Today is the feast of Christ the King! While this feast day was instituted in 1925 a few years after the Xaviere sisters were founded, our foundress – Claire Monestès – had a special fondness to the reign of God. She called us daughters of the Kingdom.
J’ai choisi un roi bafoué, flagellé, trahi par la justice. J’ai choisi un roi crucifié. Je l’aiClaire Monestès 1920
choisi librement. Il me reste à faire les offres d’un plus grand prix.
I chose a scorned and scourged king betrayed by justice. I chose a crucified king. I have chosen him freely. All that remains for me is to make the ultimate offering.
In 1906, Claire had a spiritual encounter while receiving the meditation of the Call of the King from the Spiritual Exercises that was foundational to her desire to to give herself fully to the service of God.
Many years later, when Claire commented on the spiritual exercises to the Xaviere sisters, here is what she said about being daughters of the Kingdom:
She who is speaking to you understands that this heavenly call of the King is what gave birth to the Xaviere sisters. The Xaviere sisters are daughters of the Kingdom….Claire Monestes 1932
Today, 90 years later what does it mean to be daughters of the Kingdom? Here are some reflections from the Toronto Xaviere sisters!
To be a daughter of the Kingdom is first of all to receive my identity as a Xaviere sister and to continue to discover it in my daily life. It means living in community with other daughters of the kingdom and seeking with them where mission calls and leads us in Canada. To me the expression unfolds the call to live as a disciple of Christ. To be a daughter of the kingdom is to choose him as my Lord, the eternal King, to accept to follow him and to imitate him – as St. Ignatius of Loyola invites us to do in the Spiritual Exercises – accepting the joys and the costs that this entails.
Concretely, it means committing myself in today’s world in order to “proclaim liberty to the captives” (Luke 4:18). It means working to build a more just and fraternal world, where I am. On a daily basis, being a daughter of the kingdom is an invitation to
remain dynamic in the mission of service, to remain available in the great calls as well as in the small ones. It is to accept to get back on track when
discouragement arrives by looking beyond the concerns of the moment.
This sentence from our foundress moves me and gives me impetus and aspiration to go beyond my limits, my fears, my resistance to change. God does not stop creating, it is his way of loving us.
This reign, already there and not yet, pulls me forward, like a new creation constantly in the making. Living in Canada for 20 years, in a culture different from that of my origins, this facet of our charism makes me grow. I try to work for his reign of peace, of brotherhood across borders, in this multicultural city of Toronto. In English or in French, in Canada or in France, God is with me and with all the people I meet, in sorrow and joy.
Being Daughters of the Kingdom is an invitation to be with Christ who reigns in this Kingdom of life, in a very special way. In some representations, as in St Ignatius Church in Paris, Christ wears a royal robe, he is the Eternal Lord of All Things Living, but he is also on the Cross. He reigns from the Cross. This is symbolic of his presence with us in all suffering, opening a passage to Life. As Claire Monestès received this invitation, we, Xaviere sisters, are also invited to “turn all suffering into a work of joy,” with Christ and by doing so, to gather all the scattered children of God and enter in the joy of the Father. This is our mission; this is who we are!
How do I hear this? I see a lot of dynamism in this phrase. If we are daughters of the Kingdom rather than daughters of a King, it is to participate in this task. To enter into the dynamic of God who works unceasingly, who works in hearts – and first of all in my own. Thus to let my heart be worked by God so that Christ can reign in me and beyond me, despite my frailties.
This King we are trying to follow is also the Servant-King, a humble King who has chosen
the last place, that of the washing of the feet.
Blessed feast of Christ the King to all of you!