And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40. NRSV).
All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say, I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matthew 25:35). (RB 1980: The Rule of Saint Benedict in English. Chapter 53:1, p.73).
What is it about these words that disturb us?
These are the words used for the commemoration of St. Martin of Tours every November 11. St. Martin had a mystical vision of Jesus. He saw Jesus wearing the half of the cloak he gave a needy person. St. Martin of Tours served Jesus, because he knew Jesus intimately within himself. He had reached the summit of contemplative prayer. St. Martin saw the vision of Jesus in mystery, that he looked at in the flesh. He knew who he was in himself, and who Jesus was in the other.
The Contemplative perspective of God’s glorious presence seeks us out, to respond by seeking union with God within ourselves; and from ourselves in to others. How? Not entirely sure. However, unless we see Christ within ourselves who is hungry, thirsty, naked, in prison, the stranger, etc, we will not see Christ within others who experience the same things; figuratively, literally or spiritually. This wonder is as mystical experience that we may contemplate how much God thinks of us, sees us and wants for us and from us.
On this Christ the King Sunday, we are called to see Christ in one another and “*listen, incline the ear of the heart” so that we may hear what Christ has to say to us in the other; that others in turn might hear Christ in and through us. While some may interpret this as evangelism, I suggest that it is much deeper. It is beyond mission. It is a relationship with Christ that is so deep, so important and yet so tender and giving; that the Holy Spirit is the communicator looking for who takes God’s love seriously enough to let go of the labels and our false-sense of self; to see Jesus in us as we are, so that we may know Christ beyond ourselves.
Do you know your identity in Jesus Christ, the King?
Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB
*The Rule of Saint Benedict, the Prologue.