Approaching the Throne of Christ the King

  1. Share
13 10

​​On the Feast of Christ the King, we can think of many symbols that are affiliated with regal authority –the crown, the scepter, and the orb. We see these symbols come out most clearly in the recent funeral of Queen Elizabeth II back in September and we will see them again when her son and successor King Charles III is crowned King of England in May 2023. Yet one of the most identifiable symbols of a king is the throne that he sits upon. The throne is a symbol of authority where he sits in governance and judgment over his kingdom. Another symbol of the throne of a king is closeness and intimacy with his people – that He loves them and will take care of them as a father lovingly cares and provides for his children and as a husband lovingly cares for his wife. We see this reality alluded to in scripture where the throne of King Solomon is spoken about in nuptial terms:

“King Solomon has made him a litter [throne] of the wood of Lebanon: The pillars thereof he made of silver, the seat of gold, the going up of purple: the midst he covered with charity for the daughters of Jerusalem. Go forth, you daughters of Sion, and see king Solomon in the diadem, wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the joy of his heart.” - Song of Songs 3:11 – See The Crown of Thorns. 


In the Gospel of today’s feast (Lk 23:35-43), we see Jesus Christ as king upon his throne of glory – the cross of His passion. Yet the glory that we see him in is not the merely human and earthly glory of kings of ancient times. The glory we see Jesus embrace is one obedience to the Father’s will in humble love and humility unto death. In His regal glory, He shows us the reality of Divine Love which leads him to step into a battle that we could not fight on our own – the battle against sin, death, and Satan brought about by the sin of Adam. We hear as Jesus is nailed to the throne of His cross the rulers of the people, the soldiers, and one of the thieves crucified beside him say, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God…save yourself and us.” The crowds that come out do not recognize the Christ King upon his throne that is before them and His great sacrifice of love that will win them redemption. Even the ones who ask Jesus to come down from His Cross to placate worldly curiosity and feed in mockery.


The recognition of Jesus Christ the King of the Universe then touches upon another ancient practice of reverence and recognition towards the person of a king.  When a new king was anointed and crowned, his lords and vassals would approach the king on his throne and pledge their love, loyalty, and obedience. This would involve them kneeling before the king on his throne, placing their hands folded within his hands, and place their hands folded in his own hands while making this oath. We see this oath of loyalty, obedience, and love made to Jesus by the most unlikeliest source at the foot of the cross, Dismas the good thief. In acknowledging the innocence of Christ the King, he then pledges his loving allegiance through the surrender of his life to His king,  “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus accepts the pledge of His heart by saying,  “Amen, I say to you,  today you will be with me in Paradise.” We see in Dismas’ profession of faith and loving surrender to Christ the King, Jesus as King and Shepherd in love takes him from the cross of His sin and condemnation to the throne room of the sanctuary of Heaven. We see this recognition and pledge of loyalty and obedience made by all the tribes of Israel to King David in Hebron before He is anointed and enthroned as king (cf. 2 Sm 5:1-3).

When I embrace my cross alongside Christ the King, and acknowledge who He is by living the holy obedience of faith and love day to day. With the entrustment and surrender of my life in this virtue to the loving reign of His Sacred Heart, I then find a  companion in a King who then becomes present and who knows my burdens and my cross. Jesus then gives me the grace of the Holy Spirit that helps me bear the burdens of my wounds, frees me from my sins, leading me to healing, rest, and salvation. In his presence then, I find in Jesus a King who does not dominate or lord over me but a shepherd who is strong and gentle in His love and leads to freedom. Such reality we shall hear spoken of in the verses of the hymn, The King of Love My Shepherd Is: “Perverse and foolish oft I strayed, But yet in love he sought me, And on his shoulder gently laid, And home, rejoicing, brought me. “

The profession of holy obedience can become a gate by which the presence and love of Christ the King becomes manifest. We see this act of loving surrender made to Christ the King made manifest in various ways in the life of the Church, but especially in the promise of obedience that is seen at masses of ordination.  This is when the deacon, priest, or bishop that is ordained goes before his ordaining bishop on his cathedra, places their folded hands into his, while they are asked, “Do you promise respect and obedience to me and my successors?” After they give their yes, the bishop responds, “May God who has begun this good work in you bring it to fulfillment.” After this comes the completion of their ordination through the laying on of hands, anointing, and other prayers and rituals. 

This manifestation of the love of holy obedience is not only seen in the promise of the ordinand toward his ordaining bishop. A return promise is made by the ordaining bishop before God and toward the man being ordained by him through his embrace of the ordinand’s hands as they make their promise to God and to him. The bishop here promises in accepting this promise a holy stewardship rooted in the love of Christ the King to their brother who now becomes their spiritual son through ordination. They promise that they will love them in such a way that will lead them to paradise with Christ the King as they give them His love as spiritual sons. Bishops in this moment become Fathers who are called to nourish and guard the people of God - priests, religious and lay faithful. Bishops in their embrace of the ordinand’s hands imply the promise that they will not leave them to the spiritual wolves who seek to devour their lives. Rather, they promise to their sons that they will love them, guard them, and form them in the same love of Christ the King they seek to grow and abide in a way that leads both of them to paradise. Such a sacred promise is also reechoed in a similar fashion at the final religious professions of a sister, nun, or brother to their superior as well as by husbands and wives when they state their marriage vows to each other before God on their wedding day. 

The holy obedience and profession of faith in Christ the King is not merely an external disposition on the will but an encounter by those given authority and placed under authority with a fundamental decision that defines the rest of their lives. We sacrifice our self-will yet to be purified to the providential care of the will of Christ the King who forms and guides us in His love.  When we offer our self-will to Him as Dismas did before His cross and throne, we find a strength and a tranquility that we cannot achieve by ourselves. Pope Pius XI also speaks of this reality in his encyclical, Quas Primas, which placed this feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Church:

If the kingdom of Christ, then, receives, as it should, all nations under its way, there seems no reason why we should despair of seeing that peace which the King of Peace came to bring on earth - he who came to reconcile all things, who came not to be ministered unto but to minister, who, though Lord of all, gave himself to us as a model of humility, and with his principal law united the precept of charity; who said also: "My yoke is sweet and my burden light." Oh, what happiness would be Ours if all men, individuals, families, and nations, would but let themselves be governed by Christ! "Then at length… will many evils be cured; then will the law regain its former authority; peace with all its blessings be restored. Men will sheathe their swords and lay down their arms when all freely acknowledge and obey the authority of Christ, and every tongue confesses that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father." (n.20)


A danger is seen when obedience becomes only an end to itself rooted in use, self-opportunism, and authoritarianism. Besides leading to injustice and disobedience, the misuse of obedience can lead to abuses and destruction by becoming unfatherly, tyrannical, and unholy. If left unchecked it can even become one with the perverse utilitarian cry of the crowd telling Jesus to come down from His cross for the sake of his own self preservation and self-promotion. It then leaves the flock to fend for themselves through their own willfulness, prone to demonic abuse and manipulation.

May our prayer on this Feast of Christ the King as Jesus approaches the throne of our hearts in the Eucharist be that he conquer the disobedience of sin and its tyrannical tendencies that enslave and manipulate our own hearts and our world. May we be brought anew into the authority and care of the Sacred Heart of Christ the King so that He may guide and inspire all our dispositions, leading us to true peace. Finally, may He take us upon His shoulder as the King of Love and lead us from our share in the throne of His cross so we may one day rest before His throne in His heavenly glory.





Public Image from


To view comments or leave a comment, login or sign up.

Related Content

In the Desert with Jesus and Mary
Today, we begin our journey following Jesus into the desert.   Can you imagine?   He was just baptized in the Jordan, when, suddenly, the Holy Spirit led Him into the desert. He looks back and beckons. Not with His hands. Just a look.   Come.   We set out, uncertain, but not entirely.  We know Who we're following, after all. We trust Him. We thank God for Septuagesimatide. It's nice to prepare for an outing like this. But there is no other outing like this. How can we prepare? By shutting our minds to the distractions. By pulling away from the world. By centering ourselves in Him.   The walk through the desert is arduous. The sun is hot. We knew this walk wouldn't be easy. But God has a way of making His yoke manageable. Thank Him for the breeze that cools the brow. The farther we move, the quieter it becomes.  There are no birds here to sing.  It's so quiet, you can almost hear the sun sizzling in the sky. The sand baking. The sound of sandals dig, dig, dig into the sand. The walk itself becomes meditative. The sound of our feet has a rhythm that quiets the mind. We are going deep into the heart of God's creation to find Him there; Him and nothing more.  What more could we ever need? What more could we ever want? Our Lord is there, waiting for us.   Imagine. We leave behind the notifications, tings, rings, beeps and boops. Leave behind the music that bores itself into our consciousness and haunts our subconscious; the videos and tv shows that usurp valuable chunks of our memories with less-than-holy images and ideas.  Here in the desert, we don't need to, nay, we can't even concern ourselves with what we're going to eat. There's no food here to obsess over or gorge on mindlessly. Here, we must rely on Our Heavenly Father to feed us with the sweet bread of everlasting life. Gone are the comfy and soft blankets and pillows that cushion our comfortable lives. Gone are the heaters and fans and air conditioners that keep us all at a comfortable level of temperature.  Why are we so afraid of being uncomfortable? This walk isn't that bad. We are at the mercy of God now. In the desert. His mercy is everlasting.   A dark night of the senses. Forty of them. We shut them down to hear Him better. To follow Him better. Leave behind the baggage of the senses, of the memory, and the wounds and scars. Follow Him into the desert. Will you?   But without all that baggage we carry around each day...  What do we do with our time? What do we do with our memories? Our monkey thoughts?   We focus. Focus them on God. Focus on His will. On His word. What a simple time.   Can you see it? Can you imagine?   Our Lady has joined us in the desert, as well, but her retreat is spiritual. She is with Jesus in her mind, in her heart. She is always close to Him. Watching. Praying. Our Lady of Silence. She speaks only when necessary, so that she can better hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit. She holds all things in her heart. All things worth keeping, that is. Her heart has no room for anything that is not of God. Why do ours? Why do we make room for anything else?   She knows the journey that we're on and she prays for us. She knows, in the desert, we will be closer to Him than ever before.   Let us ask for her help as we make our way and follow the only Leader we should ever know. Let us ask the Father...   Loving Father, I seek nothing more than to please You and grow closer to You. Purify my heart and my intentions this Lent, Heavenly Father. Bring me closer to You, to Your Son. Prepare a place in my heart and home for silence and solitude, so I can hear Your voice and know Your will for me. Help me fast from the things that threaten the health of my soul and body, which keep me attached to this world, and which create noise to prevent me from hearing and knowing You. Enlarge my heart so I can be generous, like Zacchaeus. Open my eyes, so I can see, like Bartimaeus. Open my ears, like you did for the deaf man. Heal me, like You healed the paralytic. Dispel the demons that surround me, as you did for the Gerasene. Bring me back from death, as You did to Lazarus. I seek nothing but Your will, Lord. I know that I can do all things in You.     Image: Christ in the Wilderness, by Ivan Kramskoy (c. 1872, public domain), with icon of Our Lady of Silence (artist unknown)
Litany of Our Lady of Mount Carmel ~ In Anticipation of the Novena beginning July 8th
On July 8th, the Apostoli Viae Community will begin praying the Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, nine days before her Feast Day on July 16. This important part of Apostoli Viae's devotion to Our Lady under this title is posted here, for all to pray. We are sharing the beautiful litany below, which is part of the novena prayers.  We hope you will join us in supplication to the Flower of Carmel, our Mother and Queen! Litany of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Lord have mercy on us: Christ have mercy on us. Lord have mercy on us: Christ, graciously hear us. God the Father of Heaven, R. Have mercy on us God the Son, Redeemer of the world, R. God the Holy Spirit, R. Holy Trinity one God, R. Holy Mary, Queen and Beauty of Carmel R. We fly to thee, O Mary Holy Mother of God, R. Mother most amiable, R. Mother most humble, R. Mother most pure, R. Mother most modest, R. Mother most mild, R. Mother beautiful flower of Carmel, R. Model of resignation to the will of God, R. Model of meekness, R. Friend of all mankind, R. Mother of the poor, R. Comforter of the afflicted, R. Refuge of sinners, R. Helper of the dying, R. Virgin full of grace, R. Glory and hope of Apostoli Viae members, R. Faithful protectress of those who wear thy holy scapular, R. Most loving Mother of thy devotees, R. Joy of all heaven, R. Mother of holy love, R. Protectress of the Order of Mount Carmel, R. Through thy most exalted majesty, R. Hear us, O Mary Through the kindness of your heart, R. Through your heavenly love for your only-begotten Son, R. Through the love in which you shared in all the riches of Jesus, R. Though the pains experienced at His Passion, R. Through your motherly faithfulness, when you stood at the foot of His cross, R. Through your inner joy when you saw Him risen, R. Through your languishing rapture when He ascended into heaven, R. Through your joy when your most blissful death drew near, R. Through your rapture when you entered the joy of heaven, R. Through your eternal glory bestowed on you by God, R. Through your motherly love for us, R. In all anxieties and necessities, R. In desolation and anguish of soul, R. At the hour of our death, R. When we stand before the tribunal of your Divine Son, R. When we suffer in Purgatory and long for the sight of God, R.   Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world:                 Spare us, O Jesus Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world                 Graciously hear us, O Jesus. Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world                 Have mercy on us, O Jesus Our Father… Hail Mary… (in silence) The glory of Lebanon He has given her, the ornament of Carmel and Sharon.   All: Gracious Mother of God, glory of Mount Carmel, adorn in similar manner with virtues those who wear your habit, and graciously preserve them always from all dangers. Queen and Beauty of Carmel                 You have given us a sign of your protection. Let us pray: O God, who has honored the Order of Carmel with the glorious title of the most holy Virgin Mary; grant, we beseech You that we who keep her memory may through her intercession attain to the everlasting joy of heaven. In the name of Jesus who lives and reigns world without end, amen.