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Christ the King: The Feast of Our Age

November 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Christ the King, Dan Burke, Seasonal Meditations, Solemnity

I posted this over at the National Catholic Register – thought you would appreciate it…

ChristTheKing for post on Christ the King Feast of our AgeEach year the ornaments, greenery, and tinsel make an earlier appearance. One laments the distortion of autumn and Thanksgiving under the ever-growing Christmas hegemony. Still, another commonly overshadowed event will come and pass this Sunday, the feast of The Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

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.

The burgeoning symptoms of the world as observed by the Holy Father are unfortunately not uncommon to our own. Our nations still hemorrhage from the wounds of “anticlericalism” and its “impious activities.” Anticlericalism is of course the opposition of clergy, i.e., the Church, to influentially speak into society, and especially into politics. The Holy Father notes this disease has been percolating in the modern hearts of men, and has “long lurked beneath the surface.” The visible effect of this virus was that the “empire of Christ over all nations was rejected.” The respect nations held for the moral authority of the Church waned and became a tenuous connection to the political moral body. The loss of favor for the Church resulted in Catholicism being “likened to false religions and to be placed ignominiously on the same level with them.” The flattening of all religions to an equal level devalued the voice of Christ and his Church, because the voice was seen as just another religious voice among the relative choir.

In the current struggles against the State it seems almost asinine for Catholics to admonish the State for not recognizing the superior moral voice of the Church. The recent engagements between the Church and the State have Catholics finding themselves without a voice or being told what that voice can and cannot sound like. Yet, the Catholic truth is not relative to the shortcomings of the State. The faithful must remember the full glory of Christ and his Church, even if Catholics find themselves carving out the meekest of religious liberties.

Pope Pius XI and his words beg Catholics to remember the splendor of Christ’s supremacy and power. In Jesus Christ, the Eternal King, “is the salvation of the individual, in him is the salvation of society.” The empire of Christ is not limited to the Catholic faithful, but also includes lapsed Catholics, schismatic Christians, and all “those who are outside the Christian faith.” In short, “the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Christ.” The reality of the world is that all humanity is subject to the monarchy of Christ, and that his Kingdom on Earth is stewarded by the Pope, the Vicar of Christ the King.

As the bishops and princes of the Church muster their forces and gather the banners of religious liberty together, Catholics must first ensure that the regal voice of Christ resonates in their hearts. The faithful cannot proclaim a voice to the world to which they themselves are deaf. The emergence of all the Christmas décor cannot overshadow the importance of the Christ the King. The season of Advent brings with it sweet recollections of the meekness of Christ and his tender mercy for all humanity. However, the babe in swaddling clothes now sits at the right hand of the Father. The salutary cup of Christ the King is one of dominion and obedience. The feast Pope Pius XI calls the Church to remember is in many ways the feast of our age. In the midst of the current multi-front standoff with the State, the words of Quas Primas still ring true:

But if the faithful were generally to understand that it behooves them ever to fight courageously under the banner of Christ their King, then, fired with apostolic zeal, they would strive to win over to their Lord those hears that are bitter and estranged from him, and would valiantly defend his rights.

O Jesus, our Eternal King, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, Most Merciful King, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, extending to us the Golden Scepter of Your Mercy, Reign in our hearts.

More about Christ the King
Litany of Christ the King


Art: Detail from Immaculate Conception Church (Columbus, Ohio) – stained glass, Virgin Mary & Christ the King, Nheyob, own work, April 12, 2014, CC by SA, Wikimedia Commons. Feature image:  Stained glass window at the Melkite Catholic Annunciation Cathedral in Roslindale [Boston] depicting Christ the King with the regalia of a Byzantine emperor, photographed by John Stephen Dwyer, January 25, 2009, CCA-SA 3.0 Unported, Wikimedia Commons.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Teresa

    The ETWN link for the Litany to Christ the King is incorrect. Here’s the right one

  • Rita OCDS

    The feast of Christ the King is one of my favorite feasts. Jesus is King of Kings and when you come to know the great beauty of our Lord you see no one in comparison with Him to be more acceptable or on whom your thoughts wished to dwell. 
    Thank You for reminding everyone about it.

    Rita OCDS

  • Mrlgrl2000

    The simple fact that the church is no longer the center of culture is reflected in all of this. We have gone from a collective culture to one which embraces the individual. We no longer depend upon our neighbor for survival. As a result, we now see people seeking an a personal relationship with God. The Sacred is not just found in Church, but wherever the individual seeks it.

    • Ah yes, and the devil smiles with delight at the success of his deceit – his words – “they are hypocrites so their god must be false…” “you can figure this out all on your own…”

    • Guest

      In short, Mrlgrl2000, because we do not want to obey the Voice of Mother Church, each one strives to create their god in their own image and then proclaim they have a Personal Relationship with God and they do not need a Church to tell them how to live their lives. But even if one does not want to obey the Authority of Christ’s Church, She is very much there. Only that one has deliberately blocked one’s ears and covered one’s eyes, and loudly proclaims the Church is no longer there or if She is, She is irrelevant.

  • judeen

    Jesus Christ the King is not only at the end…of the world but now… as we strive perfection and stop sinning more and more Christ is King in our lives… overcoming evil with in us… there are saints that got to the point of not having anything to confess,, Jesus was King over them all was done for Him and unity was here on earth not at the resurection.. HERE … Jesus overcomes evil. protects us from demons , guides us here ….. it is not far away after death but now.. as God goes before us.. if you look at the picture I have there is a soul following the Host.. right behind it.. that is us

  • Carla

    Laudetur Jesus

  • Becky Ward

    Quoted from above – “The faithful cannot proclaim a voice to the world to which they themselves are deaf.”

    This seems central to many of the posts recently…..and to much of the ‘trouble’ Jesus promised us we would have in the world…..and which we certainly do encounter.

    We don’t know our faith.

    It’s one thing for a person who does know their faith to explore other religions, but if we don’t know our own faith……the faith that Jesus left us……how can we determine what is good (or not) in others?

    Studying the Catechism and Church documents….yes, it takes effort…….allows us to articulate our faith in Truth and love when we need to.

  • Jan England


    Traditional Act of
    Consecration of the Human Race

    Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us
    prostrate before Thy altar. We are Thine, and Thine we wish to be; but
    to be more surely united with Thee, behold each one of us freely
    himself today to Thy most Sacred Heart. Many indeed have never known
    many too, despising Thy precepts, have rejected Thee. Have mercy on
    all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Thy Sacred Heart. Be Thou
    O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee, but also
    of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee; grant that they may
    return to their Father’s house lest they die of wretchedness and
    Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom
    keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of
    so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd. Be Thou King
    of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of
    and refuse not to to draw them all into the light and kingdom of God.
    Thine eyes of mercy towards the children of that race, once Thy chosen
    people: of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the
    may It now descend upon them, a laver of redemption and of life. Grant,
    O Lord, to Thy 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 be to the Divine Heart that wrought our
    to It be glory and honor for ever.” Amen.

  • kit_carmelite

    If Jesus reigned in EVERY Christian’s heart, if our will was fully united to His, what a different world this would be!

  • $1650412

    Dan, this is brilliant! Thanks!

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