Sunday, November 24, 2013

The sagacity of Pius XI

On the Solemnity of Christ the King it is salutary to read the encyclical "Quas Primas," which His Holiness Pope Pius XI wrote, when establishing the feast in 1925. There is much to ponder in this letter, particularly regarding the Church's social teaching. The following paragraph, however, shows the Pope's keen understanding of human nature, reflecting the Church's wisdom. It is a good reminder on this day, among other things, of the power of the liturgy of the Church, that precious gift and treasure she bears, which opens man up to the mystery of salvation, and brings him into contact with Christ, her Head and King. (Emphasis added)
21. That these blessings may be abundant and lasting in Christian society, it is necessary that the kingship of our Savior should be as widely as possible recognized and understood, and to the end nothing would serve better than the institution of a special feast in honor of the Kingship of Christ. For people are instructed in the truths of faith, and brought to appreciate the inner joys of religion far more effectually by the annual celebration of our sacred mysteries than by any official pronouncement of the teaching of the Church. Such pronouncements usually reach only a few and the more learned among the faithful; feasts reach them all; the former speak but once, the latter speak every year - in fact, forever. The church's teaching affects the mind primarily; her feasts affect both mind and heart, and have a salutary effect upon the whole of man's nature. Man is composed of body and soul, and he needs these external festivities so that the sacred rites, in all their beauty and variety, may stimulate him to drink more deeply of the fountain of God's teaching, that he may make it a part of himself, and use it with profit for his spiritual life.

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