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

Remember Your Song…A Playlist to Help!

Happy Easter! And happy Easter for the next 45 days! Remember that the Easter season is the longest liturgical season in the Church year. It lasts for 50 days, ending on Pentecost Sunday. I love the Church tradition and theological significance behind the liturgical calendar, and I found a helpful summary article for those who want to understand better the calculation of the Easter season and its impact on the rest of the liturgical year.

Obviously, Easter is everything for us Christians. Easter is the reason for our faith and the fulfillment of every promise throughout salvation history. We need to keep celebrating the joy of the Resurrection in intentional ways throughout this season. I find that one of the best ways to sustain the focus and meaning of a liturgical season is through music. Well-selected playlists help to create an atmosphere in my home that reflects the current liturgical season; so I have made an Easter playlist, and I’m sharing it with you!

I created the list on Spotify, and you can play it there by clicking the link. If you don’t use Spotify, the list of songs is below for you to either purchase or find in a different subscription music service. I have selected songs that celebrate the joy and hope that we have in the Resurrection, from a variety of musical styles and artists.

Each of these songs is a beautiful reminder to me of the endless reasons to praise God throughout this season — and always! We have a redeemer; his name is Jesus. Because he lives, we have eternal hope. Because he lives, our whole lives can be a beautiful melody that praises him in the present and looks forward to the promise of eternity. We are meant to make a joyful noise to the Lord, and these songs are ones that fill me up to overflowing and help to fix my heart on what is really important, what is central.

Sometimes we forget to sing; sometimes we forget that we (in our daily lives) are supposed to be participants in the eternal song of praise to our Redeemer. That’s why the 50-day liturgical season of Easter is really a gift from the church, as every liturgical season is. These seasons help us remember our song and remember to sing it. Let us not forget St. John Paul II’s words:

“We are an Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”

He is risen! Hallelujah!

While You Still Have Time

It’s the feast of St. John of God today. This is such a great saint to venerate during Lent, because he was full of compassion for the poor, homeless, and sick; and most of the people he served and physically cared for were all three. Essentially, he sought out all of the people that most of us spend our lives avoiding (consciously or unconsciously).

We roll up our windows as we come to the stop light next to the scruffy man with the cardboard sign. When the elderly get to the point that they need help caring for themselves, we move them to “a facility” and rarely visit them. When we encounter people who are ill, our first thought is often whether or not they are contagious, not whether they need help caring for their basic needs or those of their families.

In truth, we live in an individualistic culture that holds self-sufficiency as an ultimate good and ideal state of the human person. Not only do we not run to help those in need (offering many excuses for how they should help themselves), but we keep others at arm’s length when we are going through hard times, have fallen ill, or have reached the point of needing care and assistance ourselves. Continue reading “While You Still Have Time”