This Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King of the Universe and the last Sunday in Ordinary Time. You can find the readings here.
I wrote last year about some of the background of this great feast, which was first instituted in 1925 but given greater prominence and a more cosmic dimension after the Second Vatican Council. As I stated last year:
The change in name to “Christ the King of the Universe”, the change in date to the last Sunday of the year and the elevation of rank from Feast to Solemnity all reflect the influence that Teilhard de Chardin’s ideas have had within the Church of the nature of Christ. Christ is not only the Greek Logos set forth in the first chapter of the Gospel of St. John or the incarnation of the form of Jesus of Nazareth. Christ also continues to be the prime mover within the Universe, attracting everything towards him as part of the evolutionary process towards greater unity of the Omega Point that began with the Big Bang. Pope Paul VI’s elevating the celebration of Christ the King of the Universe recognizes these cosmic attributes of the second person of the Trinity.
This week’s reflection comes from Robert Faricy, S.I. and further reflections on Teilhard’s vision of the universal dimension of Christ. The full reflection can be found in an article that Fr. Faricy published in a 1988 edition of Gregorianum, which can be purchased or read for free with registration here, but set forth below is an excerpt:
“In the real symbol of the heart of Christ, detachment and progress, prayer and action, love for God and love for the world are reconciled. The Sacred Heart no longer stands only for the love of Jesus for us, but also for the unifying meaning and force of that love as it unites and gives greater meaning to all our best hopes, aspirations and efforts.
By the time of his 1939 retreat, Teilhard sees the heart of Jesus Christ risen as the heart of him who stands as the Omega point of Teilhard’s Christology, the heart of him who draws all things to himself as the future focus of all evolution’s convergence. In an essay of 1940, Teilhard explains how his concept of the Universal Christ is ‘born from an expansion of the heart of Jesus.’ And in the 1940s and 1950s Teilhard describes Jesus’ heart as the heart of the Heart of the world and the center of the Center of the universe.
In 1951, in one of the journals in which he wrote his theological insights, ideas for essays, and notes from his reading, Teilhard sums up his view of the heart of Jesus Christ risen as the heart of the world. The problem is ‘to find a heart for the world, and to identify it with the heart of Christ.’ Two weeks later, on the feast of Christ the King, Teilhard notes in his journal, ‘The great secret, the great mystery, is this: there is a heart of the world (a fact we can arrive at through reflection), and this heart is the heart of Christ (a fact of revelation).’ This secret, this mystery, Teilhard writes, has two levels that correspond to the level of human reflection and to the level of divine revelation: ‘-a center of convergence (the universe converges toward a center), – a Christian center (this center is the heart of Christ). . . . [These words] express what everyone and what every Christian feels already.’
Robert Faricy, S.I. Gregorianum, 69, 2 (1988)