“Do you have a word for me to hold on to during this troubling time?”, someone asked recently. The word that comes to me, especially this month as we draw closer to the end of a very difficult year for the entire world, is this: Christus Vincit, Christus Regnat, Christus Imperat – Christ Conquers, Christ Reigns, Christ Commands!Christus Vincit, Christus Regnat, Christus Imperat – Christ Conquers, Christ Reigns, Christ Commands!
These are the first words of an ancient Latin hymn called Laudes Regiae, the “Royal Praises” or praises to Christ the King – very timely since we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King on November 22. This hymn has been used at many solemn occasions in the Church, for example, at papal coronations. It was sung as Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 800 AD. The words are also inscribed in the ancient stone obelisk in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. They are words of faith, hope, and praise, especially suited “for such a time as this.”
CHRISTUS VINCIT – CHRIST CONQUERS
The Book of Revelation tells us that Jesus, the Lamb of God, conquers (cf. Rev. 17:14). It also says that Jesus, the Lion of Judah, conquers (cf. Rev. 5:5). The Lord Jesus conquers Satan (cf. 1 John 3:8). Jesus said that he saw Satan fall like lightning (cf. Luke 10:18). Jesus conquered sin (cf. Rom. 8:2; 1 Cor 15:56-57; Heb. 9:26). Jesus also conquered death. He raised to life Jairus’ daughter, the son of the widow of Naim, and his friend Lazarus of Bethany – before rising from the tomb himself to die no more!
CHRISTUS REGNAT – CHRIST REIGNS
At the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel announced that Jesus “will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:33). Jesus reigns from the Cross. The Easter Sequence says, “The Prince of Life, though dead, reigns living.” Jesus must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet (cf. 1 Cor. 15:25). The Book of Revelation declares: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, based on Revelation 19:6, sings: “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns!”
CHRISTUS IMPERAT – CHRIST COMMANDS
Christ commands evil spirits and they obey him (cf. Mark 1:27; Luke 8:29). Jesus, Lord of nature, commands the wind and waves and they obey him (cf. Matt. 8:29; Luke 8:25). He also commands his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them “to observe all that I have commanded” (Matt. 28:20). Jesus says that we are his friends if we do what he commands (cf. John 15:14).
A WORD TO KEEP CLOSE
So I pass on to you the words of this ancient hymn, still used in the Church, and still as true as ever! I hope that it brings you as much comfort and peace as it brings me to know that we serve a Lord and King who conquers , reigns, and commands. Often enough, these are the words that I’m praying as I fall asleep at night. No matter how fierce the battle may be, Jesus is the Victor King! May he be praised and glorified forever!