Kings and queens are not very powerful images for most of us today. Citizens in countries where they still exist view them, for the most part, as mere figureheads. True, these figureheads often carry with them certain romantic notions stemming from the past which procure for them much awe, admiration, and adulation. They are not, however, experienced as rulers. We in the United States founded our country by rejecting the rule of a king. The pomp and circumstance usually associated with kings and queens does not appeal to our democratic spirit. If we resonate with the notion at all, it seems to spring from our unconscious, from our innate love of fairy tales which are replete with these figures, good and bad.
However, during this season when we celebrate the Kingship of Christ and the beginning of the establishment of His Kingdom on earth, we may need to revive the embers of that myth within ourselves. It is not enough to let Jesus rule our exterior behavior by carefully observing the rules of Christianity. He wants to rule the innermost corners of our being—even our most secret thoughts, conscious and unconscious. Perhaps He had something of this in mind when He said, “The Kingdom of God is within you.”
As Christmas approaches, that time when the liturgy reminds us heaven is joined to earth, we may need to pray that Jesus, who makes holy the most profane elements of the earth, will begin to penetrate and to sacralize even these most intimate recesses of our being, those thoughts and motivations over which we have no control. If we allow Him to rule even these unconscious elements, who knows what gift we might come up with from the depths to present to Him this year? It might even be a surprise to ourselves!
–Mary E. Penrose, OSB
Sister Mary E. Penrose is a Sister of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. She edits readings for the liturgical Hours and writes reflections for the Community. And she is a tutor for the African Sisters attending The College of St. Scholastica. She was editor of a journal, Spirit & Life, for 18 years.
Read all Sister Mary E.’s reflections.