BY Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey, SS.CC.
THE SOCIAL REIGN OF THE KING OF LOVE.
The Feast of the
Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ
and its teaching in relation to
the Crusade of the Enthronement.
THE Holy Year, so rich in blessings and graces for all true lovers of the Sacred Heart, was brought to a close on December 31st, 1925, by the providential institution of the Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord. This was thrown into relief by the renewal of the Consecration of the whole human race to the Heart of Jesus when the Vicar of Christ solemnly and officially acclaimed the Divine King as the King of Love by His adorable Heart.
This marvelous gesture of the Supreme Pontiff was received with an ovation of faith by the whole Catholic world, and welcomed with intense joy by those who were fighting under the banner of the “Social Reign of the Sacred Heart.” In 1924, I, myself, presented to the Reverend Fathers of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts, assembled in Chapter, a petition which we all signed for the institution of this feast. The Work of the Enthronement can indeed take credit for having educated public opinion in its favor. Hence, I may justly claim for the apostles of the Work that glory which is rightly due to them, as the Pope benevolently acknowledged in his Encyclical. It was also most encouraging to the DirectorGeneral and National Directors to receive, as they did from every quarter of the globe on New Year’s Eve, 1925, innumerable messages of sincere and affectionate congratulations. All alluded to the establishment of this Feast, regarding it as the logical consequence of the apostolate accomplished by the Crusade of the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and as a world-wide Enthronement carried out by the Supreme Pontiff to mark the close of the Holy Year. And, indeed, the meaning of the word “Enthronement” has never been brought out so fittingly as on that day in St. Peter’s portico.
Recall to mind the beginnings of the work. The Crusade of the Enthronement started an intense spiritual movement, perfectly in harmony with the idea of the Social Kingship of Our Lord, an idea which logically proceeds both from the nature and organization of the work. From the very dawn of the Crusade, we have always taught that Jesus, King of Love, must reign in family life and in society. And, though many applauded the idea, others opposed it, saying that the term “Kingship” was inopportune and imprudent and they regarded as a rash innovation the title adopted for the Work: Social Reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We call it “Social” for, though in the case of each individual we insist on the necessity of a deep interior life which should be essentially Eucharistic, we do this with a view to reforming the whole of society and bringing all men to the Feet of the King of Kings. It was, from the outset, our most cherished hope to see Jesus Christ one day acclaimed King of Kings, Master of legislators and Ruler of peoples, a divine, victorious Monarch, through the Scepter of His Heart.
We have always opposed Modernism which tries to dethrone Jesus and banish Him from the life of the family, society and nation. We ever do our utmost to shun this evil and to encourage solemn acts of reparation for the terrible war that is now being waged on God. Christ must not be deprived of His social rights by the shameful cowardice of His so-called friends and the malice of His enemies. His title must be accepted by individuals and families. His empire must extend to Parliaments and laws, though many would think it prudent that He should remain mute in the Tabernacle, mute in Parliament and mute before the abuses of modern society. To us, therefore, accrues the immense satisfaction and glory of having boldly preached this divine and social Kingship, with its inherent consequences. We have often been bitterly criticized, but always favored with the Holy Father’s blessing and approval, and encouraged by a flow of countless graces.
The word “Enthronement” is eminently suitable as proclaiming the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ and is now used by the very people who at first opposed it. The homage we ask of families clearly implies royal honors, since we claim for the Sacred Heart the most honorable place in every Catholic home, the throne which by right belongs to Him as King. We do not impose any particular picture of the Sacred Heart, but we have always recommended the copy of the celebrated painting, commonly known as Garcia Moreno’s, in which the Heart of Jesus is shown with the emblems proper to Kingship. This representation of the King of Love has found its way throughout the entire world and may now be seen in homes of every kind, from native African huts to magnificent palaces in Europe and America, everywhere proclaiming the sublime ideal of our Crusade, as expressed in St. Paul’s famous words, “He must reign” (1 Cor. xv, 28.) and by the words of the Lord’s prayer, “Thy Kingdom come.”
The Ceremony of the Enthronement has also been carried out in Catholic schools, factories, clubs and business offices. It gradually invaded official groups and organizations. A start was made by celebrating the Enthronement in public establishments such as hospitals and barracks; then came the turn of public committees and municipal governments and lastly Parliaments and royal palaces. At the end of the Great War, and to show her gratitude to the Heart of Jesus, Belgium made an act of homage to the Sacred Heart, which, if not official, was extremely solemn, and was presided over by the King and the Episcopate. But the apotheosis of all was an act, which is perhaps unique in history as an official protestation of faith and a homage of national adoration, namely the Enthronement carried out in Spain on May 30th, 1919, on the Cerro de los Angeles by that great Catholic Monarch Don Alfonso XIII and his entire Government. I had the undeserved honor of being appointed to preach a Triduum in the most historic church of San Jeronimo el Real, in Madrid, in preparation for this official Enthronement.
Early in 1925, I wrote to the Holy Father concerning our Campaign: “If liturgically and officially this feast is a new one, the homage which it involves has already been practised for some time past in many countries, thanks to the Work of the Enthronement.” What an honor it is for us to see our humble efforts crowned and our most ardent wishes realized by the Holy Father’s Encyclical, in which Our Lord is explicitly alluded to as the King of Love. Moreover, the consecration of families and societies to the Sacred Heart is recommended as the most excellent means of acknowledging the Kingship of Christ. Finally, the Supreme Pontiff has ordered that, on this new feast day, the act of consecration of the entire human race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus should be publicly renewed, using the formula wherein are several times repeated the words “Be Thou King!”
And now let us note that the spirit of this solemn and beautiful feast is the same as that of the Enthronement. Some seem to imagine that Christ is to rule only in private life. They would like to suppress, or blot out, those pages of the Gospel which show His inalienable and divine right over society and over nations, over all authority and governments. This right has been proclaimed anew before the whole world by the Vicar of Christ in his Encyclical. He desires above all that this Kingship should come to be not only recognized, but lived up to practically by all the faithful, and our work can help to bring this about, as it helped in the establishment of the Feast. We must aim at strengthening and developing true Catholic ideals in the family, since these are the only possible basis for the true restoration of the rights of Christ. A more profound study of the Gospel will lead us to know and obey ever better the precepts established by Christ the King, and to regulate the standards of our Social life thereby, for, if we frequently repeat the ejaculation “Thy Kingdom come!” we must accept the obligations it entails.
The moral strength required for the fulfilment of these obligations is especially acquired in the family, the root of the social tree and the source and sap of the life of the nation. Hence, we must firmly maintain that the home is really and truly the foundation stone of the throne of Christ the King, and only good Catholic families can form the crown which society will later place at His Divine Feet. Lively and intrepid faith, Eucharistic fervor, sanctification of our daily actions, faithful observance of the laws of the Church, all virtues, in short, depend on the intensity of the love for the Heart of Jesus as Center and Lord of the family.
Apostles of the Enthronement, it is for you to make the Kingship effective in the families which your zeal has already conquered for Christ. Quicken in them the spirit of faith and see that the spirit of love burns more and more fervently, so that Jesus may be in very truth the King and Center of their supernatural life.
Forward then, ever forward! The more the King is loved in families as the Friend of Bethany, the more secure will be His Sovereignty over nations.
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