Sunday, October 25, 2009

Christ Our King

Traditional Catholics who follow the old calendar celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King today. Pius XI established this feast on December 11, 1925 and commanded it to be celebrated on the last Sunday of October, immediately before the celebration of All Saints. We are blessed to have the Tridentine Mass at our parish every Thursday evening and Sunday morning. Although I did not grow up with this Mass, I have come to love it and have found a richness within the liturgy and traditions of old that I am only just now discovering.

When I entered Church this morning, I noticed that the main altar was draped in gold-signifying the celebration of a high feast. But it wasn't until Father pointed it out in his homily that I realized the statue of the Sacred Heart which is centered on the side right altar, was draped in the same rich, gold, priestly vestments which our pastor wore. This caught me a bit off guard as I had never seen such a practice before. However, it visually drove home the significance and meaning of the feast we are celebrating-Christ our Lord and King. What a beautiful, lost tradition! Now many Catholics and non-Catholics alike may find this confusing and maybe even offensive. It is important to understand that this is not an idolatrous practice but rather a tangible reminder to us all of the dominion that Christ is to have in our lives and throughout the world. We know that this statue is not Christ, and we do not worship it. A picture is worth a thousand words however when it comes to expressing a belief and teaching of the Church.

I feel as if I am constantly discovering old traditions and devotions tied to the old calendar and liturgy. It makes me wonder why so much was discontinued after Vatican II-we have lost so much depth and knowledge for the sake of simplicity! As a result, I fear most Catholics know less of their faith than ever and hold less reverence and awe for its greatness. May the Holy Spirit continue to lead us to reclaim the fullness of our Catholic heritage!

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