Sunday, 20 November 2011

Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Today, when we celebrate Christ as King of the Universe our icon comes very much into its own.  For it is, above all else, an icon of the Sacred Heart in terms of being the centre and focus of the universe.  And the reading for today from St Paul's letter to the Corinthians(15:20-26, 28) was a favourite text for Teilhard.   As we read St. Paul we can also read the icon  and reflect upon what St. Paul is saying and what the Sacred Heart - as a 'cosmic' symbol represents.

We see in our icon Adam as the first man from whom Eve was created.  And  we see the New Eve, who gave birth to the Second Adam - who points the way for humanity.  Christ is showing us what we are supposed to become: people who love God with their whole hearts and  their neighbour as themselves.  The icon shows Christ as the completion of the evolution of the universe: all is now under his feet so that 'God may be all in all'.  In the Preface of today's mass  we  acclaim God's glory with all  the 'Angels and Archangels'  and  with the 'Thrones and Dominions, and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven' which we see gathered around the figure of Christ in our icon.  We are also reminded in the icon that, as King of the universe,  Christ will look into our hearts and ask us did we see him in all things.  Were our hearts on fire with the love of God? (Matthew, 25:31-46. ) Did we love with our whole hearts?

Teilhard thought that the feast of Christ the King was an important step in the evolution of the Sacred Heart.  I blogged about this quite early on in the writing stage of the icon. (See HERE. ) He saw the 'Universal - Christ' as the Christ we find in St. Paul's letters and is here represented in the icon as the Omega point of the Cosmos as evolving from the  ' expansion of the heart of Jesus'.   The Sacred Heart as no longer as just a 'devotion' familiar to his mother and to French Catholics, but as much more that this: a symbol of a divine  cosmic love that gathers and pulls us into unity with his heart, and in doing so completes us as individuals and thereby brings the entire created order to its fullness and completion.   At that point Matthew's gospel tells us Christ, as King of the Universe, will ask us if we opened our hearts to God's love and did we allow that glowing fire of love to illuminate our world : did we see Christ in our fellow human beings?  Did we help the world to evolve in the direction marked by His cross being held aloft by St. Michael and St Gabriel in our icon.  Have we 'harnessed for God' the energy of love and  used its power to change the world and build a new  earth? Was our heart meek and humble as His heart? And, reflecting on the Carmelite tradition: was our heart pure?  Did we see the Lord in the faces of all those we have met ? ' 'Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God'.  And : Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see Jesus in the faces of the least of his brothers and sisters.  Did we live our lives with a cold and hard heart or was our heart open to the love of God?  Such will be the questions of the King of the Universe.   As one hymn puts it: 'it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.'  So on this day we pray: 

Heart of Jesus, king and centre of all hearts: have mercy on us. 

Heart of Jesus, focus of the ultimate universal energy of love:  have mercy on us and unite us to yourself. 

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