The liturgical calendar is bringing us to the end of one season and is preparing us for the next season—Advent. Today we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King which is a rather modern feast (Pius XI in 1925) designed to combat atheistic materialism.
We are not much into kings these days; however, there is a deeper significance to the symbolism of Christ the King. Christ the King armors us with hope for the dark days of Advent-Winter.
People often ask, “Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?” Jesus was a historical incarnation of God-Love force two thousand years ago. The proper question is, “Do you accept the Christ as the incarnation of God-Love permeating the cosmos?” (BTW, Christ was not Jesus’ last name.) The Christ was with God before the beginning of creation. Proverbs 8:30 is powerful witness to the presence of Christ from all time:
God sovereignly made me—the first, the basic—
before he did anything else.
I was brought into being a long time ago,
well before Earth got its start.
I arrived on the scene before Ocean,
yes, even before Springs and Rivers and Lakes.
Before Mountains were sculpted and Hills took shape,
I was already there, newborn;
Long before God stretched out Earth’s Horizons,
and tended to the minute details of Soil and Weather,
And set Sky firmly in place,
I was there.
When he mapped and gave borders to wild Ocean,
built the vast vault of Heaven,
and installed the fountains that fed Ocean,
When he drew a boundary for Sea,
posted a sign that said no trespassing,
And then staked out Earth’s Foundations,
I was right there with him, making sure everything fit.
Day after day I was there, with my joyful applause,
always enjoying his company,
Delighted with the world of things and creatures,
happily celebrating the human family.
The God-Force—Love—was present in creation even before creation burst forth. Creation is still bursting forth as the universe expands. God is incarnate in the very stardust of the Big Bang. Scientists probing deep space can still hear the background hum of the imploding matter.
The new science—the new cosmology—does not divide spirit and matter. The inner face sought by Chardin and the hidden wholeness probed by Merton is the Christ bringing all creation to completion. This is our Advent hope as we plunge into wintry cold and darkness. Christmas proclaims that there is always light amid the deepest darkness. The cosmic Christ incarnate in matter is our reason for the season—HOPE.
And do we need hope. Look around. Airplanes bombed, Parisians mowed down by terrorists, Mali hotel attacks, the divisive stupidly of presidential candidates, the marginalization of minorities, the hard-hearted rejection of refugees. Is this evidence of the Cosmic Christ making all things new?
What is not evident to the naked eye is obvious to the human heart. Christ lives. Christ reigns. Christ is bringing all things to completion. Merton said that “we are already one…we just do not know it. We have to become what we already are.” As Christians we are called to roll the dice, to take a chance on this wager—Christ is still with us as creation-completing Love. The cosmos does not just reflect the “grandeur of God.” The cosmos with all its imperfections IS the grandeur of God. Paul reminds us that we live and move and have our being in the Christ. We are called to abandon our devotion to our small petty egos and bring God-Love to the cosmos. We are called to be co-creators. Merton wrote in New Seeds of Contemplation:
To work out our own identity in God, which the Bible calls “working out our salvation,” is a labor that requires sacrifice and anguish, risk and many tears. It demands close attention to reality at every moment, and great fidelity to God as He reveals Himself, obscurely, in the mystery of each new situation. We do not know clearly beforehand what the result of this work will be. (Merton, Thomas (2007-11-27). New Seeds of Contemplation (pp. 34-35). New Directions. Kindle Edition.)
Our response is hope. Hope gives us the courage to let go of our selfish quest for our personal survival. The Buddhists teach and teach us well that the ego is not real. We are most real when the Love of the Cosmic Christ impels us surrender to life. It really is let go and abide in the Cosmic Christ. Each act of love is one more step to the wiping away of all tears.