Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

Miguel Pro and Christ the King

This past Sunday was designated as Solemnity of Christ the King. Originally promulgated in the 1925 document Quas Primas by Pope Pius XI to occur on the last Sunday of October, the feast is now celebrated each year on the last Sunday of the liturgical year - the Sunday before the beginning of Advent.

Culturally, the feast is meant to fly in the face of all that we hold dear in democratic countries: self-determination, representation, policy by consensus. Pope Pius XI read the signs of the times and could smell the growing determination by world leaders not to be bound by traditional morality. While Communists overthrew Russia and the revolutionary government in Mexico became violently anti-Christian, even Christian Europe witnessed new trends and social programs opposed to good morals. It was clearer and clearer to the Holy Father that an assault against Jesus Christ himself was underway. Placing the feast at the end of the year is perfect. The readings taken from the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours (especially those from the books of the Maccabees) for the end year all draw our attention to the Lordship of God. The readings do so in a stark way: example after example is given of worldly rulers claiming absolute dominion - even insisting that people violate the laws of God to prove their loyalty. In these cases, the readings dramatically highlight the necessity of martyrdom by those who love God.

One modern example given to the Church on November 23 is that of Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J. The young Jesuit found his studies for the priesthood interrupted by the Mexican Revolution. His seminary was moved to Texas, and after a time there, he finished his studies in Belgium. By then, the persecution of the Catholic Church in Mexico was in full swing. Where the laws were enforced, priests were forbidden to wear special attire, renounce allegiance to the Church, cease performing sacraments, required to marry, and executed for refusal to any of those things. Priests were literally being shot in the street wherever they were found. Bl. Miguel volunteered to return to this environment because he suffered to see his countrymen go without the sacraments, with nobody to preach the Gospel to them, with nobody to remind them that God heard their cries and would not leave them alone forever.

After sneaking back into Mexico, Bl. Miguel evaded the authorities for a few years. Frequently he would slip right under their noses using the same sort of clever disguises that he and his siblings had used in their amateur theatre performaces as children. He even made so bold as to evangelize soldiers and police officers in places where "wanted posters" displayed his picture! By the time the young priest was apprehended in Mexico City, he was personally arranging the food and rent money for hundreds of families dispossessed for adhering to Holy Church, as well as offering Mass illegally numerous times weekly to crowds of people numbering into the hundreds. At last he was betrayed, like Christ, by one of those who benefited from his labors. Arrested with two of his younger brothers on the pretext of an assassination attempt, he refused the opportunity to disavow his priesthood, and was ordered to be shot by a firing squad in front of ambassadors and the press corps of the world's socialist and communist countries and organizations. So it was that, refusing a blindfold, Bl. Miguel stood before his murderers, facing them calmly, and forgave them aloud. Then, as the command to raise rifles was given, he threw wide his arms and shouted out "Viva Cristo Rey!"

Long Live Christ the King!

This pose is the one captured by photographers. Some of them, though socialists, were awed by his bravery, and within days holy cards had been made from the photographs and were circulating illegally. He was forbidden a public funeral, but the government was unable to act against the tens of thousands who showed up to escort the body to its burial site.

The question we have to ask ourselves, whatever our state in life, is whether Christ is king over us.

Do I avoid sin for fear of offending Him? Or do I make excuses?

Do I engage in thankless service in order to please Him? Do I only do the good things I like?

Do I rearrange my affairs to accord more completely with His desires?

Do I fear the opinion of other people, even strangers, more than I fear provoking God?

Am I willing to part with anything - ANYTHING - material possessions, habits, relationships - the moment it begans to interfere with my relationship with Jesus Christ?

In calling myself a Christian, "One of Christ's" I am implicitly answering the above questions. Do I answer them the same way in acting like Christ?


If Jesus Christ is not the Lord of my Life, the King of my Heart, then He is just a nice prop in my life that I take out sometimes, maybe once a week or so, to make me feel better about myself. We have cause to concern about this situation because Our Lord, the King of the Universe, himself said, Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers,' (Mt 7:21-23).

Again, it is fitting that the feast of Christ the King comes at the end of the year, because when all is said and done, Jesus Christ is Lord. On the Last Day, He will have the last word.


2 comments:

Jology said...

I have been wondering what kind of person needs another person for living? I mean, you take Bible's text so literally that you might have forgotten that the book was written about 2000 years ago for the people who lived about 2000 years ago. How can you construe that book so literally? Those people who lived in a totally different culture that 2000 years ago understood all the metaphors so differently and now you are believing in the exactly same crap. I mention for example the gay-people. What's the wrong with them? It's not said in the Bible that loving the same sex would be a sin. Love was the most important thing, right?
And then another thing which has been bothering me is: what would you feel, if you were Jesus? Think about it, first you arrive to the Earth and you get killed because of that and humans. Then years and years after you are expected to come back. Would you really come? I wouldn't. Then, do God really need all your prayers and whinings? Instead of that you could appreciate the environment he had created to us. I think that would be the best way to respect his work. And those all Jesus Christ saves and God is my lord things feels to me just stupid (apologises, if i'm insulting). I'm sure you have much better things to do on the Earth than to give your life and soul to Jesus, who doesn't need either of them. Besides religions are no good for the humankind, they cause only troubles. "Which one is the right one?" "Die you heathen and heretical creature". And please, don't be so blind just open your eyes. Which one is the better option? a) to think about the "God" and "Jesus" and leave like a couple of ancients had written about the God&Jesus-law so we could please them, or b) just live like it is the best for this already ruined humankind and forget for a while those senseless obsessions. I think God would be happier if we concentrated into his creation instead of his personal good. I hope you won't send me to the hell straight away but think about the whole world and then decide whether to believe in God and focus on him or focus on our society which has to be improved immediately. I presume you are aware of the Earth's situation and the global warming. Some christians think that God will come and save them from that catastrophe, but I think that we have the duty to act and take care of the Earth. And i think that the christianity is not necessary as long as you respect that "living material". Yeah, I know that you are not all as fanatic as some other christians could be and I see you are a christian with a couple braincells more, so i try to be gentle but brutally honest. Because you guys need the truth and some facts of the real life. Jesus won't save you if you really are that stupid. I'm sure of it. And i noticed that you think trees and animals are just "things" not worth of the human. I think you and me are as precious as a one pine or a mouse and we should be really humble. But not the sake of God, but the sake of the Universe.

His Handmaid's son said...

Jology,

You bring up a very great number of points. It will be hard to address them all here because I do not have your note in front of me. Briefly, the Catholic Church has always understood itself to be the group of Christians founded by Jesus Christ himself. I am Catholic and cannot speak for any other sort of Christian - although I know that many non-Catholic Christians will agree with much of what we believe.

Catholics do not read the entire Bible as if it were written today. Some sentences like, "The ball is red," will not change meaning much over time. You are right though, that metaphors, idioms, and hidden meanings might get lost or changed in our minds after 2000 years. In fact, it would be foolish to think that they don't. That is why the Church has thousands of "biblical historians" working to understand the original meaning of the text, and thousands of theologians helping us to see how it applies today.

You are also correct, very correct, that the chief means of serving God is to serve our neighbors.

We Catholics also agree with you that if we want to respect God, we must do so by respecting his whole plan for the entire creation. We should try to act in ways that will match up with how God designed things to work. It's funny, because rocks don't get to make decisions, and neither do mushrooms or trees. Animals, if they can make decisions at all, only make very basic decisions. But we can decide to go with or against the way the universe is supposed to work. In doing so, we can do great harm or great good. This ability to decide is a very beautiful dignity that God has given to us as humans that nothing else we see seems to have. That means that we humans have a special role as caretakers (not masters) of Creation.

Anyhow, I left a comment on your blog, and hope that you will email me so that we can discuss your various points further, if you like.

By the way - I am very glad that you speak/write English, because I don't know a word of Finnish, although I DO want to visit it one day!