4th Degree K of C Honor Guard assist Solemn High Mass at FSSP Personal Parish in Georgia

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By J.D. Rasnick, Chairman Una Voce Georgia

Mableton, Georgia – This weekend the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus for the entire state of Georgia met at the FSSP parish of St Francis de Sales in the Atlanta Diocese. In a 2 hour ceremony they conferred the Fourth degree on 113 men. Both FSSP priests at the parish are Fourth degree Knights. Following the ceremony there was a solemn high mass with honour guard. This was a fancy black tie affair. After mass 300 fourth degree Kights and wives attended a banquet at the church. All comments were positive. The church, caliber of the FSSP priests, music etc had a profound impact on this group of Novus Ordo Catholics. They simply loved it. There were some high level Knights here from several states and they were impressed. The highest ranking man there Vice Supreme Knight Singer gave a talk at the banquet and talked about how much he loved attending the latin mass and about the beautiful church. They are taking this good impression with them to their parishes and the officers will take this good impression to other high ranking Knights. This was the first time this has been done. This is a milestone in the acceptance of the latin mass by the main stream catholic church.

Many thanks to Mr. J.D. Rasnick who has been very kind in giving Una Voce Carmel permission to reprint this article.  Additionally, Parochial Vicar, Father Roberto Cano, FSSP at St Francis de Sales in Mableton, GA was part of the first Una Voce Carmel meeting, November 18, 2007.  Father Cano is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Augusto Cano who attend St. John Bosco Latin Mass Community in Carmel, Indiana.    

Anger & Its Remedies

Fr. Roberto Cano, FSSP

AMDG

For the anger of man worketh not the justice of God. – Js. I, 20

             There is not a man, woman or child amongst us here today who at some point in their life has not been angry.  For many of us this may be an understatement, as we may spend a majority of our time brooding thoughts of anger towards others.  While for others it seems that very few things if any can ever make them angry.  The point is: anger is very much part of our human experience, it affects everyone at one moment or another and this is not without reason.  We might dare to say that if such a person existed who never got angry he would hardly seem human.  And so we see even in the life of Christ, Who is perfect God and perfect Man, that when He cleansed the Temple from the moneychangers and vendors He manifested a “holy anger” — which was really a zeal for the house of God.  What is clear then is that if in the life of Christ Who is absolutely sinless there was anger, it cannot be said that all anger is sinful.  Hence, the difference between godly/holy anger and the anger of man which according to St. James “worketh not the justice of God.”  Let us then discuss anger in further detail and the virtues which serve as its remedy.

            First and foremost, it must be said that anger is a passion or what is more commonly called an emotion.  Anger as a passion causes a bodily transmutation in the person who is undergoing the action due to the presence of the sensitive object.  This is why say we feel “anger” towards certain persons who may have caused an injury towards us when they are in our presence.  Anger always considers two objects, namely, vindication and the bad or harm of the one causing the sorrow.  Reason is what announces the cause of the anger because it judges the injustice or harm done.  Although an act of reason is necessary for anger to be present, the emotion of anger does not always listen to the command of reason.  The emotion may not always cease when the vindication is being fulfilled and so even if one may correctly judge the injustice, the passion may go beyond what justice requires.  It is here where we get into the realm of sin.  If we are driving on the highway and someone is about to cut us off, our natural reaction is to become angry because our intellect recognizes an evil present namely the danger of crashing and of our bodily life.  Reason would dictate for us to grab the attention of the other driver by honking or some other method, but if we begin to curse, yell and berate the other driver then we have certainly exceeded what is just and therefore have sinned.  On the other hand, if we see someone physically harming one of our loved ones, and here again the natural reaction would be to become angry because we recognize the evil being committed against the person we love.  In this case, reason would dictate to act in a manner in which the culprit would stop even if that means physically hurting the other because what we are doing is defending the innocent.  It should be kept in mind that in this instance, only that force which would stop the threat is permissible and to go beyond that is to certainly sin. 

            The whole discussion on anger is so important because we must realize that the emotion or feeling in and of itself is not sinful.  Nor is to seek the vindication sinful unless we try to usurp the authority of God Who has said that, “Vengeance is mine.”  We usurp the authority of God when we ourselves become the judges of what is just and what is not and then seek out the vindication in accord with our subjective standards.  As Catholics, we know what is just by following the law common to our nature that is the natural law, but also that law which has been revealed by God through the Church.  Simply put, anger is sinful when either because of the object such as when a person wishes to exact vindication against the order of right reason or out of hate desires an end in and of itself evil or by the mode or manner when anger boils up exceedingly in the individual either interiorly or exteriorly.  Moralists tell us that when the anger is disordered on account of the object it is generally speaking a mortal sin because it goes against the order of justice while disordered anger by the mode or manner tends to be a venial sin.  Therefore, what should be clear is that to return an evil with an evil is wrong no matter what the circumstances may be or how justified we may feel.  This is a point that cannot be overlooked by parents and spouses.  In the case of parents, it is often the experience that the children will disobey and that as a result the emotion of anger may arise and rightly so.  However, the pitfall with most parents does not come in recognizing the need in disciplining the children because of their disobedience, but rather the manner in which they do it.  All too often, parents become angry and lose their control when they have failed in their past to be consistent with the discipline of the children.  At times it seems that they feel compelled to shout louder or spank harder in order for them to be heard even if the offence continues being the same.  However, what is really necessary is a discipline that is consistent and which seeks to inform the child that what they have done is wrong and therefore intolerable.  In most cases, this should not require an increase in force or in shouting.  In the case of spouses, there are any number of reasons it seems to become angry at the other whether it be the grave instance of infidelity to the lesser instance of pride and stubbornness of one of the spouses.  And here again there may be legitimate reasons to be angry, nevertheless, this does not excuse the offended spouse to treat the other spouse like an enemy or some expendable part of the family.  By the holy bond of matrimony the two have become one flesh and the souls of the couple are spiritually united to one another when they have received the Sacrament.  Therefore, to be angry and harm the other spouse by coarse words and indifference really only serves the purpose to hurt oneself.  We should heed the words of St. Augustine who said, “It is better to deny entrance to just and reasonable anger than to admit it, no matter how small it is.  Once let in, it is driven out again only with difficulty.  It comes in as a little twig and in less than no time grows big and becomes a beam.”  It is precisely here where the remedies for anger become so important not only for the common good of spouses and the family, but also of the individual.

            Christ, the 2nd Person of the Blessed Trinity, when He assumed a human nature unto Himself never ceased being God.  And as God he is Omniscient, that is all-knowing, and thus it was fitting that His disciples would call Him Teacher because indeed He was and is the Perfect Teacher for He knows all that can be known.  Ironically, however, but one time in Scripture do we read these words, “Lean of me, because I am meek and humble of heart” (Mt. XI, 29).  This is the one time that Christ said, “learn of me” not that the other things He did and taught were not to be followed, but especially in this point where His disciples to learn from Him.  For as the spiritual authors remind us humility is the foundation of the spiritual life.  It is the fertile ground which makes the other virtues flourish in our souls.   And it is particularly these two virtues of meekness and humility which temper the anger we find ourselves often combating.

            Meekness is the moral virtue which moderates anger according to right reason.  In other words, it tempers within our soul the desire for vengeance or revenge so that its desire never becomes an end in itself or becomes so great that we harm the order of justice.  According to St. Thomas Aquinas, “meekness makes a man master of himself.”  This is because the anger that might be felt never exceeds what is right and just and is manifested as such in our actions towards others.  We see this in a perfect manner in the life of Christ, Who as the Scripture tells us “came as a king, meek and sitting upon an ass” (cf. Mt. XXI, 5), in His desire for the salvation of sinners corrected and at times rebuked them severely not for an end in itself but because of the evil they were committing, namely, rejecting Him as the Son of God.  The question arises: we should we do when our anger becomes inordinate?  Here the counsel of St. Francis de Sales proves to be so valuable, “I constantly advise you that prayers directed against present and pressing anger must always be said calmly and peaceably and not violently.  Moreover, as soon as you see that you are guilty of a wrathful deed, correct the fault right away by an act of meekness toward the person you were angry with.  We must repair our anger instantly by a contrary act of meekness.  Fresh wounds are quickest healed, as the saying goes.”  And although practicing meekness towards others is always laudable we must be willing to practice this virtue with ourselves.  What do I mean?  That many souls often get upset with themselves when they see that they have sinned or acted in a disordered manner.  Thus, a person gets angry at the fact that they became angry or angry that they continue to commit the same sin over and over again.  And this serves no purpose whatsoever as it steeps our hearts in passion and if anything causes anxiety and lack of peace in our souls.  Here again our patron St. Francis de Sales has the adequate insight, “We must not fret over our own imperfections.  Although reason requires that we must be displeased and sorry whenever we commit a fault, we must refrain from bitter, gloomy, spiteful and emotional displeasure.  Many people are greatly at fault in this way.  When overcome by anger they become angry at being angry, disturbed at being disturbed, and vexed at being vexed…It may seem that the second fit of anger does away with the first, but actually it serves to open the way for fresh anger on the first occasion that arises.  Moreover, these fits of anger, vexation and bitterness against ourselves tend to pride and they spring from no other source than self-love, which is disturbed and upset at seeing that it is imperfect.”

            It remains now to say a few things about the virtue of humility.  Like meekness it is a moral virtue by which a man considering his own defects holds himself in the lowest place according to its mode.  Humility has basically two functions: 1) to restrain an inordinate desire of our own excellence, in other words, to think of ourselves more than we are 2) to subject us to God by acknowledging all the goods we have received whether material or spiritual have their source from God.  To admit that we possess certain talents or gifts is not necessarily a lack of humility, unless we hold ourselves as the source and reason for these gifts as if we had not received them from God.  Humility has truth at its very center for the virtue allows us to see things as they truly are and not as they appear or we think them to be.  Humility is entirely opposed to pride which is the inordinate desire of our own excellence and this is where anger fits into equation.  What is often the cause of our anger is the insult or injury our self-love receives.  As we said earlier, not only is humility the sine qua non (the indispensable principle to grow in sanctity) of the spiritual life, but also the very foundation of it.  There is a great need to practice this virtue because we have received a command or precept from the Our Lord Who said, “learn of me.”  We can be assured that in Heaven there are saints who do not have the same excellence in all the virtues.  For example, no one has the same purity of the Blessed Virgin Mary nor can everyone fast like St. Catherine of Siena, practice poverty like St. Francis of Assissi, or detachment like St. John of the Cross, however, every saint we know has practiced the virtue of humility and to a heroic degree.  There is no saint in Heaven that is not humble!  We must convince ourselves that although we might be destitute of some of the virtues the saints possessed, we can never attain eternal glory without the virtue of humility.  Humility like all the moral virtues is not only infused into the soul in the state of sanctifying grace, but is a virtue that can be acquired through the assistance of actual grace.  Which leads to a very important principle: if we wish to be humble, we have to be willing to be humiliated.  There is no other way.  This does not mean that we become a door mat or a kick me sign to others, for every man has a right to a good name and to be respected because of his dignity as a creature of God.  But it does mean accepting and bearing the humiliation when it comes and with an intention that is supernatural meaning for the sake of God’s glory.  In humiliation we have the perfect opportunity to resemble Jesus Christ, Who though entitled to all the honors and praise the world could offer Him, nevertheless, bore humiliation and scorn for the salvation of souls and the glory of the Father. 

            Non nobis, Domine, non nobis—not to us, O Lord, not to us but to thy name give glory (Ps. 113, 1) this indeed is the cry of the humble man.  And we must ask ourselves when we are angry: are we angry because God is insulted or are we angry because our love of self has been wounded?  If it is the former then there is room for authentic zeal to do an arduous action, in this case, to defend the rights of Almighty God as did Christ when He cleansed the Temple.  However, if we grow angry due to self-love then we only seek to protect our own honor and to glorify ourselves.  The saints are quick to point out that of the numerous merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary that which made her most suitable to be the privileged Mother of God was her humility.  To use the words of St. Bernard, “By her virginity she pleased God, by her humility she conceived Him.”  What is clear from all our discussion today is that we need to grow in humility and meekness if we seek to work the justice of God.  Indeed, we must be as St. James admonishes us, “swift to hear, but slow to speak and slow to anger.” (Js. I, l9).  For truly it will be as Christ said, “unless we are converted and become as little children, we shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. XVIII, 3).

The Nature of Marriage and The Family


Father Roberto Cano, FSSP 

And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. Lk. II, 51

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost Amen.            


bouguereau_song_of_the_angels.jpgOn this the octave day of the Epiphany, Holy Mother Church honors this day by focusing on the Holy Family of Nazareth.  For it was in the divine plan not only that the Son of God become man, but also that He grow and be nurtured by the loving care of parents, namely, under the care of St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Due to their exalted mission as the parents of the Redeemer, St. Joseph and particularly Our Lady enjoyed great personal sanctity, and therefore serve as primary examples for both spouses and parents.  How then on such a great feast can we fail to speak about marriage and the family?
           

      God created marriage as we are told in the book of Genesis, “It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself…Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh” (Gen. II, 18, 24).  Thus, in creating marriage, God created it with a certain nature/end and with specific properties.  When God creates, He creates with a divine plan and not arbitrarily.  Any attempts by individuals or secular governments to change or distort the nature of marriage are done in vain for the very author of marriage is God Himself Who does not change.              

      In essence, marriage whether we are speaking about a Christian marriage or a natural marriage, is a contract between two parties, namely, a man and a woman from which a perpetual bond is formed.  What occurs in the marriage contract can be gleaned from the following definition: “in the marriage contract a man and a woman give and accept an exclusive and perpetual right for acts which of themselves are suitable for the generation of children.”  This is true for all marriages, and therefore if any one of the parties withholds their intention to fulfill the terms of the contract, then the contract is null and void and therefore there is no marriage.  This point is fundamental to understand particularly in our day when so many couples attempt to enter into wedlock while having the intention to not generate children from their union.  What this obviously means is that these couples were never truly married, but rather were living in a state of concubinage.  And here we see the great evil that contraception and sterilization has had on marriage and the family.  Both contraception and sterilization seek to usurp the authority of God who has established the marital act solely within the confines of marriage which by definition seeks to procreate and bring forth new life.  These artificial means, however, only serve to frustrate the end of the marital act and allow the couple to take pleasure in the act itself.  Thus, making the means, that is, the marital act an end unto itself.             

     Now Christian marriage, that is marriage between the baptized, differs from natural marriage in so far that it is more than a contract, for it has been elevated to the dignity of a sacrament and therefore is an efficacious sign of grace.  The great doctor of the Church, St. Augustine, tells us that the three blessings of Christian marriage are: children, conjugal faith and the sacrament.  Upholding the traditional doctrine Pope Pius XI, in his encyclical on Christian marriage, Casti Connubii, tells us:

Thus amongst the blessings of marriage, the child holds the first place.  And indeed the Creator of the human race Himself, Who in His goodness wished to use men as His helpers in the propagation of life, taught this when, instituting marriage in Paradise, He said to our first parents, and through them to all future spouses: ‘Increase and multiply, and fill the earth’ (CC, 11).  

It should be clear then that the primary end of marriage is the procreation and education of children.  Children are brought into this world not only to populate the world and to continue the existence of the human race, but more importantly to be worshippers of the One, True God.  In order for them to do so, however, they must be baptized to receive the gift of faith and to become members of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Catholic Church.  We know from the life of St. Joseph that to be a father simply does not mean to engage in the conjugal act and bring about new life, but rather to provide, educate and form the child that is entrusted into one’s care.  It goes without saying, that those marriages which are barren of children are no less a marriage than one which may enjoy an abundance of children.  Children are a gift from Almighty God, and it is according to His Will that He bestows the gift of life to the different couples.             

      The second blessing which St. Augustine speaks about is conjugal faith and this refers to mutual fidelity between the spouses concerning the marital act.  Since “the two become one flesh” as Sacred Scripture tells us it is impossible for the marriage contract to allow for other partners aside from one’s spouse.  In essence, we are talking about the property of marriage which we call unity.  In sacramental marriage not only are the bodies of the spouses united, but even more importantly their souls are united.  Here we see the great evil of divorce which basically condones the practice of successive polygamy and polyandry, that is, the practice of having more than one wife or husband.  Since marriage is of divine institution, it is clear that no government or civil magistrate has the power to dissolve the bond which is formed so that the interested party can form another.  Married persons have to be always vigilant of maintaining their conjugal fidelity for even a willful thought or desire can betray their marriage vows.  As Christ said, “But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her hath already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. V, 28).  The key, however, to remaining faithful in conjugal relations is the love one has for the other spouse.  This love must be holy and pure, not that passion filled love of lust and infatuation, but rather that love of which St. Paul speaks about, “Husbands, love your wives as Christ also loved the Church…So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.  He that loveth his wife, loveth himself.  For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the church” (Eph. V, 25, 28-29).  Since the love of Christ for His Bride the Church is without limits as proven by His Supreme Sacrifice on the Cross, so too must the love of a husband for his wife be without limits even unto the point of his very life.  Is it not true, dear brethren, that those moments in which conjugal fidelity is most tested are in those moments when the love of one’s spouse has lessened or become extinct?             

     The final blessing of which St. Augustine speaks about is the sacrament.  By this St. Augustine refers to that second property of marriage of indissolubility and the elevating of the marriage contract to a sacrament and therefore a source of sanctifying grace.  It is clear that marriage once validly contracted enjoys a perpetual bond that cannot be dissolved except by the death of one of the spouses.  For Christ has said, “What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder…Whosever shall put away his wife and marry another, committeth adultery against her.  And if the wife shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery” (Mk. X, 9, 11-12).  Indeed, the marriage union of the baptized recalls the perfect union which exists between Christ and the Church.  Archbishop Fulton Sheen would remind couples preparing for marriage that it takes “three to get married.”  How true this is particularly of Christian marriage where God must be at the center!  Although, marriage does not confer a character like baptism, confirmation and holy orders, it does confer sacramental graces continuously to the married couple.  These graces are granted so that the spouses can better fulfill their duties of state.  In the words of Pius XI:

The faithful once joined by marriage ties can never be deprived of the help and the binding force of the sacrament…the grace of matrimony will remain for the most part an unused talent hidden in the field unless the parties exercise these supernatural powers and cultivate and develop the seeds of grace they have received.  If, however, doing all that lies within their power, they cooperate diligently, they will be able with ease to bear the burdens of their state and to fulfill their duties (CC, 41). 

All too often Catholic married couples with the passing of the years forget that their marriage is a sacramental marriage.  They forget that God is at the center and willing to assist them in their duties if they seek His assistance.  Instead, they live their marriage as two persons who at one point in their lives fell in love.  They should then hear the counsel of St. Raphael to Tobias, “Hear me, and I will show thee who they are, over whom the devil can prevail.  For they who in such manner receive matrimony, as to shut out God from themselves, and from their mind, and to give themselves to their lust, as the horse and mule, which have not understanding, over them the devil hath power” (Tob. VI, 16-17).  A Christian marriage without God is a contradiction of terms and is destined to fail.  Is it any wonder then that in such marriages the devil has already triumphed?            

      This lengthy discussion on marriage brings us to our last point which is the family.  The family is built upon the indissoluble bond of marriage and is the foundation for every culture and nation.  The Fathers of the Church when speaking about the family often called it the “domestic church.”  This is because of the similarities between the two divinely constituted institutions.  Just as the Church has a hierarchical structure with the different members fulfilling specific offices, so does the family have a hierarchical structure with different offices.  Today, however, this reality is often hidden or denied as a result of the emasculation of the male gender and the subsequent loss of authentic femininity in the female gender.  What am I speaking about?  I am speaking about the current crisis in many families where the father and the mother have reversed roles.  Although there are several factors that have caused this crisis, a large part of the problem is the great deception of our modern culture which states that there is no difference between the genders.  But this is completely absurd!  On a physical, emotional and psychological level men and women are different and in fact it is these differences which the other gender compliments.  The sacred text is clear, “male and female he created them” (Gen. I, 27).  Thus, we should realize that the family has been created by God with a certain structure in which the father is to fulfill certain specific duties that are in accord with his nature and likewise with the mother.  The father is the head and it is his principal duty to provide and protect his family.  The mother for her part is subject to her husband not as a slave or servant, but at his loving companion and it is her duty to nurture the children and tend to the upkeep of the home.  Now there may be some among the congregation who might be tempted to scoff and say, “Father that might be true for some families, but in mine it simply isn’t the case because of…”  While there might be legitimate reasons for both parents to work and aid one another in their specific roles, nevertheless, the structure of the family does not change regardless of the circumstances.  The father is the father and the mother is the mother!  And lest we forget the role of children, the children are to follow the example of Our Blessed Lord who was subject to both St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin.  They should recognize that in their obedience to their parents they are obeying the Will of God in their lives.  For all paternity on earth is a share in the paternity of the God the Father and therefore to obey one’s father is to obey one’s Heavenly Father.             

     We return once again to the Holy Family and see that the great secret of their sanctity was living their ordinary lives in an extraordinary manner.  We cannot fail to forget that Christ chose to spend the majority of His life hidden as the son of the carpenter, but even then He remained the Redeemer of the world.  By this example He shows us that we are called to live our Catholic faith in our different states of life and that there is not a task so menial or trivial that escapes the sight of God.  “Everything is grace” to put it in the words of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and so we cannot overlook our duties as an obstacle to our sanctification, but rather the means to our sanctification.  So often in our day we complain about the lack of peace in the world, but do we realize that peace begins in the home.  Peace, as St. Augustine, tells us is the tranquility of order.  The question which remains is: Do we follow the order God has established in our marriages and our families?  If the answer is no, then is there any wonder why there is unrest in the hearts of the spouses and the children?  As a priest I cannot fail to exhort the families of the parish to pray and to pray together.  You have certainly heard it said, “The family that prays together, stays together.”  For when a family is praying together then not only is it obeying the command of the Lord, but also petitioning for the help the family needs to support the weaknesses of its members.  Dear brethren, if we are praying in our families and seeking to follow the order which God has established in our families then we will be like that wise man in the Gospel who built his house upon the rock so that when the rains and floods came it did not fall.  But if we are failing to pray and follow the divine order established by God then we will be like the foolish man who built his house upon sand.  As the Scripture says, “the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall thereof” (Mt. VII,. 27)

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost Amen.

The Royal Kingship of Christ


Father Roberto Cano F.S.S.P.

 

Tu dicis; Thou sayest it; I am a King (Jn. 18, 37)

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

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As it is the duty of any mother to defend and protect her children from harm’s way, so too our Holy Mother the Church seeks to defend and protect her children from the dangers of heresy and error.  There is no denying that in our day there rages a great movement in the world that desires to reject God and His law, and seeks rather to put the individual and the dictates of his natural reason at the center of society.  This is the heresy of laicism or secularism which ultimately seeks to deny the rights of God and to relegate religion as an entirely private matter and as something entirely separate and contrary to the State.  And so it is that the Church in her wisdom has established this solemn feast of Christ the King in order to combat this error.   As an annual reminder to her children and to the world that indeed Christ is King and that we, men, owe Him our allegiance and our love!  For He is King of all the created world, that which is seen and unseen and “of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Lk. 1, 33).  Or to put it in the words of today’s epistle: “All things were created by Him and in Him; and He is before all, and by Him all things consist” (Col. 1, 16-17).  On such a glorious feast, it is only fitting to say some words about Our Blessed Lord’s kingship and His kingdom. 

It should be noted, first of all, that this teaching of Christ’s kingship is not a novelty.  In fact, Sacred Scripture is filled with references of His kingship in both the Old and New Testament.  We cannot fail to notice that the ancient Jews had no king but God Himself until the time of Saul.  Recall the episode in the first Book of Kings where Samuel the last of the judges of Israel was approached by the people and told to make them a king to rule and judge them so that they could be like the other nations.  God then told Samuel, “Hearken to the voice of the people in all that they say to thee.  For they have not rejected thee, but me, that I should not reign over them” (1 Kgs. 8, 7).  From this point on, a period in Israel’s history begins where they are subject to a human king and no longer to the sweet yoke of God’s rule.  Thus, the Jews began to desperately await the coming of the Messiah, the Son of David Who is to reign forever.  However, as we well know, they were and are still seeking a Messiah that is solely a temporal ruler who will liberate them from their enemies.  The text of today’s Gospel bears witness to this fact.  The Jews arrest Christ and bring Him to Pilate to be tried because for them He is but an impostor and not their king.  They themselves will say, “We have no king, but Caesar” (Jn. 19, 15).  Yet, what does Our Lord say in the face of death?  He does not deny His Kingship, “Thou sayest it; I am a King” (Jn. 18, 37).  Thus, it is in Christ i.e. through the marvelous work of the Incarnation that God re-establishes Himself as the King of all men.  Listen again to St. Paul in today’s epistle, “…because in Him, it hath well pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell; and through Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, making peace through the blood of the Cross, both as to the things on earth, and the things that are in heaven, in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Col. 1, 19-20). 

The Kingship of Christ is entirely unique unlike to that of any other.  Christ is not only King, but also Priest and Prophet.  In fact, it is only He as Eternal and High Priest Who can offer a sacrifice worthy of God because He is the Victim of that same sacrifice.  That is why the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the most perfect form of worship of God and if we wish to truly honor and adore Him then we should seek to assist at Holy Mass whenever possible.  But our responsibility does not end there!  Being Roman Catholic cannot be simply reduced to our Sunday obligation, but rather living our lives in conformity with our Faith.  Which is to say within our homes and families, but also in the world.  Christ our King has given us precepts by which to live our lives and that which is most important is that precept of charity, which is the love of God and the love of neighbor on account of our love of God (propter Deum).  Let us not forget that when we are judged by this Merciful King it will be as St. John of the Cross said, “in the evening of this life we will be judged by our love.”  Charity, however, in order to be authentic must always be in accord with truth.  To love a spouse or a child or any other creature more than God is not charity.  Nor is it charity to confirm someone in their sin or to remain indifferent in the face of evil.  Truth, dear brethren, is a person and that Person is Christ our King and anything that offends Him or denies Him cannot be of the truth.  Its that simple!

Now it remains to say a few words about Christ’s kingdom.  What is its origin and where can we find it?  To the first question, Our Lord gives a direct answer to Pilate saying, “My kingdom is not of this world” (Jn. 18, 36).  Which is to say that Christ’s kingdom is essentially supernatural and therefore not a natural or humanly created institution.  His Kingdom, however, has two aspects one external and the other internal.  The external aspect of His Kingdom is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church which He Himself founded.  The Church as we know is in the world, but not of the world as was Christ.  It is through her that the work of the Redemption is continued and that men are brought to eternal salvation.  As baptized Catholics we can only be grateful for sharing in His kingdom on earth.  Nevertheless, we must keep in mind that Christ’s kingdom has an internal aspect as well.  For He has said, “Lo, the kingdom of God is within you” (Lk. 17, 21).  Thus, the man in the state of sanctifying grace has the Kingdom of God within Him because the three Divine Persons abide in his soul.  Our Lord’s dominion does not only affect the Catholic Church and those in the state of grace rather it embraces all men.  To use the words of Leo XIII and Pius XI, both of blessed memory, “‘His empire includes not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ.’ Nor is there any difference in this matter between the individual and the family or the State; for all men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ.  In Him is the salvation of the individual, in Him is the salvation of society” (Quas Primas, 19).  It is the obligation, therefore, of society and every individual man to adore, worship, thank and make reparation to Christ as King.  This obligation escapes no one as these are the rights of God.

Brethren, we live in times where there is much talk about rights and even in this country there are a bill of rights considered as essential for every citizen.  There are civil rights, women’s rights, animal rights, human rights and so on and so forth.  Yet, what has happened to the rights of Almighty God?  Does not God Who created us have rights as well?  And if so, who is to defend these rights?  This solemn duty ultimately pertains to the Church as the one Source of Salvation to defend the rights of the One, True God Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  Furthermore, as members of the Mystical Body this obligation pertains to us as well.  All too often, however, we as Roman Catholics are prone to throw our pearls before swine, that is, to make light or be indifferent of the deposit of Faith which we have received.  How else does one explain the on going slaughter of innocent life, the blasphemies, the sacrileges, the moral depravity and other atrocities that permeate our culture?  All of which, I can assure you, would hardly exist if Christ truly reigned as King in the hearts of Roman Catholics.  We must be firmly convinced that if we are not serving Christ our King, then we are serving the Prince of this world, the devil.  Our Lord is clear for He said, “He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth” (Mt. 12, 30).  Think of the Machabees and their zeal for the law of God and His worship: “Then Mathathias answered, and said with a loud voice: Although all nations obey king Antiochus, so as to depart every man from the service of the law of his fathers, and consent to his commandments: I and my sons, and my brethren will obey the law of our fathers.  God be merciful unto us: it is not profitable for us to forsake the law, and the justices of God: we will not hearken to the words of king Antiochus, neither will we sacrifice and transgress the commandments of our law, to go another way” (Mac. 2, 19-22) Where are the Machabees of today?  Truly, “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away” (Mt. 11, 12) as Our Lord said.  A distinction, however, must be made Our Lord is not asking us to take up arms and to declare a jihad (a holy war) against the infidel, but rather to engage in the spiritual combat against our real enemy: sin and self-love.  That is where the battle truly lies!  What is clear then, brethren, is that if we wish to reign in the Kingdom of Christ there is no room for the faint of heart.  Victory is found in the Cross of Christ alone and if we wish to reign with Him we must be willing to die to ourselves for Him. 

Finally, let us recall that all good kings have good queens that share in their work to some degree and the same is true with Christ.  For we have a most glorious queen in the Blessed Virgin Mary.  If we truly wish for Christ to reign in our lives, in our families, in our parishes (particularly this parish of St. Francis de Sales) and in our world there is no better way than going to Our Lady.  For she will seek the graces we need from her Son as our Advocate so that the work of spiritual perfection will be accomplished in us.  Then Christ will truly reign in us and through us.  Let us pray for one another for the courage and perseverance to follow our King until our last breathe that we may say for all eternity, Viva Cristo Rey—Long live Christ the King!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.