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

Redeeming Your Time

I recently held a local workshop focusing on how to rightly order the important things amidst urgent tasks in daily personal and family life, and one of the topics we discussed was our misuse of time. We often claim that we don’t have enough hours in a day, and we also seem to believe that just a little bit more time would relieve the pressure that we feel to accomplish all we need to do. I’m going to free you of the wishful thinking for the impossible — these beliefs are false!

We don’t need more time; we need to prioritize the time that we have. More time wouldn’t diminish interruptions and distractions; it would just create more. One of the reasons that our domestic churches aren’t thriving is because we are making poor use of our hours and minutes in daily and weekly life.

Author Charles Hummel wrote, “…everyone has all the time there is — twenty-four hours a day. But what an astonishing variety in our use of that time and the results of our choices!” He goes on to say that, in the end, “how we use our time depends on our goals. We make the hours count for what we think is important” (The Tyranny of the Urgent).

What I think that he is hitting upon is this: we might say that certain things are our priorities; but ultimately, our use of time reveals the things that truly are most important to us. I think that we are mostly unconscious of this, letting urgent needs or what is most compelling at the moment be the thing to which we turn our attention. The good news? We can begin redeeming our time at any moment. I have a couple of general principles for doing just that, as well as a tool that I think can help us. Continue reading “Redeeming Your Time”

Thankful…for Ordinary Time

thankful-for-ordinary-time

Yesterday was our last day of Ordinary Time. Today, the first Sunday of Advent, brings the start of a new season and another year in the life of the Church. At this transition in the liturgical year, I am really thankful for the ordinary days. I am always ready for the penitential seasons (Advent & Lent) and celebratory seasons (Christmas & Easter); they refresh and restore us. They set us back on course when we have lost our way. But it is often in the Ordinary Time that we cultivate and reap the fruit of the seeds planted during those other seasons. In fact, it is the ordinary times of life that reveal the state of our faith.

The rhythms of our day-to-day are the practice fields for us would-be saints. If we are going to be saints, then we are going to be saints in our every day. There are many days that I don’t like what I see in myself. I catch myself in a rush, too busy for charity and lacking in patience. Sometimes I make poor use of my ordinary days. What does our use of our ordinary time reveal about who we are? Continue reading “Thankful…for Ordinary Time”