The Jubilee year will close with the liturgical Solemnity of Christ the King on 20 November 2016… We will entrust the life of the Church, all humanity, and the entire cosmos to the Lordship of Christ, asking him to pour out his mercy upon us like the morning dew. Misericordiae Vultus, par. 5
“Jesus is the Lord of my life.”
That was a common statement in the evangelical Christian church I attended 30 years ago, before I returned to the Catholic Church in 1988. Thinking about the closing of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which concludes on the Feast of Christ the King this Sunday, I’ve wondered why Catholics don’t use that kind of language more often when we describe our relationship with Christ. After all, is making Jesus the Lord of one’s life only a Protestant concept?
Not according to Pope Francis, whose prayer for the closing of the Jubilee Year of Mercy will be to entrust “the life of the Church, all humanity, and the entire cosmos” to the Lordship of Christ.” Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) expressed the same idea a bit differently in his book of Advent sermons entitled What It Means To Be A Christian:
Becoming a Christian…is just this: achieving a Copernican revolution and no longer seeing ourselves as the center of the universe, around which everything else must turn…instead of that we have begun to accept quite seriously that we are one of many among God’s creatures, all of which turn around God as their center.
In other words, my relationship with God is meant to cause a Copernican revolution in my life, whereupon I awaken to the reality of a personal God and make him the center of my universe, letting everything in my life orbit around him. Such a revolution is called “faith,” which is not just an intellectual assent to articles of the Creed, but the full surrender of my entire self to the living God, including my body and soul, and everything else in my life.
I underwent such a Copernican revolution in my early twenties—the day I definitively made a decision to give my life over to Christ. But a recurring revolution occurs daily in my walk with God, as I offer my life and myself to him and honestly examine what gods I am placing at the center of my world on any given day.
So often, I fall prey to three “lords” that I must continually renounce: what I possess, what I can do and what people think of me. Those are the gods this world prizes most, and, sadly, they are often the standard by which I often measure both my own self worth and the value of others.
Thankfully, God’s ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts (Is. 55:8). While the world around us screams: “You’re not enough, you don’t have enough, you don’t do enough,” God whispers “You are my beloved child, on you my favor rests.” While the world encourages us to compete frantically to fit in, buy in and measure up, God says: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11:28).
I am increasingly aware of how tired I am of the world’s false measures, and how much I desire to be set free from the burden of carrying them. I thus invite Jesus to come more deeply into my being, asking that his love drive out the “moneychangers” and cleanse my small temple. This process of ongoing conversion—a conscious, constant Christ uprising—turns me away from false gods toward the living God, who is infinite love itself. It places the one, true Lord on the throne of my heart, where he is anxious to lay his crown.
Interestingly, the word conversion, which means the change of a measuring system, also means changing one’s beliefs. Maybe that’s because our beliefs change when we change our measuring system, and vice versa. Conversion is a “radical reorientation of our lives toward God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Glossary). It recalibrates our entire understanding of reality, changing our measuring system from the world’s stifling scales to the infinite expanse of God’s love, which knows no bounds. When I experience deep conversion, I trust that my significance and meaning lies in God’s love for me and not in any manmade gauge of performance.
So let us conclude the Year of Mercy by asking ourselves: Is Jesus the Lord of my life? Is he is the center of my life, around which everything turns and by which everything else is measured? To live in such a stance is what it means to be a Christian. To live in an opposing posture makes us a slave to the world’s tyranny.
Let us pray:
Lord Jesus Christ, I surrender my life to you and I place my mind, my will, my heart and everything in my life under your Kingship and your authority. I give myself to you and ask you to take possession of me. Heal and change me, that I may live in the truth of your love and reflect that love in our broken world. Thank you Lord for your love, mercy and kindness. Amen.