Friday, November 18, 2016

Simple Ways to Celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King

When I was little, I always thought it sounded so neat that different Asian cultures celebrated their own special year-long cycles: "Year of the Snake," "Year of the Rooster," or "Year of the Monkey." I would look over pictures of lavish celebrations, amazing food, and colorful displays in awe. I don't do anything that cool, I would think with a dramatic sigh (I was quite dramatic as an eight-year-old, and I still am, to an extent).

As I grew older, I learned about the liturgical year that we celebrate as Catholics-and I discovered how amazing it is. In America, we unfortunately don't throw the lavish, public celebrations that they do in other countries, but the feasts are still pretty fabulous-and I want to get better at celebrating them with fun and splendor.

This Sunday, we celebrate the last Sunday of the liturgical year. Not only that, but it's the Solemnity of Christ the King. Hence, there is every reason to celebrate with joy! However, each year, I am so focused on preparing for Advent (or being oblivious of the calendar altogether) that I neglect to really celebrate this solemnity in style. So, I decided to put together some simple ways in which we can all celebrate this glorious feast.


Watch The Return of the King.

Because any excuse to watch or read Tolkien is acceptable, right? ;) And really, it's a good chance to reflect on how epic Aragorn is, and how if he were our king we would probably charge into battle with him without a second thought...and since Christ is our king, and He's way more epic than Aragorn, we should really center our lives around Him.

Read Quas Primas.
This is the spectacular encyclical letter that Pope Pius XI wrote in 1925, in which he formally instituted the annual feast of Christ the King. The pope had noticed growing secularism around the world and decided to speak up (incidentally, this encyclical came out right around the time of the Cristero War, in Mexico).
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. It is for this reason that St. Paul, while bidding wives revere Christ in their husbands, and slaves respect Christ in their masters, warns them to give obedience to them not as men, but as the vicegerents of Christ; for it is not meet that men redeemed by Christ should serve their fellow-men. "You are bought with a price; be not made the bond-slaves of men."~Quas Primas #19
Still relevant in the 21st century? Definitely.

Recognize Christ as the king of your home.
Put together a prayer space where your family can gather together to pray. Attend Mass together as a family. Display religious artwork in your home. Together, celebrate liturgical feasts. There are so many ways, large and small, in which we can all venerate Christ as our king.

Make a "kingly feast."
Craft a meal that's fancier than normal, bring out special desserts, or make foods that resemble crowns. 

Pray for religious freedom.
The struggle to worship in freedom is not new-from the persecutions in the earliest days of the Church, Christians have been killed and tortured by governments. Various regimes have tried to suppress the Faith, yet in the midst of all of this, people still uphold Christ as their king. The Solemnity of Christ the King is, then, a perfect time to pray for religious freedom, for our government, and for all who are being persecuted by their governments for religious reasons.

Learn about the saints who spread the Faith during times of intense persecution.
We can read their stories, examine their lives, and look to their examples of love and holiness in times of strife. Newly-canonized St. Jose Sanchez del Rio, was just a young teenager when he was martyred during the Cristero War. Other saints, like St. Margaret Clitherow, lived centuries ago and worked hard to keep the Faith alive during the Catholic persecutions in England. These are just two of the many amazing saints who have chosen to live under the kingship of Christ in the most difficult circumstances.

I'm sure there are many more ways in which we can celebrate this solemnity, but hopefully this small list can help get you started. Let's close out the liturgical year in style as we celebrate Christ, our Lord and King! 
This post has been part of an occasional series on the liturgical year.

2 comments:

  1. My husband would love any reason to watch LotR. Thanks for this great post. It inspired me to cut up the breakfast wafffels into crowns this morning. The girls were excited :)

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    1. Ann-Marie, that is such a cool idea!! I think I may have to use your waffle-crown idea for our breakfast next year; it's seriously brilliant.

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