Pope Benedict XVI

"Beauty... is not mere decoration, but rather an essential element of the liturgical action, since it is an attribute of God Himself and His revelation."
(Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, 35)

24 October 2011

Sunday 30 October - Christ the King

Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the Feast of Christ the King 


In the 'traditional' Calendar the feast of Christ the King is celebrated on the last Sunday of October, the Sunday which precedes All Saints. 

The feast was instituted on this day in 1925 by Pius XI in his Encyclical Quas Primas, which reminds us that "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, # 19).

The encyclical has lost none of its importance, or relevance, as it speaks of the Eternal Truth, of Him, whose empire embraces all men (cf. Quas Primas, #18). It is in, and through, Him alone that there "is the salvation of the individual, in him is the salvation of society" as:
"...there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved [Acts iv, 12]. 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? [S. Aug. Ep. ad Macedonium, c. iii. ] 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" (Quas Primas, # 18).
We are reminded, and never more true than now, that it is through, and in, Christ that there are to be found all the remedies needed in society. It is through the understanding of this feast that one "shall minister to the need of the present day, and at the same time provide an excellent remedy for the plague which now infects society " (Quas Primas, # 24). A plague that has only spread:
"We refer to the plague of anti-clericalism, its errors and impious activities. This evil spirit... has not come into being in one day; it has long lurked beneath the surface. The empire of Christ over all nations was rejected. The right which the Church has from Christ himself, to teach mankind, to make laws, to govern peoples in all that pertains to their eternal salvation, that right was denied. Then gradually the religion of Christ came to be likened to false religions and to be placed ignominiously on the same level with them. It was then put under the power of the state and tolerated more or less at the whim of princes and rulers. Some men went even further, and wished to set up in the place of God's religion a natural religion consisting in some instinctive affection of the heart. There were even some nations who thought they could dispense with God, and that their religion should consist in impiety and the neglect of God. The rebellion of individuals and states against the authority of Christ has produced deplorable consequences" (Quas Primas, # 24).
As exhorted in the encyclical there follows after the Mass a Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as-well-as a Litany and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. 

In praying the Consecration, and under all the usual conditions, the faithful receive a plenary indulgence.

Prayer of the Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus 
Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Thine altar. We are Thine, and Thine we wish to be; but, to be more surely united with Thee, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Thy most Sacred Heart.

Many indeed have never known Thee; many too, despising Thy precepts, have rejected Thee. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Thy sacred Heart. Be Thou King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee; grant that they may quickly return to Thy Father's house lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.

Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbour of truth and unity of faith, so that there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.

Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism, and refuse not to draw them into the light and kingdom of God. Turn Thine eyes of mercy towards the children of the race, once Thy chosen people: of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior; may it now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life.

Grant, O Lord, to Thy Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: "Praise be to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to it be glory and honor for ever." Amen. 

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