Tuesday Comment on Christ the King

Mattias A. Caro, writing over at Ethika Politika, calls on Catholics to detach themselves from the petty things of this world in order to better serve Christ the King. I couldn’t agree more. Quoting Pope Pius XI’s Quas Primas, Caro reminds readers that before Christ can reign in society, He must first reign in our hearts, minds, and wills. In most instances, Christ’s social reign begins in the home and then moves outward into the schools, workplaces, and seats of political authority. It is a pious practice for Latin Catholics to enthrone the Sacred Heart of Jesus in their homes, reciting this prayer nightly:

Most sweet Jesus, humbly kneeling at Thy feet, we renew the consecration of our family to thy Divine Heart. Be Thou our King forever! In Thee we have full and entire confidence. May Thy spirit penetrate our thoughts, our desires, our words and our works. Bless our undertakings, share in our joys, in our trials and in our labors. Grant us to know Thee better, to love Thee more, to serve Thee without faltering.

By the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of Peace, set up Thy kingdom in our country. Enter closely into the midst of our families and make them Thine own through the solemn enthronement of Thy Sacred Heart, so that soon one cry may resound from home to home: “May the triumphant Heart of Jesus be everywhere loved, blessed and glorified forever!” Honor and glory to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary!

Such acts of devotion are spiritually beneficial, but not essential. Eastern Christians, for instance, can make a point of honoring Christ the King in the icon corner during their evening prayers by simply reciting, “O come let us worship Christ, our King and our God.” What is important is that these words never become routine. We must not fail to make them a part of our daily lives, even when faced with scorn or worse from others. As I have discussed over at The Josias, taking Christ’s Kingship seriously, that is living as an integral Catholic, has real social consequences that cannot be ignored:

Even in the absence of states and more localized political communities which are fully permeated with the teachings of the Catholic Church, integralists live out their public lives, be it in the workplace or the voting booth, under the reign of Christ. That is, there is no separation between private “religious life” and public “citizen life”; the obligations in justice which should bind all nations at all times continues to bind all Catholics, regardless of what the civil authority recommends. While prudential considerations will affect application, no Catholic businessman, for instance, holds the right to pay his workers unjust wages simply because liberal economic ideology equates “justness” with the prevailing market wage. Similarly, no Catholic politician, regardless of which level of office he holds (municipal, state, or national), has the right to support immoral laws legalization, inter alia, abortion, same-sex unions, narcotics, prostitution, and pornography. Integralism recognizes no right to abscond from moral duty in the name of temporal convenience.

How many Catholics in the United States today are willing to live out their public lives in this manner? Let’s take ten steps back. How many Catholics in the United States today are willing to pray in restaurants before their meals or make the Sign of the Cross in public when they pass by a church or a cemetery? As Caro notes in his article, Catholics are fine and dandy engaging in social-media bickering over transient political causes, but remain unwilling to fully invest themselves in the Faith. Catholicism, sadly, is too often degraded into an adjunct for any number of prevailing ideologies. Instead of being the driving force in our lives, one which will lead us to the Kingdom of Heaven, the Catholic Faith fills-in some moral and metaphysical gaps to help us better negotiate late-modern liberalism.

Is it any wonder then that we find ourselves—and the Church—in such a deplorable state of affairs? When the Faith becomes nothing more than a culturally custom, an ornament, or matter of passing intellectual interest, it becomes nothing at all. At every moment God invites us to renew our love and dedication to Him through shriving and receiving the Eucharist. Without the sacraments and prayer, there is no hope for living detached from worldliness under the banner of Christ the King, nor shall we have the strength to renew society in the Light of the Gospel.

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