Christ Be King

Just a quick thought on the significance of today, as we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. The liturgical year is coming to a close this week, and we will begin the Church year over with the start of Advent next Sunday. Today’s liturgy in the Mass, and the Collect prayer in particular, help to reset our hearts to acknowledge the God who is ultimately in charge of the universe — but more specifically the God to whom our entire will should be in submission.

Today we have the opportunity to check our hearts, especially before we enter this Advent season — is Christ King of my being? Do I live my life surrendered to his will, or my own? The words of the Our Father offer a particularly important meditation today: “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done.” We are to end the year in complete surrender to Christ’s will in our lives.

It’s easy to make Christ’s kingship and kingdom something external — to embrace the idea of him conquering all the evil out there in the world and bringing it to an end. But it’s quite another thing to turn that proclaimation inward and embrace the idea of your interior life being put under complete submission to Christ — to ask Jesus to conquer the evil within you and make his kingdom come in your heart.

The words of St. Origen from the Office of Readings for today offer a convicting and re-orienting perspective:

“Thus it is clear that he who prays for the coming of God’s kingdom prays rightly to have it within himself, that there it may grow and bear fruit and become perfect. For God reigns in each of his holy ones.”

He goes on:

“Note this too about the kingdom of God. It is not a sharing of justice with iniquity, nor a society of light with darkness, nor a meeting of Christ with Belial. The kingdom of God cannot exist alongside the reign of sin.”

We see over and over again in Scripture, and it is reflected in the rhythm of the liturgical year, that our new life in Christ can only come after a death to self — that sober penitance must precede the celebration of redemption and re-birth. In the words of John the Baptist, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). For Christ to be King, we can’t be sitting on the throne of our lives, and we can’t be slaves to sin. As this liturgical year closes, let us pray the words of the collect for our own hearts  that Christ would be King there, as he is over all of the universe.

 

Copyright 2017 Jessica Ptomey

My Reading Challenge Pick for…A Book by Pope Benedict XVI

I’ve been sharing what I’m reading throughout the year for the 2017 Catholic Reading Challenge, and we are down to the last few.  

Category: A Book by Pope Benedict XVI (a.k.a. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger)

My Pick: Daughter Zion: Meditations on the Church’s Marian Belief

This book is a really quick read; I got through it in under two hours. It provides an excellent introduction to the most significant biblical roots of the Catholic Church’s teaching on Mary and how her role is woven into the fabric of our faith. (Since this book was written before Cardinal Ratzinger became pope, I will refer to his authorship here by that name.)

The book is basically divided into two parts. In the first section, Ratzinger states that “the image of Mary in the New Testament is woven entirely of Old Testament threads,” and he identifies three main “strands” (p.12):

  1. Mary resembles the “great mothers” of the old testament — like Sarah and Hannah.
  2. Mary is a picture of “daughter zion” — the people of Israel — with whom God has established his everlasting covenant.
  3. Mary is the “New Eve” — a woman whose “yes” birthed life, where the disobedience of the first woman had birthed death to mankind.

Continue reading “My Reading Challenge Pick for…A Book by Pope Benedict XVI”

My Reading Challenge Pick for “A Book by C. S. Lewis or G. K. Chesterton”

I’ve been sharing what I’m reading throughout the year for the 2017 Catholic Reading Challenge, and I’m very excited to talk about this one… 

Category: A Book by C. S. Lewis or G. K. Chesterton

My Pick: Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

If I was forced to pick my top five favorite authors, C. S. Lewis would have to be among them. His wisdom is inspired; his insights are timeless; his tone is, ahhh, so compelling. For the Reading Challenge I decided to re-read Mere Christianity. The first time I read it I was 18, and I still have that copy. It’s funny to see what passages I underlined and noted this time that were not marked before, but I disagreed with none of my previous markings of years ago. They would have all been underlined again (although without the unsteady, florescent highlighter pen). 

Lewis must be the most-quoted Christian author of recent decades, and many of his famous passages that you have heard recited probably came from this book. Just for fun, here are a few examples: Continue reading “My Reading Challenge Pick for “A Book by C. S. Lewis or G. K. Chesterton””