Sunday, October 29, 2006

meditation after "With the Church" - ed by Fr Goosens

Last Sunday of October

King of kings and Lord of lords

Christ is both God and man; Son of God, he became man for our sakes. As God, his power is both sovereign and eternal. Thanks to its union with the Godhead, his humanity is royal, with a royalty that surpasses all others. Since his humanity and his divinity make one Person in Christ, it follows that he is King of kings and Lord of lords, to whom all nations have been given for his heritage, and who will possess the ends of the world. He rules from sea to sea. Christ is our King; royalty is his birthright. His kingship forms part of his nature. he rules over all creation by a right which is not that of force or of anything that is extraneous to himself.
It is equally true that it is not only thanks to his birthright that Christ is our sovereign Lord. His reign is also founded on his victory over Satan, won in deadly strife at the cost of his own blood and by the merits of his sacrifice. Man, born in original sin, lived under the yoke of the power of darkness. Christ, because he loved us, broke that yoke, when in a bloody battle he cast the prince of darkness from his throne. In that combat, we were the stake; it was our soul that he won back from the power of Satan. Formerly, kings of the earth wore a purple mantle, the sign that they were ready to give their life for the ir subjects. Who has more rihgt to wear it than our King, who gave the last drop of his blood for his people? "Behold your King!" What prince can history show us who has more right to the love of his people than Christ, the King of kings? All the titles that nations have ever given to their princes are his by right. He alone among the mightiest is the Almighty. Of his kingdom there is no end; to him is glory and power through all the ages.
He is truly "the Great"; through all the ages his people have greeted him, Tu solus altissimus!
He is "the Good", far above all who have been so called; we call him Father.
He is "the Strong"; Solomon, the wisest of the kings of the earth, says of him: "Behold your King! He is the All-highest, the Almighty, the All-best, the Father who dwells in our true Fatherland."
St Francis, in his Canticle of the Sun, sings:

"O all-highest, almighty, all-good Lord!
To you be praise and glory and honour!
To you be all blessing, for you alone are worthy.
We are not worthy even to name you!"

"My kingdom is not of this world!" His kingdom is of a higher order, a more solid construction than those of earth. The law of the kingdom knows but one commandment; its Magna Carta is contained in one word: Love! Love God above all things and your neighbour as yourself.
Hia kingdom is a kingdom of love. How can the good Shepherd, the good Samaritan, the generous Father, reign otherwise than by love?
His speach from the throne spoke of salvation. In his kingdom there is but one judge, who is as good as he is wise, as almighty as he is good.
Faithful and True is his name; his judgement is just. On the bborders of his robe is written, "King of kings and Lord of lords". He is the highest Sovereign, to whom we must all submit.

"Almighty, everlasting God, who hast willed that in thy beloved Son, the universal King, all things should be made new, grant in thy loving-kindness that all the peoples of the earth, now torn asunder by the wound of sin, may be sundued to the gentle sway of him who is God. living and reigning with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen."



The Kingdom of Heaven — Holy Church — is seen bringing forth out of her treasures “things new and old.” Although she can never add new dogmas to the Deposit of Faith entrusted to her, as the ages go by she is seen understanding more perfectly and explaining more fully those treasures in her keeping. She is a living body, not a statue, and she can develop, although she can never change her nature. Hence, guided by the Holy Spirit of Him Who has promised to be with her not merely for a few centuries but unto the end of the world, she defines or emphasizes certain points of doctrine as she sees fit, considering the needs of the times. We have an example in the institution of the Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ by the Sovereign Pontiff, Pope Pius XI, in the Jubilee Year 1925, and explained to the faithful in the encyclical Quas Primas.

Christians have ever hailed our Divine Lord as King of King and Lord of Lords. It was as a King that the representatives of the Eastern world came to adore Him in the manger; it was as a King, albeit not knowing what he did, that the official representative of the Western world lifted Him up upon the Cross. The patriarchs and prophets of the old dispensation foretold His royalty; He spoke constantly of His kingdom: when asked plainly whether He were in truth a King by the representative of Caesar, He acknowledged that such indeed He was, though of a kingdom not of this world.

“His Kingship is founded upon the ineffable Hypostatic Union. It is spiritual, and concerned with spiritual things. It is opposed to none other than to that of Satan, and to the powers of darkness. Christ is King over angels and men; King over men’s hearts and wills; His Kingship demands of His subjects a spirit of detachment from riches and earthly things, and a spirit of gentleness. They must hunger and thirst after justice and, more than this, they must deny themselves and carry the cross.”

Yet though His is a spiritual kingdom, opposed to no just earthly polity, “it would be a grave error to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs,” since by virtue of the absolute empire over all creatures committed to Him by the Father, all things are in His power. All men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ. In Him is the salvation of the individual, in Him is the salvation of the society.

Today we sadly behold “a world undone,” largely paganized in principles and outlook, and, in recent years, in one country even glorying in the name “pagan.” At the best, governments mostly ignore God; and at the worst, openly fight against Him, as we of today are witnessing. Even the statesmen’s well-meant efforts to find a remedy for present ills and, above all, to secure world peace, prove futile because, whereas peace is from Christ, and possible only in the Kingdom of Christ, His Name is never mentioned throughout their deliberations or their documents. Christ is kept out of the State schools and seats of higher education; and the rising generations seem to be taught anything and everything save to know, love and serve Him. Art and literature all too frequently reflect the same tendencies.

And since the spirit of evil reigns inevitably wherever the spirit of Christ has ceased to reign, in public and in private men are flouting the moral laws of God, and some of the worst abominations of ancient paganism are becoming matters of every-day life. Moreover, be it remembered, modern paganism is worse than that of the ancient world, in that the former knows what it does as the latter did not. There is now an intense, positive hatred of Jesus Christ in the militant atheist, which differs in kind from the attitude of the fiercest Roman or Eastern persecutor: “If I had not come and spoken to them... if I had not done among them the works that no other man hath done, they would have not sin: but now they have both seen and hated both Me and My Father.”

Ever as practical as she is supernatural, the Church is not content with merely deploring the evil, nor even with counteracting it by sound teaching. She would also make definite reparation to the Divine Majesty thus denied and defied; to Him Whose royalty is slighted and insulted. Something must be done by those who, in a measure, understand love, in order to atone for those who do not. “To repair the crime of lese-divinity, which denies God’s rights over human society Whose Author He is, we must exalt Jesus Christ as King over all individuals, families and peoples. If His universal royalty be proclaimed and His reign in society recognized, one of the principal evils of the modern world — the secularizing of public and private life — will be attacked at its roots.”

“To this end nothing would serve better than the institution of a special feast in honor of the Kingship of Christ. For people are instructed in the truths of faith, and brought to appreciate the inner joys of religious, far more effectually by the annual celebration of our sacred mysteries than by an pronouncement, however weighty, of the teaching of the Church. Such pronouncements usually reach only a few, and those the more learned among the faithful; feasts reach them all; the former speak but once, the latter speak every year — in fact forever. The Church’s teachings affects the mind primarily; her feasts affect both mind and heart, and have a salutary effect upon the whole of man’s nature... We have commanded its observance on a Sunday, in order that not only the clergy may perform their duty by saying Mass and reciting the Office, but that the laity, too, free from their daily tasks, may in a spirit of holy joy give ample testimony of their obedience and subjection to Christ... that they may so order their lives as to be worthy, faithful and obedient subjects of the Divine King.