(LifeSiteNews) — The Kingdom of Heaven – Holy Church – is seen bringing forth out of her treasure “things new and old.” (Matthew 13:52) Although she can never add new dogmas to the Deposit of Faith entrusted to her, as the ages go by she is seen understanding more perfectly and explaining more fully those treasures in her keeping. She is a living body, not a statue, and she can develop, though she can never change her nature. Hence, guided by the Holy Spirit of Him who has promised to be with her not merely for a few centuries but unto the end of the world, she defines or emphasizes certain points of doctrine as she sees fit, considering needs of the times.
We have an example in the institution of the feast, of the Kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ by the Sovereign Pontiff Pius XI, in the jubilee year 1925, and explained to the faithful in the Encyclical Quas Primas.
Christians have ever hailed our divine Lord as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It was as a king that the representatives of the Eastern World came to adore Him in the manger; it was as a king, albeit not knowing what He did, that the official representative of the Western world lifted Him up upon the Cross. The patriarchs and prophets of the old dispensation foretold His royalty; He spoke constantly of His kingdom: when asked plainly whether He were in truth a king by the representative of Cæsar, He acknowledged that such indeed He was, though of a kingdom not of this world.
His Kingship is founded upon the ineffable hypostatic union. It is spiritual and concerned with spiritual things. It is opposed to none other than to that of Satan, and to the powers of darkness. Christ is King over angels and men; King over men’s hearts and wills; His Kingship demands of its subjects a spirit of detachment from riches and earthly things, and a spirit of gentleness. They must hunger and thirst after justice and, more than this, they must deny themselves and carry the cross.
Yet though His is a spiritual kingdom, opposed to no just earthly polity, “it would be a grave error to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs, since by virtue of the absolute empire over all creatures committed to Him by the Father, all things are in His power. All men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ. In Him is the salvation of the individual, in Him is the salvation of society.”
Today we sadly behold “a world undone,” largely paganized in principles and outlook and, in recent years, in one country even glorying in the name “pagan.” At the best, governments mostly ignore God; and at the worst, openly fight against Him, as we of today are witnessing in the Old World and in the New. Even the statesmen’s well-meant efforts to find a remedy for present ills and, above all, to secure world peace, prove futile because whereas peace is from Christ, and possible only in the Kingdom of Christ, His name is never mentioned throughout their deliberations or their documents. Christ is kept out of the state schools and seats of higher education; and the rising generations seem to be taught anything and everything save to know, love, and serve Him. Art and literature all too frequently reflect the same tendencies.
And since the spirit of evil reigns inevitably wherever the spirit of Christ has ceased to reign, in public and in private men are flouting the moral laws of God, and some of the worst abominations of ancient paganism are becoming matters of everyday life. Moreover, be it remembered, modern paganism is worse than that of the ancient world, in that the former knows what it does as the latter did not. There is now an intense, positive hatred of Jesus Christ in the militant atheist, which differs in kind from the attitude of the fiercest Roman or Eastern persecutor: “If I had not come and spoken to them… if I had not done among them the works that no other man hath done, they would not have sin: but now they have both seen and hated both me and my Father.” (John 15:22, 24)
Ever as practical as she is supernatural, the Church is not content with merely deploring the evil, nor even with counteracting it by sound teaching. She would also make definite reparation to the divine majesty thus denied and defied; to Him whose royalty is slighted and insulted. Something must be done by those who, in a measure, understand and love, in order to atone for those who do not.
To repair the crime of ‘lèse-divinité,’ which denies God’s rights over the human society whose author He is, we must exalt Jesus Christ as King over all individuals, families, and peoples. If his universal royalty be proclaimed and his reign in society recognized, one of the principal evils of the modern world – the secularizing of public and private life – will be attacked at its roots. (L’Amour de Dieu et de la Croix de Jesus, Garrigou-Lagrange O.P.)
Hence, we have the special exhortation of the Vicar of Christ, and the institution of the feast of this divine kingship.
To this end nothing would serve better than the institution of a special feast in honor of the Kingship of Christ. For people are instructed in the truths of faith, and brought to appreciate the inner joys of religion, far more effectually by the annual celebration of our sacred mysteries than by any pronouncement, however weighty, of the teaching of the Church. Such pronouncements usually reach only a few, and those the more learned among the faithful; feasts reach them all; the former speak but once, the latter speak every year – in fact for ever.
The Church’s teaching affects the mind primarily; her feasts affect both mind and heart, and have a salutary effect upon the whole of man’s nature… We have commanded its observance on a Sunday, in order that not only the clergy may perform their duty by saying Mass and reciting the Office, but that the laity too, free from their daily tasks, may in a spirit of holy joy give ample testimony of their obedience and subjection to Christ… that they may so order their lives as to be worthy, faithful, and obedient subjects of the Diving King. (Quas Primas)
The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power and divinity and wisdom and strength and honor; to Him be glory and empire for ever and ever.
Give to the King, O God, Thy justice, and to the King’s Son Thy judgment. Glory be to the Father, etc.
Almighty and everlasting God, Who in Thy beloved Son, the King of the whole world, hast willed to restore all things, mercifully grant that all the kindreds of the nations that are now divided by the wound of sin, may be brought under the sweet yoke of His rule: Who with Thee liveth and reigneth.
Commemoration is made of the occurring Sunday.
Lesson of the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Colossians 1:12-20
He shall rule from sea to sea, and from the river to the end of the earth. And all kings shall adore Him, all nations shall serve Him.
℣. His power shall be an everlasting power, which shall not be taken away; and His kingdom a kingdom that shall not decay.
In votive Masses after Septuagesima, instead of the Alleluia and its ℣., there is said:
He shall cry out to me: Thou art my Father, my God, and the support of my salvation.
℣. And I will make him my firstborn, high above the kings of the earth.
℣. And I will make his seed to endure for evermore, and his throne as the days of heaven.
In Paschal time, omitting the Gradual, there is said: Alleluia, alleluia. ℣. Potestas ejus, etc., as above; then:
Alleluia. ℣. He hath on his garment and on his thigh written: King of kings and Lord of lords. Alleluia.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John 18:33-37
Ask of me, and I will give thee the Gentiles for thy inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.
We offer thee, O Lord, the victim of man’s reconciliations; grant, we beseech thee, that he whom we immolate in these present sacrifices may himself bestow on all nations the gifts of unity and peace, Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord: Who liveth.
Commemoration is made of the occurring Sunday.
It is meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: Who didst anoint, with the oil of gladness, Thine only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to be the eternal Priest and King of the universe; that by offering Himself a spotless Victim and peace-offering on the altar of the Cross, He might accomplish the mysteries of man’s redemption, and that having subjected all creatures to His dominion, He might present to Thine infinite Majesty an everlasting and universal Kingdom; a kingdom of truth and life; and kingdom of holiness and grace; a kingdom of justice, love, and peace. And therefore…
The Lord shall sit as King for ever: the Lord shall bless His people in peace.
We who have received the food of immortality, beseech Thee, O Lord: that we who glory in our warfare under the banners of Christ our King, may reign with Him for ever in His heavenly swelling place: Who liveth and reigneth, etc.
Commemoration is made of the occurring Sunday, the Gospel of which is read at the end of Mass.
Pss. 109, 110, 111, 112, 116
ANT. 1. He shall be called the Peaceful one, and his throne shall be firmly established forever.
ANT. 2. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all kings shall serve him and obey him.
ANT. 3. Behold a Man, the Orient is his name; he shall sit and rule, and shall speak peace unto the Gentiles.
ANT. 4. The Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver: the Lord is our King, he will save us.
ANT. 5. Behold, I have given thee for a light of the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth.
LITTLE CHAPTER (Colossians 1)
Brethren: We give thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love.
Ruler of all from heaven’s high throne,
O Christ our king ere time began,
We kneel before thee, Lord to own
Thy empire o’er the heart of man.
While bands of shameless men refuse
The homage due to Christ their Lord,
We own thee sovereign Lord of all.
The King by heaven and earth adored.
O Prince of peace, o Christ, subdue
Those rebel hearts, thy peace restore;
Into thy sheep-fold lead anew
Thy scattered sheep, to stray no more.
For this upon the tree of shame,
Thy body hung, with arms spread wide,
The spear revealed the heart of flame
That burned within thy sacred side.
For this our altars here are spread
With mystic feast of bread and wine,
Still thy redeeming blood is shed
From that sore-stricken heart of thine.
May heads of nations fear thy name
And spread thy honour through their lands,
Our nation’s laws, our arts proclaim
The beauty of thy just commands.
Let kings the crown and scepter hold
As pledge of they supremacy;
And thou all lands, all tribes enfold
In one fair realm of charity.
Jesu, to thee be honor done,
Who rulest all in equity
With Father, Spirit, ever One,
From age to age eternally.
℣. His empire shall be multiplied.
℟. And there shall be no end of peace.
ANTIPHON OF THE MAGNIFICAT
He hath on His garment and on His thigh written; King of kings and Lord of lords. To Him be glory and empire, forever and ever.
Commemoration is made of the occurring Sunday.