A dark cloud of gloom is threatening McCain supporters these
days. We see headlines like "100 Days with President Obama" or "GOP Bloodbath
Predicted." Yet, even as I write this (less than a week before the 2008
presidential election), Catholics across the country are organizing round-the-clock
rosaries and Holy Hours, praying for the election.
As the old saying goes, it ain't over till it's over.
And even then, it ain't over. As the Catechism says (#668),
Christ is Lord of the cosmos and of history. He possesses all power on heaven
and on earth. Yet, until Christ returns at the end of time to judge the living
and the dead, his reign is under attack.
The Feast of Christ the King (the last Sunday of October in the Tridentine rite and currently the last Sunday
of Ordinary Time) is a reminder to us of
Christ's ultimate authority over the universe and his definitive defeat of the
powers of evil. This feast day reminds us who has the ultimate authority and
power–over nations, politicians, and our very hearts.
We have tried to exclude God from the public square and from
his dominion over our hearts. With Pilate, we say: Do you
not know that I have the power? I
have the power to control my own life, to control my own country, to choose my
own destiny. And Jesus answers, "You would have no power over me if it had not
been given to you from above" (John 19:
Just before the stock market crash of 1929, the U.S.
economy was booming.Americans were enjoying unprecedented prosperity, cars and
new technology, and a fast-paced lifestyle. Stock-market speculation and
speakeasies were on the rise, while traditional values declined. Women took up
smoking, drinking, and wearing short dresses. Americans began relegating Christ
and the Church's authority to a smaller and smaller sphere of their lives.
In 1928 Pope Pius XI presciently warned that even among the
faithful, the sanctity of marriage, the education of children, and Christian
modesty was endangered (Miserentissimus Redemptor, 16). And so he urged the
faithful to make reparation to the Sacred Heart. Offering reparation to the
Sacred Heart is not just a pious practice. It is a duty of all faithful Christians. The pope urged everyone to make a
Holy Hour specifically in expiation for our "own faults and those of others, to
repair the honor of Christ, and to promote the eternal salvation of souls" (MR,
To repair the honor of Christ.
Only four years earlier, in 1925, Pius XI had instituted the
Feast of Christ the King, hoping to stem the tide of rampant consumerism,
increasing secularism, and disregard for traditional moral values.
Not unlike today.
At the peak of the stock market in 1929, perhaps 40 percent
of the value of the stocks was pure air. History tells us what happened when
that bubble burst. We are on a similar path of recalibrating the true worth of
our country, economically and morally. It is said that whenever there's an
economic downturn, voters tend to favor the Democrats. Others are advocating "change"
– even if change means a trend toward socialism, abandoning traditional moral
values (especially the sanctity of life and of marriage) and excluding Christ from
the public square and from our lives.
In 1925 Pius XI admonished the world: "The rebellion of
individuals and states against the authority of Christ has produced deplorable
consequences…: bitter enmities and rivalries between nations, which still
hinder so much the cause of peace; that insatiable greed which is so often
hidden under a pretense of public spirit and patriotism, and gives rise to so
many private quarrels; a blind and immoderate selfishness, making men seek
nothing but their own comfort and advantage, and measure everything by these;
no peace in the home, because men have forgotten or neglect their duty; the
unity and stability of the family undermined; society in a word, shaken to its
foundations and on the way to ruin." (Quas Primas, 24).
It is eerily similar to our present day situation. Today,
even more, we need the Feast of Christ the King.
We need to remember–no matter how prosperous or how bleak
our economic and political situation, no matter who is president–Christ has
the ultimate power and authority. "[A]t the name of Jesus every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord" (Philippians 2:10-11).
The Feast of Christ the King reminds us that Christ alone is
the source of our happiness and true prosperity for every nation. Until Christ reigns
as King in every man's heart, mind, and will, and until political rulers and nations
recognize his Kingship over them, we cannot achieve true prosperity and peace
"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. Our Lord's regal
office invests the human authority of princes and rulers with a religious
significance; it ennobles the citizen's duty of obedience" (Quas Primas, 19).