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Whose kingdom are we building?

During my first few years of seminary, my spiritual director – a Jesuit priest – asked me whose kingdom I was seeking to build ... my own or that of Christ.

At first I didn’t understand, but he helped me enter the meditation given to the church by St. Ignatius of Loyola – meditating on two kingdoms (or standards).

The first standard is of Christ the King who came to serve others, and the second is of the tyrant Satan and living selfishly. The litmus test of whose kingdom we serve is how we make decisions in our lives. It is a question that has stuck with me for years. So I ask: Do you seek to serve under the standard of Christ the King in the decisions you make?

We hear on this Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, the words from St. Paul: "He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Col 1:13-14)

As St. Ignatius showed, we must choose between the mentality of Satan where we seek riches, honor and pride and the way of Christ the King who chose poverty, contempt and humility. The great news for us is that serving Christ and loving our neighbor as ourselves brings genuine joy. The more we allow Christ to be the king of our hearts and lives, the more we experience the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

St. Ignatius has us picture the battlefield of life and recommit to serving Christ by choosing his example.

Christ chose to come as a poor king born in a manger.

Christ allowed himself to be mistreated and scorned by those who rejected him.

Finally, Christ humbled himself, accepting God the Father’s will even to shedding his blood on the cross.

Let us examine our lives as we prepare for Advent and repent of any ways we have sought riches, honor or pride ahead of loving God and our neighbor. Then we, too, can experience the joy of the newborn Christ the King and one day living in the joy of heaven.

 

Father Timothy Forgét is pastor of St. Jane Frances de Chantal Parish in Randolph and St. Mary of the Seven Dolors Parish in Osmond. Contact him at twforget@archomaha.org.

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