Christ the King

The royalty of Christ is difficult to explain, to our republican society. He is to be grasped, to start, in the creation of the universe; mere kingship seems rather to demean Him. Yet it isn’t meant to do so, instead to make his claim on our loyalty explicitly greater than that of any earthly power, or prince. We celebrate His Dominion, beyond his personal authority. (Kings were once more than political officers; their lives ran conspicuously above the lives of their nations.) Martyrs have so often gone to death, declaring this kingship. It announces something above mere citizenship.

Whether in church, or outside it, we have for several reasons come to ignore this festival. This year, with All Saints on a Monday, reverence for Christ the King may seem to appear inconveniently in the Calendar. It is the same night as Hallowe’en. (The Novus Ordo had moved it away.)

Hallowe’en, in its crassness, and commercialism, makes the same appeal as Saint Valentine’s Day — to be retired or cancelled from common observation. Both are only tangentially Christian, but in our time, even Christmas and Easter come to be acknowledged as crass, commercial affairs. We cannot save them without restoring a world that was capable of religious sincerity.

My younger son is “Down syndrome,” which means he is a member of a tribe that is now usually murdered in the womb. Yet also, surprisingly, a tribe which by its nature, is understood to be innocent and kindly. This year, through my various “ischemic events,” I have perhaps had a small, partial experience of how my son finds the world; a new understanding of how plainly he assimilated Christ from our conversations; of the horror with which he learnt of the Crucifixion; but too, the incomprehensible simplicity of the Everlasting Life. He has, or course, a genius for understanding things that my cleverness would put beyond me.

The typewriter keyboard, for instance, is something I find myself almost learning again, yet it doesn’t amount to much.

With luck, my brain is as neuroplastic as others have been discovered to be, and I look forward to having the use of it back, in due season. For Christ is King, and what can be taken away from us? Except by Him who is the source of all gifts?