Today, the church celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, or Christ the King. Pope Pius XI instituted this feast in 1925 with his encyclical Quas primas (“In the first”) to respond to growing secularism and atheism. This solemnity reminds us that Christ reigns as King regardless of the government’s attempt to segregate religion and state.
Christ’s kingship is rooted in the Church’s teaching on the Incarnation. Jesus is fully God and fully man. He is both our divine Lord and the man who suffered and died on the Cross for our salvation. He is still fully alive and present to us in the Eucharist.
Christ humbled himself and took on human form and as a result, He can relate to our worldly temptations and struggles. Each day, we meet spiritual battles as we navigate living a Christian lifestyle in a secular world. We tend to compartmentalize by not allowing Jesus to rule over every aspect of our lives. The Solemnity of our Lord, King of the Universe is a reminder for us to surrender our entire life to His Kingship.
He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, ‘as instruments of justice unto God.’ -Quas primas, 33
The Solemnity of Christ the King falls on the last Sunday of the liturgical year. It is an opportunity to reflect on our spiritual life and call to mind any ways we feel the Lord calling us to change. As we embark on the season of Advent next week, we are encouraged to set new ‘liturgical’ year resolutions. The Holy Spirit is excited to share how He wants to deepen your relationship this year. Where does Christ Jesus desire to rule over your life?
Is He asking you to attend the sacraments more regularly?
Is He encouraging you to speak up about your Catholic faith in the workplace?
Is He prompting you to have a challenging conversation with a friend or family member living in mortal sin?
Is He nudging you to begin reading a new spiritual book/devotional or spend more time in scripture each day?
Loving Jesus, King of my Life and Heart, I pray for a deeper surrender to your Kingship this year. May Your loving presence guide my every thought and action. May my words be a complete reflection of Your love for those around me. Lord Jesus, how are You calling me into a deeper relationship this year? May Your Spirit illuminate the areas of my life that I am withholding from you and give me the trusting grace required for you to reign. Amen.
Until next time, your sister in Christ,