As they are prepared, the Spiritual Reflections prepared for the 2017 Christus Rex Pilgrimage will appear below. The Spiritual Reflection are intended to assist you in your internal preparation for the Pilgrimage. Take a moment to sit down in a quiet place, perhaps before an image of Christ the King, and take your time to read and meditate on these words. Even if you can’t attend Pilgrimage this year, please take part in these reflections and unite yourself spiritually with those Pilgrims who will be walking.
“I sow the seed….”
How many of us remember our Baptism? I guess it depends upon how old we were when we received the sacrament. I personally cannot remember as I was baptised as an infant whereas some are baptised much later. Whether Baptism occurs early or late in one’s life, the difference baptism makes to a person’s soul is tremendous. An unbaptised person is very different from one who has received baptism. In the Sacrament of Baptism our Catholic theology teaches us that the person is ontologically changed; the person is transformed by the virtues of faith, hope and charity. What do we mean by this ontological change?
Analogous to planting a seed in a well prepared flower-bed, Baptism plants within the person’s soul the gift of faith. Just like the seed in the soil, faith will grow and reach maturity if grown under the right conditions. If not, our faith, like the seed, may remain dominant, perhaps never reaching its full potential.
God offers the gift of faith to all given in varying degrees, but sadly not all take up His offer and accept it. Our faith is perhaps one of our greatest possessions we have, our ‘pearl of great price’ (Mt 13:45-46). Without the gift of faith we are likened to travellers who navigate by either a faulty compass or an outdated map.
Faith enables us to believe the revealed truths of God on the basis of the one who revealed them to us, namely Christ himself. Imagine walking the Christus Rex pilgrimage following the advice of one who never walked it whereby sending us all in the wrong direction!
St Paul’s use of an agrarian image, like a seed, has much to teach us. A seed lying dominant in the soil remains just that, a seed and not a plant. A baptised person who does not exercise his or her baptismal duties or obligations can never reach full maturity of faith. Somehow the gift of faith, like the seed, must be awoken. The right conditions are necessary. In order to mature the seed of faith into something much more, prayer becomes so necessary, as does a continued exercise of the spiritual life to strengthen our faith. Like the apostles, who prayed to the Lord: “Increase our faith” (Lk 17:5) we too, should follow their example, by fasting, almsgiving and prayer. Our annual Christus Rex pilgrimage in honour of Christ the King provides ample opportunity to unite our sufferings with those of Christ. As we prepare for this pilgrimage let us ask God to strengthen the seed of our faith by reaffirming our belief in God, strengthening our hope and providing ample opportunity to exercise charity.
May God bless you all.