The Catholic year is drawing to a close: next weekend marks the celebration of Christ the King, and the following weekend marks the beginning of Advent. Somehow, in the midst of democratic squabbles and social media sexual scandals, the implied orderliness and peacefulness of a monarchy is terribly tempting. It whispers of a loyalty deep and abiding and even confides a safety in position, place and relationship that is elusive in America today. Second glances are more revealing: the benevolent monarch bears the burdens of subjects, fosters interdependence and mutual respect, demands and provides attentiveness, creates opportunities for positive change and growth. The benevolent monarch inspires and challenges, embraces and believes humbly in a whole far greater than self.
Sitting back now in the confines of a coffee shop, comfortably sheltered from the fierceness of New England’s autumn wind, there is a temptation to slide into the holiday season without notice of the bookend feasts of Christ the King or the launch of a new year with Advent. There is a temptation to glide along the surface of the secular and ecclesial seasons. But then there is the real invitation of Catholicism: to trust the benevolent monarch with fears and worries, burdens and cares; to receive and contribute to the interdependence of the community; to care for and listen to one another without the speedy judgment or knee-jerk reaction…..to look for those moments and choose those actions that will make a positive difference in the lives of others, to realize with true humility the paradox of insignificance and perceived power.
More than a set of rules or a pre-determined practice, Catholicism is about lifestyle, vision and purpose, directions and choice. It is about failing and trying again, and it is about realizing that humanity shares one rickety boat on a vast ocean. It is about the confidence in a belenvolent monarch who inhabits an imperfect world and offers the something more that is so very hard to see in the rhythm of daily life’s demands. It is, after all, about what is most meaningful in human life: relationship.