Monday, November 25, 2013

¡Viva Cristo Rey!

I’ve been recalling off and on throughout the day my favorite memory of the feast of Christ the King—¡Cristo Rey!

I was a fifth grade student at Academia San Jorge in Santurce, Puerto Rico. And the students from our school were in charge of the banners prepared in honor of that Sunday’s Solemn Mass celebration. 

What I will never forget is the sight of students from every grade, from Kindergarten to High School, processing into San Jorge church for Mass—each holding a banner with a flag from a different country. It had all the elegance and pageantry of a royal ceremony, Caribbean style, of course.

Following the flags, held high above the rest, was a banner with the image of Cristo Rey, which was hung high at the front of the church, right behind the communion rail.

Nothing could have provided me with a better visual of what it means to declare Jesus Christ as the King of the Universe!

Iglesia San Jorge, Santurce, Puerto Rico
“While nations insult the beloved name of our Redeemer by suppressing all mention of it in their conferences and parliaments, we must all the more loudly proclaim his kingly dignity and power, all the more universally affirm his rights… 
Nations will be reminded by the annual celebration of this feast that not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ. It will call to their minds the thought of the last judgment, wherein Christ, who has been cast out of public life, despised, neglected and ignored, will most severely avenge these insults; for his kingly dignity demands that the State should take account of the commandments of God and of Christian principles, both in making laws and in administering justice, and also in providing for the young a sound moral education… 
If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God.”
 ~Pope Pius XI 
(On the Feast of Christ the King) Encyclical, 
dated 11 December 1925

Video featuring a song and photos in honor of the Cristeros, Mexican martyrs of Mexico (1926-1929) known for their "¡Viva Cristo Rey!" cry as they faced execution: