Year’s ago I read an interesting book for a US PolySci course about the seclusion of the American President. It was a study about how the presidency of the United States had evolved into a position of isolation within inner circles filtering any and all information that made its way to the White House. The basic premise was that at the time when the President needed to be in touch with the country he was being insulated from reality. The workings of his staff and those attached to them had their own self interest first and foremost and truth was usually the casualty. The author related to the reader that this had always been the way monarchies worked as well – the court was the king’s staff and they did much the same as the president’s staff. It seems that the Kings rarely, if ever, truly understood what their subjects were really going through. For most monarchs, I think, it was always the intention to rule well; and if you go back and look at the coronation ceremonies of the British, and especially the French monarch’s, it was a primary prayer that was prayed over them – that they would rule justly and well over their charges. “Let thy hand be strengthened and your right hand exalted. Let justice and judgment be the preparation of thy Seat and mercy and truth go before thy face.” It just never works that way however.
In short a king has only one way to seek out his subjects and understand them – through others.
But with Christ, this is not the case. Christ our King doesn’t have this filtering issue to deal with – He has as the Holy Father says: “many different ways of seeking man out…” indeed His ways are as many as there are people. Even in our misguided thoughts and ways Christ our King can and does find us and lead us. His ultimate authority over us is an authority of Love – His Kingdom, which contains all creation is a Kingdom of Love. This rule of Love doesn’t contain multiple levels of filtering intermediaries. This rule is direct from our heart to His and from His heart to ours. This is both our comfort and our obligation. It is our comfort; for we know that our King can be found easily – we can have direct contact with Him. Blessed John Henry Newman’s motto spoke of this comfort, this joy: ‘Cor ad Cor loquitur’ – heart speaks unto heart. But it is our obligation because this is always the way we should act towards those around us – always open and willing to understand and help. By being open to others we are instrumental in introducing them to the King who comes to them, stays with them and guides them home. We make straight the paths for our King so the King can reign in new hearts. So in a special way this Feast of the Solemnity of Christ the King is a celebration of evangelization; the new evangelization, as Blessed John Paul the Great called it. An evangelization where we proclaim to the world: ‘Vivat Christus Rex!’