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Recognizing Christ’s kingship

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On the solemnity of Christ the King, we expressly recall Our Blessed Lord’s kingship over us and his creation.

The disciples of Jesus enjoy a privileged opportunity to contemplate the “kingly role” of Jesus, the great High Priest, though our earthly notions of “king” and “kingship” do not do justice to who Christ is or his salvific mission.

He is the king. He has no equal. There is no parallel. His remarkable reign is one of charity, docility, kindness, mercy and forgiveness. The Messiah is not distant from his subjects but instead is very near, particularly to those who call upon him.

With his encyclical “Quas Primas,” dated Dec. 11, 1925, Pope Pius XI (1922-39), convinced that the majority of people “had thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives” (QP 1), established the feast of Christ the King and bequeathed to the church the following Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This prayer has been enriched with a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions when it is publicly recited on the feast of Christ the King but, of course, may be meritoriously prayed anytime:

Most gentle Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Your Altar. We are Yours, and Yours we wish to be; but to be more surely united to You, behold, each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Your Most Sacred Heart. Many, indeed, have never known You; many, too, despising Your precepts, have rejected You. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Your Sacred Heart. Be king, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken You, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned You; grant that they may quickly return to their Father’s house, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger. Be king of those whom heresy holds in error or discord keeps aloof; call them back to the harbor of truth and the unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one fold and one shepherd. Grant, O Lord, to Your Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: “Praise to the Divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to It be glory and honor forever. Amen.”

How Pope Pius XI wished that we would understand and live the kingship of Jesus.

If to Christ Our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. 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, 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 (QP 33).

The risen Lord Jesus Christ is our gracious king. Do we recognize his kingship? Do we work in order that others may come to know him and his kingship over them?

We must do our part so that our neighbors will acknowledge that Jesus Christ, the second person of the most blessed Trinity, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the ever-Virgin Mary, is our benevolent king:

Savior of the human race Who was born of the Ever-Virgin Mary, the Queen of the human race, and Who generously laid down Your life for us who were mired in Original Sin, be merciful to us!

V. Heart of Jesus, King and Center of all Hearts.

R. Have mercy on us.

Msgr. Mangan teaches at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.  

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021