The prayer to Christ the King printed below gives us a great answer to the often-asked question “Who’s in charge here”! When we say that “I am the captain of my ship, the master of my soul,” and don’t seek God’s guidance, our boat is often in danger of capsizing in the choppy waters of life’s vicissitudes.
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ can provide us a safe harbor instead! This prayer can be prayed any time of the year, not just on the feast day of Christ the King at the end of November.
O Jesus Christ, I acknowledge you as universal King. All that has been made has been created for You. Exercise all Your rights over me. I renew my Baptismal Vows. I renounce Satan, his pomps and his works; I promise to live as a good Christian. And, in particular do I pledge myself to labor, to the best of my ability, for the triumph of the rights of God and of Your Church. Divine Heart of Jesus, to You do I offer my poor services, laboring that all hearts may acknowledge Your sacred kingship, and that thus the reign of Your peace be established throughout the whole universe. Amen.
Pope Pius XI instituted the feast of Christ the King in 1925 to combat the disturbing growth of secular as well as atheistic thinking around the world. Many rulers and elites in various countries had fallen dangerously prey to the notion that mankind could manage just fine without God, thank you.
They sought to relegate our Creator to an insignificant role in public life or to no role at all, as in Soviet Russia. The journalist Lincoln Steffens had recently described that atheistic society, a brutal dictatorship, as “the future, and it works.”
Needless to say he was tragically mistaken. What we kick God out of our lives our world becomes more turbulent and dangerous, not less, as we wind up worshipping the false Gods of money, power, and fame instead. As St. James said in his New Testament letter "where there is envy and contentiousness there is instability and every wicked deed" (James 3:16).
When we forget God’s commandments, we also become more vulnerable to enslavement by such despots as Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and their minions, men who demand our worship with an iron fist, leaving acres of killing fields in their wake.
For example, this propaganda poster below, entitled “Stalin is the people’s happiness,” appeared while millions of Russians were perishing in his concentration camps set up for “enemies of the state!” The dictator, like all such men, sought to make himself God, much like the Archangel Lucifer when he rebelled against our Creator saying “I will not serve.”
Speaking of happiness, Pope Pius XI pointed out in his encyclical Quas Primas, in which he established the feast of Christ the King, that our Lord is the author of happiness. He wrote “Oh, what happiness would be Ours if all men, individuals, families, and nations, would but let themselves be governed by Christ!”
Indeed, imagine how much less strife would we see in this world if we all made a better effort to follow His law of Love established in the Ten Commandments!
Let us remember St. Augustine’s famous quote here as well, when thinking of hearts, mentioned in the prayer to Christ the King above. As the famous saint wrote in the beginning of his Confessions “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”
As Pope Pius XI put it “When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony. Our Lord's regal office invests the human authority of princes and rulers with a religious significance; it ennobles the citizen's duty of obedience.”
Christ Himself gave us an example of obedience par excellence right before His Passion when he said to His Heavenly Father in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane “Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will by thy will be done” (Luke 22:42).
Remember also that each of us has a special mission here on earth, a unique place in the Body of Christ. What’s your mission? It doesn’t have to be something earth shattering.
As St. Therese of Lisieux said, in describing her little way, the smallest things we do for the love of God can be quite big in His eyes! Whatever “poor services” (mentioned in this prayer to Christ the King) you offer our Lord can help you define your mission.
Christ said in John’s Gospel that His Kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36). Yet He suffered and died for us so that we might be able to join Him in His Kingdom in Heaven for eternity! One of the hallmarks of that Kingdom for which we are all striving, as pilgrim souls here on Earth, is that lasting peace, what we call in Mass “the Peace of Christ.”
Pope Benedict XVI gave us a mandate when he came to the United States last spring for us to work and pray for the coming of Christ’s Kingdom as fully as possible. He said this meant “facing the challenges of present and future with confidence in Christ’s victory and a commitment to extending his reign.”
He also told us to be “constantly alert for the signs of its presence, and working for its growth in every sector of society.” After all, as we say in the Lord’s prayer “Thy Kingdom come.”
May this prayer to Christ the King help us all resist the snares of Satan as we strive to experience the true peace that only our Lord can bring!