This liturgical year now comes to a close with the feast of Jesus Christ the King. The figure of a king may not have the same influence on us as in times past. Our experience of political leadership is one of democracy and majority rule. Even so, there arises those persons who seem to personify the values we value most. To these persons we look for leadership and are willing to follow whole heartily.
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, has a meditation called, The Two Standards. In this exercise of prayer, Ignatius Draws us into a serious examination of who and what is shaping our life's values and where our allegiances lay. He puts before us Christ and the Prince of Darkness. One will lead us into paradise, the other into eternal darkness and and death. To whom do we entrust the direction of our lives?
To the person who has embraced the practice of prayer and a devout life, the answer may seem obvious. But here a note of caution is advised. Toward well-inattention persons, Satan changes tactics, now appearing as the "angel of light". Seeming to support the choice of a devout life, he employs all manner of deception. With suggestions that may appear to come from God but are not, he will draw the good soul into what is false and away from God's true purpose.
In this exercise of the Two Standards, St. Ignatius guides us to be constantly vigilant of the tactics of the Deceiver, so that we do not find ourselves aligned behind the wrong standard bearer. It is ever so important that we know the Lord, know our enemy, and know ourselves.
This prayer exercise fits so well during this week of the feast of Christ the King. The liturgy of the Church is anticipating the beginning of a brand new Year of Grace; a perfect time to take stock of our faith and devotion to Christ.
Under Whose Banner Do I Stand?
Jesus Christ the King
+ I have a strong prayer practice.
+ I look to the Church for guidance on moral and ethical questions.
+ I see Sunday Eucharist as indispensable.
+ Participation in parish life remains a high priority.
+ I support my faith by Reading, both devotional and instructive.
The Prince of Darkness
# I often set prayer aside until I have the time.
# I'm inclined to separated faith from public life.
# Sunday Mass must fit into today's busy schedules.
# Religion is not as important as a good moral character.
# The bible is only a product of human imagining.
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Fr. John Veltri on the Two Standards