Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Christ our Sovereign King

After the Solemnity of the Resurrection and the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, the Solemnity of Christ the King is the highlight of my liturgical year. Established in 1925 by Pius XI as an antidote to secularism, today’s liturgy

… establishes the titles for Christ’s royalty over men: 1) Christ is God, the Creator of the universe and hence wields a supreme power over all things; “All things were created by Him”; 2) Christ is our Redeemer, He purchased us by His precious Blood, and made us His property and possession; 3) Christ is Head of the Church, “holding in all things the primacy”; 4) God bestowed upon Christ the nations of the world as His special possession and dominion.[1]

In a time of overt secularism, during which our Lord so often a one hour activity, we need to be reminded who is King of the Universe.

“If We ordain that the whole Catholic world shall revere Christ as King, We shall minister to the need of the present day, and at the same time provide an excellent remedy for the plague which now infects society.” (Pius XI, Quas Primas, 24)

And this is not optional. He always has been, is and ever will be, King and Lord of the visible and invisible. We may ignore His kingship but His rights and dominion are irrefutable and without limit.

The way the Preface expresses His kingship today blew me away – especially the phrase that:

he might present to the immensity of your majesty [emphasis mine].

The “immensity of your majesty.” Oh my gosh! It reminds me of our understanding that when the Father reflected finitely upon Himself, the Father called forth creation in a multitudenous array revealing His eternal attributes throughout creation. Creation literally bears the fingerprints of God. The Psalms express it this way:

The heavens proclaim the glory of God and the firmament shows forth the work of his hands. Day unto day takes up the story and night unto night makes known the message. (Ps 19:1-2)

What does His kingship demand of us? Holiness. Faithfulness. A life lived “to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:6). I would also suggest that it is a life of praise. Americans seem to think that praise is a silent action but our tradition explains that it is a vocal expression of His sovereignty. We use words like praise, adore, glorify and honor. In fact, these words are not synonyms – even if the distinctions are ever so slight. We were created:

to praise[2]: is to speak well of someone’s good qualities or deeds. It implies awareness of someone’s excellence, internal approval, and manifesting approbation of that which is praised. Strictly speaking, praise refers to activity, especially holiness in God and virtuous conduct in people. But the term is also applied to the character or nature of the one whose actions are praiseworthy.

to adore[3]: is to recognize God as the one alone who is worthy of supreme honor because he is infinitely perfect, has supreme dominion over humans, and the right to human total dependence on the Creator.

to glorify[4]: is to recognize and praise someone’s excellence. In particular, it is given to God by all creatures without exception, by their mere existence, insofar as they mirror the divine perfections.

to honor[5]: is the reverence and respect given because of His recognized excellence.

I would like to invite everyone to take some time every day, even if it is in the solitude of our bedroom, to give the Lord of Glory praise, adoration, glory and honor that is due His name/kingship. As a practical action for today, I would like to invite you to reflect a little longer on today’s preface:

For you anointed your Only Begotten Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ, with the oil of gladness
as eternal Priest and King of all creation,
so that, by offering himself on the altar of the Cross
as a spotless sacrifice to bring us peace,
he might accomplish the mysteries of human redemption,
and, making all created things subject to his rule,
he might present to the immensity of your majesty
an eternal and universal kingdom,
a kingdom of holiness and grace,
a kingdom of justice, love and peace.[6]

[1] “Solemnity of Christ the King,”, (accessed November 25, 2012).

[2] John Hardon, “Modern Catholic Dictionary,” The Real Presence Association, (accessed November 25, 2012).

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] “Pro Terra,” iBreviary, (accessed November 25, 2012).

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