New Year's Eve


It's the feast of Christ the King -though in a nod to our times I found a picture of Christ the Tzar, to note the only Tzar to whom I intend to bow, no matter how many there are.

That sentiment is utterly in phase with the origin of the feast, which Pius XI instituted in the 1920's as a countersign to the rise of socialism in its National and International forms. As nations threw out God and embraced despotism, the Pope did what any good Christian does in dark times: threw a feast. Of course it isn't fundamentally a political feast, but it is one designed to inflame love and strengthen resolve. Read more about that here or read the encyclical that started it all.

Speaking of Christians standing athwart rapidly spreading despotism, have you heard about the Manhattan Declaration? Lengthy explanation here.

At any rate, the feast is a welcome reminder that parties and movements rise and fall, but as Benedict XVI told cancer patients, when we fall, it is into the arms of the One who loved us: so all shall be well. It's also a celebration of the fact that, while freedom necessitates suffering (God won't prevent evil at the cost of free will), there is no evil out of which greater good is not being drawn. Fr. James T. O'Conner writes:
The meaning of the Lord's subjection of all reality in its present stage is, however, something upon which most of us do not often reflect. It means that, in some mysterious but real way, the risen Jesus influences, shapes, and directs all things so that out of all persons and things he is shaping the future visage of creation as that creation moves toward his glorious return. Even the sinner—whose very sin is at least implicitly an attempt to thwart the sovereignty and dominion of Christ—operates now within the overall plan of the Lord for the establishment of his Kingdom.
Which is why it's okay to have a party even with dark times on the horizon and the citizens of the West seemingly not able to throw freedom away fast enough.

Christ the King is also the last Sunday of the liturgical year (hence the post title). Can Advent really be upon us?