By: Rick Hernandez
What does it mean to be a king? And I mean, a king in the Catholic sense, the way we are called to be as part of our office of priest, prophet, and king?
The word king is directly related to and derived from the word kin, which means “family” or “of the same kind.” The word king originally meant “the leader of the kin” or, in more modern terms, “head of the family.” I like to think of a king this way, as the head of the family. The king is meant to provide for the needs of the family, help develop, protect, and nurture the kin. The king is ultimately responsible for his kingdom’s charges, and that is a lifelong calling.
The images we get of a king from TV shows and modern novels paint a different idea of what a king is really supposed to be. Selfishness, incompetence, outsized pride, and covetousness are often portraited. Those are the opposites of the attributes that are necessary for a virtuous king.
The life of this king is not supposed to be about his own needs, though those needs exist. This king is meant to be selfless. His life is meant to be about the needs of his kingdom, his people, his kin. He lives not for his own enrichment but for the betterment of others. It takes a lot of selflessness to make the lives of others the kingly mission. The most important attribute required is humility.
The virtue of humility is defined by St. Thomas Aquinas as: “Keeping oneself within one’s own bounds, not reaching out to things above one, but submitting to one’s superior.”
Saint Bernard presents his own definition of humility as: “A virtue by which a man, knowing himself as he truly is, abases himself. Jesus Christ is the ultimate definition of Humility.”
To be humble is to know oneself but not hold oneself in higher regard than necessary. This is important.
I was told long ago that when a man gets married, he becomes a king, but a different kind of king from what the world envisions, not a ruler but a servant. A new husband leaves behind his father and mother. He leaves behind the life that was only his, to take over the reins of a new domestic kingdom. United with his wife, they become a benign ruling entity over a new creation. Yet, this new kingdom is still an extended part of their original kin, continuing the old history and traditions.
The husband, a future father, is now the guarding entity of this new family. What was, is. What is the job of the new king? It is to selflessly lead, love, and serve with Christ’s humility. To grow into sainthood and lead those under his care to the Kingdom of Heaven.
When it comes to servant kings, I always think of the humblest one, our dear Saint Joseph…
As always, not much is known about the life of Saint Joseph, but we know he was a most humble man. He was chaste, faithful, hopeful, and loving. Saint Joseph was kind to his kin and obedient to his God-given mission. He sacrificed from his own life for the good of the family.
We firmly believe that just as our Mother Mary was selected to mother the child Jesus, our dear Saint Joseph was also chosen to be the king of this kin, the head of this family. Saint Joseph is a perfect example of the humble servant, of the selfless king.
Saint Peter Julian Eymard imagines Saint Joseph gazing upon his kingdom in profound adoration:
Through his relationship with Jesus, Saint Joseph was able to perform his kingly duty throughout his earthly life. Even now, Saint Joseph is available to us, still there to support us with our kingly duties whenever we ask.
Society today has too many kingless families. It is not meant to be this way. We need husbands and fathers who strive to grow in humility, in responsibility, and in their commitment to the Godly mission.
To become great kings, we must become humble servants, even slaves, and we must do it with a joyful heart, following after the actions of our Lord.
So, it is clear. We must not forget what the mission is, to raise our family, protect them, and lead them in the stead of our Heavenly King, that we may all be reunited in the Kingdom of Heaven. To do this, we must pray, unite ourselves to the One who loves us in the Eucharist, partake of His love for us, and listen to the wisdom of His Word. Let us grow in wisdom; let us embrace humility. Let us listen to our charges; they will tell us what they need. Let us listen to the Holy Spirit; He will tell us how to respond.
Our kingship must be active. Being a humble king is a responsibility that is assumed, but it needs our persistent commitment. Are we committed to being teachers and guides? Will we protect, correct, love, and participate in the lives of our charges as guides, the same way our Lord Jesus is our guide? This kingly life is a calling… a heavenly calling. With Saint Joseph’s help, how will we reply?
Let us pray: Lord, help us be ever vigilant towards our duties as heads of our families. Help us to gain wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Helps us to grow ever-humble that we may become the servant kings you call us to be in your image. Help us look up to your foster father, Saint Joseph, as an example of true kingship and Eucharistic spirituality. Help us to grow closer to what you have called us to be and that the ones under our charge can grow ever closer to You, for that is what we desire the most for them, a rich life in You. Amen.
By: Laura Catherine Worhacz
Letter from Saint Peter Julian Eymard to MME Antoinette De Grandville, July 25th, 1863 (Life and Letters, Vol. 4, page 180):
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
A beautiful message from Saint Peter Julian to a spiritual daughter, to bless her “at the feet of our Lord.” To remind her of the Cross of suffering and the love Jesus hopes for us to find. By the Eucharistic grace of God and the heart of Mary, we can find love this side of Heaven. My own spiritual attraction to Saint Peter Julian is set on fire by the newness of life that can only be found in the Blessed Sacrament.
Jesus is our HOPE.
Torture and graces seem to be part of everyone’s life. We suffer with those suffering.
What will it be like to pass from this life? Will Jesus see His love through our lives?
For those of us practicing our faith, we hope and long for eternity while we love one another this side of Heaven.
Oh my Jesus, it is by our sincere relationship with You that we learn to love Your dying love, a love that brings self to death and an eternal gift of love for the Glory of Our Father in Heaven. That we may try to love others in the hope of returning love to You. Help us to be reminded by the nails that pierced You that our suffering is a way for us to learn to love You more.
Can we see God’s love through sufferings?
I know that my humanity initially leads me to abandonment, rejection, and a desire to be indifferent when misunderstandings and sufferings come my way. Prayer pulls me out of self and into the divine life; it so important we go there, into the silence, to hear God’s voice, seek His wisdom, understanding, and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. By our will, all can be transformed into blessings and thanks.
Joy in the heart is found in doing God’s will and learning to love one another.
What is the first thing most of us do before buying an item or service? We look for reviews, usually first online, but if possible, we ask our family, friends, and neighbors for their experiences and recommendations.
It’s all about trust, isn’t it? In the end, we are always searching for the truth.
So what happens when we hear something that seems “too good to be true”? When the stakes are high and there is no room for error, a trustworthy witness becomes really important.
This is not a problem unique to our times; we hear this question in a very familiar Gospel story, The Story of Doubting Thomas.
Jesus has risen from the dead! Talk about something that seems too good to be true! Can the stakes get any higher?
In all of the Resurrection stories, we see that there is doubt until Jesus speaks. Mary Magdalene hears Him speak her name; the disciples on the road to Emmaus feel their hearts burning when He explains the Scriptures; the eleven doubted when they saw Him but believed when He spoke to them.
When the disciples told Thomas they had seen the Lord, they only had the power of their own words behind their testimony. It was not until Jesus spoke to him that Thomas believed.
The disciples, before Pentecost, had only the power of their word. But, after Pentecost, the new Apostles speak God’s Word, and lives are changed. We, who have been made a new creation through Baptism, are also called to be witnesses of the Resurrection, and the stakes are really high!
Isn’t this what everyone is searching for… Goodness, righteousness, and truth? Our friends and family need our word-of-mouth recommendation, our story, our witness. We must strive to live lives of holiness so that it is the Holy Spirit dwelling within us who will speak the Word to those around us, who will pierce their hearts with the power of Truth.
By: Rick Hernandez
I look up to the Heavens and offer grateful thanks to our Father for the gift of life. We are so blessed to be alive. Yet, I often wonder why I was created, what is it that I am called to accomplish in this world with my earthly life?
We know we are created for something, not for nothing, for we know God does everything with truthful and willful intent. Therefore, the reality of us being here tells us that we have something to do. There is a God-given mission for us, and that mission is personally ours.
The English word “mission” comes from the Latin word “missio,” which stands for “to be sent.” There is another word that we know also means “to be sent,” and that is the Greek word “apostolos,” translated to English as “apostle.” Therefore, when we have a mission, we are sent to fulfill it. We become apostles.
Just as we are unique, distinctly us, so is our apostolic mission unique. Only we can accomplish it faithfully while on this earth. But what is our apostolic mission? It is, in fact, simple. What is the greatest commandment?
The mission of love and mercy is collectively the same for us, yet its reality is notably different for every individual, a permutation uniquely ours.
We do not all interact with the same people daily; we do not all encounter the same situations. We all have a distinct lot in life and different gifts and capabilities. Yet, we all have the potential for loving, kind, and merciful action. Therefore, we must embrace the Works of Mercy.
Having this mission of love and mercy means that we are missionaries, sent, and being sent means we have a place where we are called to action. Where we live and where we work are our mission grounds. It is there where our mission of love and mercy must unfold. We will encounter opportunities to love, serve, minister, and console precisely where we are. All of these are part of our call. Do we acknowledge that?
We must become aware. We must learn to recognize God’s call for us to tend to His people. Whenever we have someone in front of us, we are called to love with God’s love. It is in those present moments where we have the opportunity to be like Christ on this earth. In those moments, only we can fulfill the mission; we should not shy away. After all, in the Eucharist, we are one family. In Him who loves us, we are all One.
The principal place where we must cultivate our mission of love and mercy is at home. There we must provide our family with love and safety. There we must pass along the teachings of Christ. It is there that we must develop merciful hearts. It is there where we must learn to recognize and acknowledge Christ in others. I cannot help but think of the example of the Holy Family.
Christ Jesus showed us how to accept the mission of love and mercy. He worked on his Father’s call to redeem us with zeal and with undying fervor. Christ used his earthly life to provide a means of Salvation to the faithful. In the humble Eucharist He remains, truly-present to provide us with the Grace we need.
Our Mother Mary showed us how to accept the mission of love and mercy. Her fiat was done in perfect faith, with full recognition, and without a doubt. Mary remaining a spiritual mother for us is an offering of love. She remains ready to comfort the faithful.
Our Dearest Saint Joseph showed us how to accept the mission of love and mercy. His obedience is displayed beautifully with a perfect humility born of the hope for Heaven. He obeyed so that the scriptures be fulfilled. He remains a spiritual father for us, ready to protect the faithful.
Looking at the three members of the Holy Family, we find the examples we need, each embracing the uniqueness of their mission. Can we embrace our call to work for the Kingdom of Heaven, that call that is uniquely ours? This world needs us now more than ever. We are called to love and mercy. Do we accept His call?
Let us pray:
Lord, you are always calling us to communion. You gather all to You. We humbly ask that You enrich us with the Love, Faith, and Charity we require to take care of Your people. Help us to recognize You in the face of our brothers and sisters, that we may serve them with open hearts and willing minds. That Your love may be recognized and exalted forever. Amen.
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We are Ivonne J. Hernandez, Rick Hernandez and Laura Worhacz, Lay Associates of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, and brothers and sisters in Christ.
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