The Prudent Man Knows and Does What is Good
viva christo rey
Pope Pius XI established the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe in 1925 with his encyclical Quas Primas. The encyclical describes the nature and extent of Christ’s Kingship and how the Church should ever uphold the ultimate rule of Our Lord in the public sphere, especially in the face of rampant secularism. Pope Pius XI writes, “When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony” (Quas Primas, paragraph 19). Catholic men, especially fathers, have the privilege and responsibility of leading the way in establishing both private and public recognition that Christ is King.
First, Christ must be made the rightful King of one’s heart, one’s family, and one’s home. Quas Primas explains that Our Lord’s kingdom “is spiritual and concerned with spiritual things” (paragraph 15). The spiritual reality of Christ’s kingship must be firmly planted in one’s private life before bringing Christ the King to the public sphere. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he told them to pray “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done”. These two petitions cannot be separated; a man must submit to the Lord’s will if he is to live in peace and lovingly rule with Christ in his home. Without establishing Christ as the source of his power — first through prayer and then virtue — a man’s share in Christ’s lordship devolves into tyranny. The one true King revealed his kingship most perfectly when nailed to a cross and the expectation is no less for Catholic men.
The family, as the foundational social unit, helps to establish the reign of Christ in society. From the perspective of current events and the apparent crumbling of society, one wonders if Catholic family life might play a role similar to the Catholic monasteries of the middle ages in preserving Catholic culture. As one establishes a vibrant life of faith in the home and participates in parish life centered on the Mass and Sacraments, grace overflows into one’s work and other social engagements. A virtuous life brings about the “well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony” Pope Pius XI references. While neither Jesus nor Pope Pius XI promise perfect social order, when a society respects the rights of the Church, honors and upholds the natural law, and protects and cares for society’s most vulnerable members it will, unsurprisingly, receive the “great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony”. When, however, the rights of the Church are ignored, the natural law is rejected, and the most vulnerable are killed or cast aside, society will suffer slavery to sin, disorder, discord and disunity. May Our Lord Christ the King reign in our hearts, our families, our Church and our world. Viva Cristo Rey!
From Qua Primis, encyclical of Pope Pius XI instituting the feast of Christ the King
Nor is there any difference in this matter between the individual and the family or the State; for 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. “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved.” He is the author of happiness and true prosperity for every man and for every nation. “For a nation is happy when its citizens are happy. What else is a nation but a number of men living in concord?” If, therefore, the rulers of nations wish to preserve their authority, to promote and increase the prosperity of their countries, they will not neglect the public duty of reverence and obedience to the rule of Christ.
Catechism 2105: The duty of offering God genuine worship concerns man both individually and socially. This is “the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral duty of individuals and societies toward the true religion and the one Church of Christ.” By constantly evangelizing men, the Church works toward enabling them “to infuse the Christian spirit into the mentality and mores, laws and structures of the communities in which [they] live.” The social duty of Christians is to respect and awaken in each man the love of the true and the good. It requires them to make known the worship of the one true religion which subsists in the Catholic and apostolic Church. Christians are called to be the light of the world. Thus, the Church shows forth the kingship of Christ over all creation and in particular over human societies.
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