Why are we so bent on finding an alternative to obeying the living God?
My favorite scene from Excalibur: Young Arthur has removed the sword Excalibur from the stone, thereby becoming king. People wonder whether this young nobody is king. Arthur brandishes Excalibur, declaring, “Any man, who would be a knight, and follow a king—follow me!” Oh! I was ready to jump up, shouting, “Take me!” To follow a king for a cause, having good reason to live and die—that touches the heart deeply. We often corrupt that noble longing, attaching it to what isn’t God.
What of Christ the King? Much of the world is either ignorant of him or rejects him. Too many deny God, deny our heavenly king, acting as if there is no Lord to love and serve.
Without a king, how will the soul find purpose? A king calls his people to a glorious destiny. Jean-Paul Sartre said, “Man is a useless passion.” So the world offers a lot of toys to distract us from our misery.
The world says that there’s no Lord to love and serve. Perhaps this is the worst lie of all. The human heart aches to give all the love it can, and to see all of that love completely and gratefully received. The human heart aches to receive constant and faithful love. But the world says we cannot have that perfect loving, because there’s no Lord to love and serve; so the world offers idols take the place of the real love we want to give and receive.
What if we acted on the truth that there is hope, purpose, and love? Believing in a God of hope, our grief would be easier to bear and our worship would be more joyful because we would believe that Jesus has conquered sin and death, and that his victory will be given to us over time and given to us completely at the world’s end. We’d know that anything good apparently lost was never really lost, but offered to God, who will give us all good in his kingdom.
Believing that Christ is our King, then what? Christ told Pilate: “My kingdom is not of this world. I came into the world to testify to the truth. Anyone committed to the truth hears my voice.” Christ testifies to a terrible and wonderful truth.
The terrible truth: We’re sinners. Sin brings darkness and death.
The glorious truth: Christ comes to rescue us, cleansing us with his own Blood, making us heirs to his kingdom, leading us home to his Father.
The hardest, saddest truth: We often believe that love’s impossible. So, here comes the world, to medicate the pain of our loneliness.
We cannot go on living like this. Life without the fullness of God, without hope, purpose, or love. What to do?
A suggestion: Give up. Stop fighting against God. Stop looking for an alternative to obeying the living God. You cannot win this war. Just surrender. Take your whole life and hand it over to God saying, “Lead me into your Kingdom.”
Today, Saint Ignatius Loyola asks: Whom will you serve? Will you be a hero, a saint, a disciple loyal to Christ and his Kingdom? Or will you be a slave in Satan’s service? Those are the only options we will ever get.
Saint Ignatius Loyola sought to form people wanting to distinguish themselves in the service of Christ the King. Think of it! To be taken into the service of Christ the King, having a great love and purpose, knowing that if we suffer and strive with Him in this life, we’ll rejoice with Him forever in Heaven. Dare we hope for such perfect joy?
The sane choice is to commit to following Christ our crucified King, by putting our selfishness to death. The sane choice is to commit to following Christ our risen King by sowing the seeds of a rich and fruitful harvest. The sane choice is to follow our reigning King, who now calls us to service. The sane choice is to be ready to greet Christ our returning King.
We must do what love requires, heeding the call of Christ, offering everything and to let Him supply the rest. Echo the great prayer of Saint Ignatius Loyola:
Take Lord, and receive, all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, my entire will—all that I have and possess. Thou has given all to me; to Thee O Lord I return it. All is Thine; dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me only Thy love and Thy grace; that is enough for me.
When I write next, I will speak of a new retreat house and pilgrimage site that you won’t want to miss. Book a retreat now, as the calendar is already filling up! Until then, let’s keep each other in prayer.