Feast of Christ, the King
Final feast of the Church's Liturgical Year. The full title is "The Solemnity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, King of the Universe."
Celebrates Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father, reigning in splendor, and preparing to come (Latin: advent) again in glory to judge the living and the dead.
The feast of Christ, the King, is overshadowed by Advent and Christmas. This is a great shame because it is the summit of the whole year — the point toward which everything is moving.
At the end of the liturgical year, we celebrate Jesus coming in glory at the end of everything.
"Comfort one another with these words" (1 Thess?).
"Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev).
Please see The Christ, the King for more information on the meaning of this title.
A Twentieth-Century Feast
- In 1925 the celebration of Christ the King was instituted by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical Quas Primas. For many Catholics the feast day approaches with little to no grandeur, and the celebration of the Lord’s Kingship is another ephemeral Sunday before the dawn of Christmas. Still, the Feast of Christ the King is just that, a feast. Though a hackneyed term in the Catholic mind, Catholics must remember that a feast is a call for contemplation and celebration. The Vicar of Christ, our Holy Father, Pope Pius XI asked the Church to establish a feast in honor of Christ’s Kingship. In his words, the feasts of Holy Mother Church “affect both mind and heart, and have a salutary effect upon the whole of man’s nature,” because humanity “needs these external festivities so that the sacred rites, in all their beauty and variety, may stimulate him to drink more deeply of the foundation of God’s teaching.” And among the offerings of the Church, the Christ the King feast has a unique medicinal flavor. The Vicar of Christ then and now offers the Church “an excellent remedy for the plague which now infests society,” the scourge of secularism.
- Pius XI, Quas Primas, "On the Feast of Christ the King," 1925.
-  He is King of hearts, too, by reason of his "charity which exceedeth all knowledge."
- That looks a bit like a pun to me. I wonder whether the Pope played cards?
-  Therefore by Our Apostolic Authority We institute the Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ to be observed yearly throughout the whole world on the last Sunday of the month of October — the Sunday, that is, which immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints. We further ordain that the dedication of mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which Our predecessor of saintly memory, Pope Pius X, commanded to be renewed yearly, be made annually on that day.
-  The last Sunday of October seemed the most convenient of all for this purpose, because it is at the end of the liturgical year, and thus the feast of the Kingship of Christ sets the crowning glory upon the mysteries of the life of Christ already commemorated during the year, and, before celebrating the triumph of all the Saints, we proclaim and extol the glory of him who triumphs in all the Saints and in all the Elect. Make it your duty and your task, Venerable Brethren, to see that sermons are preached to the people in every parish to teach them the meaning and the importance of this feast, that they may so order their lives as to be worthy of faithful and obedient subjects of the Divine King.
- Another pun! "Crowning glory" isn't exactly a big laugh-getter, but it's cool. I wonder who drafted this encyclical for him.
-  When we pay honor to the princely dignity of Christ, men will doubtless be reminded that the Church, founded by Christ as a perfect society, has a natural and inalienable right to perfect freedom and immunity from the power of the state; and that in fulfilling the task committed to her by God of teaching, ruling, and guiding to eternal bliss those who belong to the kingdom of Christ, she cannot be subject to any external power. [emphasis added]
-  Nations will be reminded by the annual celebration of this feast that not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ. It will call to their minds the thought of the last judgment, wherein Christ, who has been cast out of public life, despised, neglected and ignored, will most severely avenge these insults; for his kingly dignity demands that the State should take account of the commandments of God and of Christian principles, both in making laws and in administering justice, and also in providing for the young a sound moral education.
-  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 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. If all these truths are presented to the faithful for their consideration, they will prove a powerful incentive to perfection. It is Our fervent desire, Venerable Brethren, that those who are without the fold may seek after and accept the sweet yoke of Christ, and that we, who by the mercy of God are of the household of the faith, may bear that yoke, not as a burden but with joy, with love, with devotion; that having lived our lives in accordance with the laws of God's kingdom, we may receive full measure of good fruit, and counted by Christ good and faithful servants, we may be rendered partakers of eternal bliss and glory with him in his heavenly kingdom.
A derivative prayer
May those who are outside the fold seek after and accept the sweet yoke of Christ.
May we, who, by the mercy of God, are of the household of the faith, bear the yoke of Christ, not as a burden but with joy, with love, and with devotion.
May we live our lives in obedience to the laws of God's kingdom, and so produce a full measure of good fruit.
May we be counted by Christ as good and faithful servants, and partake of eternal bliss and glory with Him in his heavenly Kingdom.
King of Kings and Lord of Lords
10 And now, kings, give heed;
take warning, rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear;
exult with trembling,
lest he become angry and you perish along the way
when his anger suddenly blazes up.
Now and Then
The Kingship of Jesus and the Kingdom of God are realities known now only "by those who have eyes to see." In the Nicene Creed, we profess that "He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead." Then all will see what God has done for His sons and daughters.
Reminders in the Liturgy
- Nicene Creed
- He will come again in glory
- to judge the living and the dead
- and his kingdom will have no end.
- The Lord's Prayer
- Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
- Libera Nos
- Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
- graciously grant peace in our days,
- that, by the help of your mercy,
- we may be always free from sin
- and safe from all distress,
- as we await the blessed hope
- and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
- For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory, now and forever. Amen!
- Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD.
- Memorial acclamation (Anamnesis)
- We proclaim your Death, O Lord,
- and profess your Resurrection
- until you come again.
- When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup,
- we proclaim your Death, O Lord,
- until you come again.
- Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.