Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

11/21/2011 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

As we learn to live liturgically, moving through life in the flow of the liturgical calenda,r we can find the deeper mystery and meaning of life.

The ancients were fond of a Latin phrase "Carpe Diem", which literally means "Seize the day." For we who are living in communion in Christ Jesus, that phrase can take on a whole new meaning. We always journey toward the "Day of the Lord", when He will return as King. We should seize that day as the reference point for all things and live our lives as though His day is the milestone and marker for all that we do, revealing the path along which we become new, beginning now - because it is.

Jesus Christ is the King

Jesus Christ is the King

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/21/2011 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Time, holiness, spirituality, Christ the King, Advent, Liturgy, liturgically, living faith, Christian living, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA. (Catholic Online) - Our Catholic liturgical year follows a rhythmic cycle which points us toward beginnings and ends. In doing so, it emphasizes an important truth that can only be grasped through faith. This Sunday is the last Sunday in the Western Church year and we celebrate the Feast of the Solemnity of Jesus Christ the Sovereign King.

Then, no sooner than we have celebrated the last Sunday of the Year, the feast of Christ the King, we celebrate the First Sunday of Advent, and begin the time of preparation for the great Feast of the Nativity of Our Savior.

Our Catholic faith and its Liturgical practices proclaim to a world hungry for meaning that Jesus Christ is the "Alpha", (the first letter of the Greek alphabet) and the "Omega" (the last letter), the beginning and the end. He is the Giver, the Governor and the fulfillment of all time. In Him the whole world is being made new and every end is a beginning.

Our Liturgical seasons present a way to receive time as a continual gift and change the way we actually live our daily lives. Our choice to celebrate them helps us to grow in the life of grace as we say "yes" to their invitations.

They invite us to walk in a new way of life which becomes infused with supernatural meaning; to enter into the mystery of living in the Church as the New World and thereby become leaven for an age which has lost its soul.

Human beings have always marked time by significant events. The real question is not whether we will mark time, but how we will mark time? What events and what messages are we proclaiming in our calendaring? What are we saying with our lives in an age which needs the witness of God's loving plan?

For the Christian, time is not meant to be a tyrant, ruling over us. Nor is the passing of time to be experienced as an enemy, somehow stealing our youth and opportunity. Rather, time is meant to become a companion, a friend and a teacher, instructing us; offering us a series of invitations to allow the Lord to truly become our King by reigning in our daily lives.

Our conscious awareness of time makes it a path along which the redemptive loving plan of a timeless God is revealed and received. In Christ, time is now given back to us as a gift. It offers us a field of choice and a path to holiness and human flourishing.

As we view time with this lens of faith, we discover that life is a pilgrimage to Life. The Lord invites us, beginning now, to participate in His loving plan through His Son Jesus to recreate the entire cosmos. Time becomes the road along which this loving plan of redemption proceeds.

Those Baptized into Jesus  Christ continue His redemptive mission until he returns to establish His Reign. We do this by living in His Body, the Church, and drawing the whole world into the New World beginning now. The Church is, in one of the early father's favorite descriptions, that "New World".

The Christian view of time as having a redemptive purpose is why Catholic Christians mark time by the great events of the faith in our Liturgical calendar. Like so much else that is contained within the treasury of Catholic faith and life, the Church, who is an "expert in humanity", invites us to live the rhythm of the liturgical year in order to walk into the deeper encounter at the heart of Catholic Christian faith.

As we learn to live liturgically, moving through life in the flow of the liturgical calenda,r we can find the deeper mystery and meaning of life. Christians believe in a linear timeline in history. There is a beginning and an end, a fulfillment, which is, in fact, a new beginning. Time is heading somewhere. That is as true of the history of the world as it is our own personal histories.

Christians mark time by the great events of the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are always moving forward and toward His loving return. The Church, to use the beautiful imagery of the early Christian fathers, was birthed from the wounded side of the Savior on the Cross at Calvary's hill.

This new family of the Church was then sent on mission, when, after the Resurrection, Jesus breathed His Spirit into them at Pentecost. In our celebration of a Church Year, we not only remember the great events of the Life, ministry and Mission of the Lord, we also celebrate the life and death of our family members, the Saints, who have gone on before us, in the worlds of the Liturgy, "marked with the sign of redemption" as we pray in the Liturgy. 

They are models and companions for the journey of life and are our great intercessors; that "great cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1) whom the author of the letter to the Hebrews extols. This is the heart of understanding the "communion of saints". As St. Paul reminded the Roman Christians, not even death separates us any longer. (Romans 8:38, 39) They will welcome us into eternity. However, from that eternal now, living in the Communion of love, they now help us along the daily path of time through both their example and their prayer.

As we progress through liturgical time we are invited to enter into the great events of faith. So, on this last week of the year, through our readings and liturgical prayer, we are invited to reflect on the "last things"- death, judgment, heaven and hell. We do so in order to change, to be converted; to enter more fully into the Divine plan. The Western Church year ends.

On the Feast of Christ the King we celebrate the full and final triumph and return of the One through whom the entire universe was created - and in whom it is being "recreated" - and by whom it will be completely reconstituted and handed back to the Father at the "end" of all time. That end will mark the beginning of a timeless new heaven and a new earth when "He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death." (Revelations 21:4).

As we move from one Church year to the next, we also move along in the timeline of the human life allotted to each one of us. We age. The certainty of our own death is meant to illuminate our life and the certainty of the end of all time is meant to illuminate its purpose and culmination in Christ. For both to be experienced by faith we must truly believe in Jesus Christ, the beginning and the end.

When we do, death can become, as we move closer to it, a second birth. Francis of Assisi prayed these words in his most popular prayer " it is in dying that we are born to eternal life." He referred to death as a "sister" implying that he had a relationship with it. So too did all the great heroes our Church, the saints. So can we, that is if we choose to walk the way of living faith, immersed in the life of grace.

With a few exceptions, Christians celebrate the death of Saints because death is not an end but the beginning of an eternal life with God. In the final book of the Bible we read: "Here is what sustains the holy ones who keep God's commandments and their faith in Jesus. I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," said the Spirit, "let them find rest from their labors, for their works accompany them."

"Then I looked and there was a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud one who looked like a son of man, with a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Another angel came out of the temple, crying out in a loud voice to the one sitting on the cloud, "Use your sickle and reap the harvest, for the time to reap has come, because the earth's harvest is fully ripe. So the one who was sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested." (Revelations 14: 12-15)

As the Apostle John recorded in that Revelation he received on the Island of Patmos, our "use" of time is meant to bear good fruit. We are called to bear a harvest which will accompany us into eternity. It will - if we have an intimate relationship with the One who both gives and governs time. Time is the opportunity for the Christian to bear that "fruit that remains" to which Jesus referred: "It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another" (St. John 15: 16, 17).

We decide whether we use time for the bearing of good fruit or allow it to become a tyrant who frightens us as we fruitlessly try to resist his inevitable claim on our perceived youth. This act of choosing rightly, daily, helps us to develop a disposition; a way of living that involves the proper exercise of our human freedom aided by grace.

When time is perceived as a gift from God and welcomed as an opportunity for bearing the fruits of love and holiness, we learn to receive it in love and perceive it as a field of choice and an environment for holiness. We choose to fill our lives with love and pour ourselves out for the God of love. When we live this kind of life, Jesus can find a home within us from which He can continue His redemptive mission, in time.

The ancients were fond of a Latin phrase "Carpe Diem", which literally means "Seize the day." For we who are living in communion in Christ Jesus, that phrase can take on a whole new meaning. We always journey toward the "Day of the Lord", when He will return as King. We should seize that day as the reference point for all things on this last week of the year and the Feast of Christ the King. We can live our lives as though His day is the milestone and marker for all that we do, revealing the path along which we become new, beginning now - because it is.

Almost two thousand years ago the ancient Greek writer, Seneca, wrote: "It is not that we have so little time, but that we have wasted so much of it" St. Paul wrote to Greek Christians, centuries later in Ephesus: "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men (and women) but as wise making the most of the time." (Ephesians 5: 15ff).

As we consider the timeline of God's unfolding plan, the redemption of the whole cosmos, the God who gives and governs time, invites us to re-dedicate ourselves to living differently on this great Feast. We are to live as though time really does matter. We are invited by grace to give ourselves away for others; to imitate the One who gave Himself for the entire human race. We are invited to pour ourselves out as Jesus did for us. If we live life this way, when we face Him on that final day, we will do so with our arms full of gifts borne in time. These gifts will have paved the way for eternity.

That is why I suggest that it is no coincidence that the Feast of Christ the King and the last week of the year pass through the "secular" Feast of Thanksgiving. There is no separation for the believer between the secular and the Sacred. In the great event of the Incarnation and the fullness of the Paschal Mystery, all is made new.

We do not bring God into time; He is the Creator of time. In the mystery of the Incarnation, the Eternal Word through whom the universe was created entered into time to re-create it from within! We are invited by grace to come to acknowledge this mystery and then receive his creature time as a gift, a good, to be given back to Him through living our lives in Christ for the sake of the world.

Thanksgiving is a great Feast made even fuller in meaning for the believing and practicing Christian. The word "Eucharist" means Thanksgiving. Let us walk through this last week of the year and join with those whom we love around the table of Thanksgiving.

Then, let us walk the way of faith into the new Liturgical season, Advent, preparing ourselves and the world of our own time ready for the final coming of Christ the King. On this last week of the Church Year, let us remember that every end is a beginning - because in Christ the King, Thanksgiving and Advent become a way of life.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Living Faith

Abolish death penalty and life imprisonment, Pope Francis declares Watch

Image of The Vatican recently eliminated life imprisonment from its own penal code, Pope Francis noted.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Calling for the abolition of the death penalty as well as life imprisonment, Pope Francis soundly denounced what he called a "penal populism." The world's prescribed cure for crime - punishment, should never overtake the pursuit for social justice, he says. LOS ... continue reading


Making a Difference - Newly beatified pope championed justice and peace

Image of Pope Paul VI addresses the UN during his 1965 appeal for peace.

By Tony Magliano

With numerous armed conflicts raging in various parts of the world, and the Vietnam War worsening, Pope Paul VI on Oct. 4, 1965 proclaimed before the U.N. General Assembly: "No more war, war never again. It is peace, peace which must guide the destinies of peoples and ... continue reading


'War does not begin in the battlefield. Wars begin in the heart,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Speaking at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis addressed the topic of war. With the majority of the world engaged in some sort of battle, and it's up to the individual to realize that major conflicts begin with little things. LOS ... continue reading


Finding the Path to Peace Through Forgiveness Watch

Image of For he (Jesus) is our peace, he made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his Flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one Body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father- St Paul

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In 1999 I was a part of Project Reconciliation led by a true peacemaker, paralyzed police officer Detective Steven McDonald. This trip was a part of Steven McDonald's mission of preaching peace through forgiveness. It had the goal of helping to heal the wounds ... continue reading


The Parable of the Rich Man: Becoming Rich in What Matters To God

Image of

By Deacon Frederick K. Bartels

What leads to permanent and lasting happiness? As Jesus points out, becoming "rich in what matters to God" is the key. When we place God first, and love our neighbor as another self, we soon begin to experience a perceptible, lasting happiness that is not of this ... continue reading


Pope Paul VI closer to sainthood with beatification by Pope Francis Watch

Image of Pope Paul VI cleaned house, abolishing the pontifical court and simplifying the Curia, the Vatican's administrative arm. Pope Francis is continuing his predecessor's effort to reform to this day.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis cleared the process for sainthood for Pope Paul VI after his beatification over the weekend. Pope Paul VI led the Catholic Church through internal reform during a tumultuous time of social and political change before his death in 1978. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


We Need Courageous Bishops: Ignatius of Antioch is a Model Watch

Image of Ignatius of Antioch - I know what is to my advantage. At last I am becoming his disciple. May nothing entice me till I happily make my way to Jesus Christ! Fire, cross, struggles with wild beasts, wrenching of bones, mangling of limbs-let them come to me, provided only I make my way to Jesus Christ. I would rather die and come to Jesus Christ than be king over the entire earth. Him I seek who died for us; him I love who rose again because of us.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

We need Bishops like Ignatius in this new missionary age of the Church. There is a literal assault on marriage and the family in much of the West. Yet, what the Church has to offer on the truth about marriage and the family paves the path to a future of true ... continue reading


Need a chapel? Pope Francis to rent Sistine Chapel for charity Watch

Image of Pope Francis is renting out the Sistine Chapel for charity.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis is renting out the Sistine Chapel for charity. The decision marks the first time that the chapel has ever been rented out for charity. It will be used for a private concert hosted by Porsche. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Vatican has announced ... continue reading


On World Food Day, a reminder of Pope Francis' mission for the Church Watch

Image of It's time to ensure that everybody has enough.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Today is World Food Day and we are all called to do what we can to feed others. This year's World Food Day falls during Pope Francis' 'Week of Action' where all Catholics are called to pray and act to feed the world's hungry. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Today, ... continue reading


Pope Francis: The only thing that counts for Jesus is 'faith working through love' Watch

Image of Pope Francis related former Jesuit leader Father Arrupe's lesson in humility in his recent talk.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis reiterated in his morning homily that faith is not about appearances and superficially following Church laws. The Pontiff said that God wants to see a faith that inspires action and is "working in charity" and making sacrifices for others. LOS ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:7-16
7 On each one of us God's favour has been bestowed in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
1 [Song of Ascents Of David] I rejoiced that they ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:1-9
1 It was just about this time that some people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 25th, 2014 Image

St. Daria
October 25: There is very little known about them. Chrysanthus was an ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter