Solemnity of Christ the King 2012

There is something of a mismatch between the language used for this feast and the cultural understanding of most of the people celebrating it, but that does not mean that the feast itself is of less importance. Indeed, it is often the feasts that we struggle to understand which yield the richest meanings. In previous years I have written about the origins of the feast, the theology of the idea of restoration of all things in Christ, medieval poetry on the kingship of Christ, and so on and so forth. This morning a phrase from the Rule of St Benedict came to mind which, for me, sheds more light on the celebration than any other.

Benedict talks of our taking up the ‘strong and glorious weapons of obedience’ in order to fight for ‘the true king, Christ our Lord.’Β  The true king. I wonder how many of us can say this morning that Christ is the true king of our heart; the one we will follow wherever he leads; for whom we will dare anything, even the loss of our own life? How many of us can say that we will lay aside our own ideas and preferences in order to join with others in serving this king?

If the language of this feast is an obstacle to you, why not spend a few minutes praying and reflecting on what you understand by the Church and your own membership of it? And if you are not a member of the Church, but a sympathetic bystander, perhaps you could think for a few moments of what it might mean to be such.


7 thoughts on “Solemnity of Christ the King 2012”

  1. Following your suggestion to reflect on today’s title, it comes to me that in a way we still have not understood what Jesus told us, that he is not of this world. So by making him Christ the King, we may well miss the point, once again.
    I have a hunch that Jesus was not in favor of a pyramidal structure, but rather of a flat organization chart. He made a point of empowering his disciples, to bring them to his level rather than keeping them down…
    Maybe what counts more is that Jesus reigns on my heart. The rest is but human squabbling πŸ™‚

    • Thank you, Claire. I find the language of kingship very difficult, but you have given me an image, ‘Jesus reigning in my heart’, that moves me.

  2. My eldest daughter was baptised on the Sunday of the celebration of Christ the Kingseventeen years ago . If I am brutally honest I was a bit upset that her day had been swept up in something greater than her, we had no input into the hymn choice and I was to be honest a bit miffed! She was 2 months old my first child and I wanted her to be special. Now I realise she was. Every child is special, every adult, every one of us. But to be welcomed into the church on the day we celebrate and confirm Christ as our King in our hearts is a priviledge I didn’t realise at the time.

  3. Thank you. I think I’m still enough of a medievalist to say that the ‘descending theme’ of kingship to which you allude, Claire, is unbiblical. It’s more a case of Christ raising us to a new dignity, but I do think the language of kingship is entirely alien to most people today. Christ as king of our heart, however, is much more accessible and lovely. A good friend reminded me of two adjectives St Ignatius uses in his Exercises, ‘tan liberal y tan humano’ β€” so liberal and so human β€” perhaps ‘generous and humane’ would be better, but I like the idea of a liberal God who identifies with our humanity.

  4. I don’t know if I will follow wherever He leads. I hope so; I trust so. This Sunday, the Feast of Christ the King (and the feast of St. Catherine) I was confirmed and received into full communion with the Catholic Church. Oh, joy!
    After many years of seeking, questioning, arguing about faith, I think I finally stopped asking questions long enough to hear the answer that had been waiting for me all along. My Catholic husband is as surprised as I am. What a blessing, to be surprised by joy.

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