We draw to the end of another liturgical year as we celebrate the solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King, a feast established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as a response to growing nationalism and secuarism.
As I sat in prayer this morning, the question I asked myself was what does it mean for me to call Christ “the King”? I don’t mean what is the appropriate theological answer to the question or what answer would a Catholic Encyclopedia give or what Pope Pius had in mind when he established the feast. (Anyone can read Pope Pius XI’s encyclical Quas primas to get that kind of answer.) But what significance does it have for me to call Christ my King?
I had no immediate answer to the question. When I pray with Scripture using Ignatian Contemplation, for example, the Christ I walk with is the Christ who walked with his disciples during his human life. That Christ is my teacher, my friend, my guide. I usually “see” Christ in that aspect, not looking like a king.
So I closed my eyes and sat with the image that came to mind when I speak of Christ the King. And that helped me articulate that for me it means that it is Christ to whom I owe my ultimate allegiance. The one to whom I pledge my life. The only one whose judgement of me counts in the final analysis – the one before whom I will have to stand and give an account of myself.
It is not a kingship of subjugation, but rather one of choice; it is a kingship that will never be forced on us. Christ asks each one of us, will you let me be your King? I know my answer to that question.