Long Live Christ the King!
By Thomas J. Euteneuer
This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King and on Monday the feast of Blessed Miguel Pro, the Mexican martyr who died with the words "¡Viva Cristo Rey!" (Long live Christ the King!) on his lips. How ironic that the feast of Blessed Miguel falls every year somewhere near the feast of Christ the King in the Church calendar. This marvelous saint and, indeed all the saints, remind us that our lives are not our own, that we serve a great King whose service is sweet and blessed - and demanding. Our King does not need a political party or an army of pawns to do His Will. He needs saints to transform the kingdom of this world into the Kingdom of God. Will we join Him?
In the modern world we are not used to kings (and queens) being anything other than figureheads. In countries that have them, they are generally nothing more than symbols of the national identity or holdovers from a bygone era, or heads of state but without any political power.
Christ our King, however, is not one of these monarchs. His kingship is not political - indeed, He told Pilate that His kingdom was not of this world and He refused to be the political messiah that His people expected. Nor is His kingship just ceremonial, as if he were fulfilling a nostalgic social need for a national figurehead. Rather, He reigns over us with Truth and His Kingship is social. He demands that we be personally virtuous and conduct a worthy struggle against the enemies of His Kingdom - the world, the flesh and the devil - that affect everyone. He wants the total transformation of our culture so that the kingdom of this world may be purified of its evil and given over to authentic justice and charity. We all have something to do for Him, no matter how meek or mighty we might be.
The subjects of such a King bind themselves on oath to serve Him and carry out this project of social transformation to make the world one for Christ. We see that project most fully implemented in the lives of the saints. They fought the hard battles of their respective societies and sometimes they even gave their lives and their blood for Christ so that men could be saved from the power of evil. They first transformed the hearts of those who listened to them and in turn transformed the societies in which they lived to make them more fitting places for the ultimate coming of Christ. Politics tends to follow the transformation of society, for good or for evil, and the saints know that.
If we haven't already made the decision to do so, it's time to serve this King with our whole beings. Like the saints, we cast aside any fear of acknowledging our loyalty to Him and ask the King where He wishes us to serve His kingdom best. He will direct His loyal servants to their most effective way of overcoming the darkness and bringing His Light to the world.
What is it that the King calls you to do? Is it the humble service of a family? Is it offering faithful service to the poorest members of our society, the unborn, by sidewalk counseling, working in or supporting a crisis pregnancy center, or some other prophetic action directed at our culture of death? It may be that He calls you to "be fruitful and multiply" for His Kingdom and have more children. Every king is blessed by an abundance of citizens for His Kingdom and those who are able to do so must take seriously His call to transform our world by giving life and educating children in the ways of the Faith.
It is through humble service like this that we are given the opportunity to become saints. We transform culture first by transforming our hearts in His service. Blessed Miguel Pro lived a life of heroic service to others and died a joyful martyr. His final words are a call to each of us to glorify our King in our lives here on earth and a reminder of the gift of eternal life promised us in heaven.
Indeed, "Long live Christ the King!"
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer is the President of Human Life International.
For more information on today's feast, see Catholic Culture.