2003-11-23 The Feast of Christ the King climaxes the liturgical year...
November 23, 2003
The Feast of Christ the King climaxes the liturgical year. Advent. This week the civil government celebrates Thanksgiving Day. The two feasts, of Church and State, are related. Presidential decree mandates an act of thanksgiving to God for His blessings on our nation. All earthly societies and civil rulers are subject to the divine order of our Creator.
Calamity and sorrow issue from a denial of the Kingship of Christ. The general comforts of our national life seduce people into taking blessings for granted and underestimating the power of evil to undermine the social order. People who suffer know the power of thankfulness better than those who have been challenged little.
His Eminence Kazimierz Cardinal Swiatek recently made a remarkable act of thanksgiving. He is nearly 90 years old and is Archbishop of Minsk-Mohilev in Belarus. At a conference in Kiev of Catholics from the former Soviet Union, he recounted his two years in the Marinsk gulag, seven years as a slave laborer in the Vorkuta Arctic Circle mines, and many more years in Siberia.
He gave special thanks to the elderly women, the "babushke" who preserved the Faith underground in those terrible times, teaching the young at the risk of their own lives:
"I have always held that a woman's witness to her faith is one of the most precious things in life. It is the proverbial 'babushke' women who managed to preserve faith in God during the years of persecution, when there were neither churches nor priests to be found. We must be grateful to them for the faith which has not disappeared forever from these heavily oppressed lands. It is these women to whom we owe gratitude for teaching at least the Our Father and Hail Mary to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Even if they haven't paid for the faith with their blood, their lives still bear the signs of martyrdom. They are heroic figures, even if a monument to their names will never be erected. Honor and glory to you, dear ladies, beloved babushke of gold!"The evil empire of atheism brought untold suffering in those lands. We must take seriously the many threats against the Church and the moral order in our own country. When Catholics grow soft and degenerate, they become easy prey to their attacks. Solid Christian instruction in our parishes is essential to confounding the destructive lies against the moral order propagated even by courts of justice and legislatures. Among many reasons for thankfulness, I am grateful for the increasing numbers of young and old who are being taught the Faith of the Saints in our own parish. As we give thanks to God for all His blessings, we invoke the power of Christ the King against anyone who would refashion the Kingdom of God into a gossamer Utopia of the People.
Fr. George W. Rutler