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Celebrated on the last Sunday of the liturgical year, the Solemnity of Christ the King was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 with his encyclical Quas primas to respond to growing secularism. The Holy Father saw that attempting to “thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law” out of public life would result in continuing discord among people and nations.
The Solemnity reminds the faithful that Christ reigns as king of the entire world forever, and it encourages Catholics to respond to this reality. Pope Pius XI notes: “The kingship and empire of Christ have been recognized in the pious custom, practiced by many families, of dedicating themselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; not only families have performed this act of dedication, but nations, too, and kingdoms” (Quas primas, 26). Let us rededicate ourselves this year to bearing witness to the reign of Jesus Christ and his Sacred Heart.
“If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, ‘as instruments of justice unto God.’” – Quas primas, 33
“And since there is in the Sacred Heart a symbol and a sensible image of the infinite love of Jesus Christ which moves us to love one another, therefore is it fit and proper that we should consecrate ourselves to His most Sacred Heart-an act which is nothing else than an offering and a binding of oneself to Jesus Christ, seeing that whatever honor, veneration and love is given to this divine Heart is really and truly given to Christ Himself.” – Annum sacrum, 8
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