven planets in our solar sytem.
Live symphony is always thrilling and this performance didn’t disappoint. Throughout the concert, I kept thinking of the “coincidence” of the San Antonio Philarmonic Orchestra performing this towering score on the weekend of the Feast of Christ the King of the Universe.
Just in case you’ve not heard it recently, or ever, turn up the speakers on your phone or tablet and bask in the Glory of God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth!
O praise him with resounding cymbals,
praise him clashing cymbals,
Let everything that lives and that beathes
give praise to the Lord.