Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Feast Day of Christ the King

On the Feast Day of Christ the King I thought about what the significance of the Feast was. Not for the Church or for the World but for me, in my heart. I heard a priest once talk about how Our Lord came to us as an infant because who can resist the charms of a baby? Who can refrain from caressing His fine head, kissing his plump cheek, drawing near to his warmth? But if we are meant to cuddle the Infant we are also to listen to the Preacher, respect the Lawgiver, marvel at the Miracle Worker, reverence the Lamb and Adore Our Lord, Christ the King.

Somehow (especially with our democratic propensities) it seems hard to get our mind around the image of Christ as King. Our last earthy image of Our Lord is on the Cross and then in His resurrected body still bearing the wounds of his crucifixtion and torture.

A King?

Feared first as King of the Jews, Herod tried to kill Our Lord as an infant. He failed. Worshipped before birth Our Lord was foretold in the Old Testament and then adored in his preborn state by St. Elizabeth and St. John the Baptist, also unborn.

Our King was then worshipped as an Infant by the shepherds, the Magi, His mother, His foster father, the Doctors and Priests of the Temple. Worshipped as an Infant even before His miracles, His teachings, His Resurrection, His Ascension to the throne of Heaven.

I asked my children what they thought of when they heard the phrase, Christ the King. They responded with this hymn by Patrick Brennan and George Elvey:

Hail Redeemer, King Divine

Hail Redeemer, King Divine,
Priest and Lamb the throne is thine
King whose reign shall never ceaste
Prince of everlasting peace.

Angels, saints and nations sing,
Praise be Jesus Christ our King
Lord of life, earth, sky and sea,
King of Love on Calvary

King most Holy, King of Truth,
Guide the lowly, guide the youth,
Christ thou King of Glory bright,
Be to us eternal light.

King whose name creation thrills,
Rule our minds, our hearts, our wills,
Til in peace, each nation sing,
With thy praises, King of Kings.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen gave a talk on Christ the King, available from Keep the Faith. I have yet to hear it but can't imagine it would not be worthwhile.

A Religious Brother once gave a talk about how we are to make of our heart a throne for Our Lord to reside upon. A fine sentiment. Going about it is our challenge.


Somerset '76 said...

There are, of course, those among Catholic traditionals who speak on this occasion of the political and social dimensions of that Kingship, and certainly those are important truths to recall in this age of anti-Christian "political correctness."

But I've come to realize that all such talk is but vain ideologizing unless the theme you are getting at here is addressed first. We've got to do a much better job, individually and collectively, of subjecting ourselves to our Lord's Kingship over each our own hearts, if we're ever going to begin to hope that He will be pleased to reassert His Kingship over our societies.

Thomas Shawn said...

I kinda like all that talk of imposing the reign of Christ the King into political conversations.

It's no substitute for Christ the King reigning in our hearts but not all conversation can be of a personal nature.

Vivo Christo Rei

hilary said...

It certainly is inescapable that the reign of Christ cannot be brought about in civil life until He has been enthroned as the ruler of our own individuals wills.

Tradcatholic said...

Yes, the Reign of Jesus Christ must start in our hearts! But, while we are working on this,we must be trudging to the voting booth to elect those who are or seem to be, open to the same Reign both in their lives and in their rhetoric. By the time we 'perfect' the reign of "Christ the King" in our hearts, most of us will be one foot in the grave or at least on the banana peel! IMO, we must work on BOTH interior and exterior efforts to re-establish all things in Christ, even our individual countries rulers! We must be at least 'perfect' enough not to give scandal/bad example while we labour for the establishment of His Kingdom on earth. The both efforts must be co-existant...one begins on our knees, and the other begins in the voting booth. Both are in some way one effort. IMO, you can't have one without the other.This is the battle.

«.:::L-2-da-X:::.» said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sean said...

Just a small correction, George Elvey did not write his hymn tune ST GEORGES WINDSOR for "Hail Redeemer King Divine". It was added later by missalette publishers.

The original music was written for Father Brennan's lyric was Chevalier William Henry Grattan Flood, another Irish patriot, hymn writer and historian, decorated and named a knight and chevalier by Popes Leo XIII and Benedict XV. The full lyrics of the hymn follow:

Hail Redeemer, King divine!
Priest and Lamb, the throne is thine;
King, whose reign shall never cease,
Prince of everlasting peace.


Angels, saints and nations sing:
"Praise be Jesus Christ our King;
Lord of life, earth, sky and sea,
King of love on Calvary!"

King most holy, King of truth,
guard the lowly, guide the youth;
Christ the King of glory bright,
be to us eternal light.


Shepherd-king, o'er mountains steep
homeward bring the wandering sheep;
shelter in one royal fold
states and kingdoms, new and old.


Crimson streams, O King of grace,
drenched thy thorn-crowned head and face;
floods of love's redeeming tide
tore thy hands, thy feet, and side.


Eucharistic King, what love
draws thee daily from above,
clad in signs of bread and wine :
feed us, lead us, keep us thine!


King, whose name creation thrills,
rule our hearts, our minds, our wills;
till in peace, each nation rings
with thy praises, King of kings.

Final Refrain

Sing with joy in ev'ry home :
"Christ our King, thy kingdom come!
To the King of ages, then,
honour, glory, love : Amen!"

Hope this has been of some service.

Sean Wright