To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King

Saturday, November 19, AD 2016

Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.

Isaiah 40:15

To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King was  written in 1941, seventy-five years ago, by Father Martin B. Hellriegel, a German-American pastor in Saint Louis, as a direct response to the pretensions of the Third Reich and to remind people who actually reigns eternally.  We Americans have traditionally understood that God is in charge:  We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Abraham Lincoln ringingly set forth what this section of the Declaration means:  “These communities, by their representatives in old Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: “We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. [Applause.] Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows.”

Nothing could be further from the nightmarish ideas that fueled the Third Reich, and Father Martin B. Hellriegel in his magnificent hymn conveys this majestic conception of God and of humanity under God:

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5 Responses to To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King

  • Thanks Donald. Good meditation before tomorrow’s feast day ending this tumultuous year where, thanks be to God, we dodged the bullet due, I am sure , to the many prayers to Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King and his mother.

  • I love being a Catholic.
    Thank you for the music.
    God bless.

  • We attend the early “quiet” Mass at the mission on Sundays. When we occasionally do sing I always check the notes at the bottom of the hymn. Unfortunately there is little except the name or names of the lyricist and the composer. If a folk tune is reused that’s not often mentioned. Thank you explaining the background of Christ The King.

    Mobile, AL used to be quite a Catholic city (don’t know about now) when I was in high school many years ago. On the Feasts of Christ the King and Corpus Christi the student bodies of the Catholic schools, grade and high, black and white, marched with their bands en masse past the bishop’s residence to the Cathedral. Perhaps the bishop addressed the parade; I don’t remember. My family moved the summer before my junior year so I have no idea if the parades continue. My guess is only the bands participate and it’s only in Mardi Gras parades.

  • I didn’t know the history of the song. Thanks for posting this.

King Jesus

Sunday, November 22, AD 2015

At the ending of the liturgical year our thoughts turn to the End Times.  The feast of Christ the King was proclaimed by Pope Pius XI in 1925 in response to the growth both of nationalism and secularism.  Pope Paul VI moved it to the last Sunday in Ordinary Time, the better to remind all of mankind that the time will come when Christ will return and reign as King forever.

Christ Pantocrator is one of the more popular images by which Christians pictured, after the edict of Milan, Christ, the Lord of all.  This representation ties in nicely with the traditional American cry of “We have no King but Jesus!” which became popular during the American Revolution.  At the battle of Lexington the phrase “We recognize no Sovereign but God and no King but Jesus!”, was flung back at Major Pitcairn after he had ordered the militia to disperse.    Christ the King and We have no King but Jesus remind Christians that the nations of the world and the manner in which they are ruled, and mis-ruled, while very important to us during our mortal lives, are of little importance in the next.   They also instruct us that the State can never be an ultimate end in itself, can never override the first allegiance of Christians and that the rulers of the Earth will be judged as we all will be.  Although my Irish Catholic ancestors will shudder, and my Protestant Irish and Scot ancestors may smile, there is much truth in the inscription supposedly written on the sarcophagus, destroyed or lost after the Restoration, of that “bold, bad man”, Oliver Cromwell, “Christ, not Man, is King.”

Seventy years ago the ashes of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan attested to the great mistake of making worldly power the excuse for any crime.  How different it seemed in 1941 when both Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan seemed well on their way to global domination. In that year Father Martin B. Hellriegel, a German-American pastor in Saint Louis, wrote the magnificent hymn To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King as a direct response to the pretensions of the Third Reich and to remind people who actually reigns eternally:

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3 Responses to King Jesus

  • Traditional Catholics, of which I consider myself as I attend the Tridentine Mass and I am raising my sons to go to the same Mass, would well remember that the widely held belief among some Trads that the only valid government is one run by a Catholic monarch is silly.
    There is only one King, and He dwells not in this world.

    For us Trads, the solemnity of Christ the King was at the end of October. We are in the Last Sunday after Pentecost (which sounds so much better than…Ordinary Time).

    As of next Saturday evening, we will enter into Advent. Purple vestments will be worn by the priests celebrating Mass. Advent is a time of penitence as well as preparation for Christmas for us Catholics – a mini-Lent. Going against American Shopping Season (acronym A.S.S.) with its bland “seasonal” music and exortations to shop, shop, shop is never easy, but well worth the effort.

  • Very good! Let us pray that our dear Pope gets the message.

To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King

Saturday, November 24, AD 2012

 

 

 

Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.

Isaiah 40:15

Something for the weekend.  To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King.  Written in 1941 by Father Martin B. Hellriegel, a German-American pastor in Saint Louis, as a direct response to the pretensions of the Third Reich and to remind people who actually reigns eternally.  We Americans have traditionally understood that God is in charge:  We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Abraham Lincoln ringingly set forth what this section of the Declaration means:  “These communities, by their representatives in old Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: “We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. [Applause.] Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows.”

Nothing could be further from the nightmarish ideas that fueled the Third Reich, and Father Martin B. Hellriegel in his magnificent hymn conveys this majestic conception of God and of humanity under God.

 

Continue reading...

7 Responses to To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King

  • “Thy reign extend, O King benign,
    To ev’ry land and nation,
    For in Thy kingdom, Lord divine,
    Alone we find salvation.”
    This part really spoke to me. Gorgeous 🙂

  • We have always loved this song and sing it with heart! It is good to know its author and his thinking behind it. Thank you!
    It is a song that acknowledges the truth. He is in charge- a comforting song of trust. Not only is He King, He gives us constantly the great gift of His Church which also begs our love and sacrifice.

  • Our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. He will come again, in glory, to judge the living and the dead.

    And, Christ’s will subdue all His enemies. And, they will be placed under His feet.

    We need to pray for Christ’s enemies, those most in need of His mercy. If they don’t repent, confess, do penance, amend their lives, and by good works glorify God, the Father Almighty, thoriugh Our Lord, Jesus, they will be Christ’s foot stools; and spend eternity in disgrace and unquenchable fire.

    We have no president but Christ.

  • I am proud to say that my maternal grandfather, Henry Brinksmeyer, was the organist at Holy Cross parish in St. Louis when Monsignor Hellriegel was the pastor.
    My mother still has a photo of Monsignor Hellriegel that he gave to my grandparents.

  • An oldie I can NEVER hear to much. I sing it quietly, sometimes, as I walk through the halls of the Federal Building where I work. My singing and smile
    is noticed. It is sung far too infrequently at Mass in my hometown.

    I have another version of it on my PC for inspiration. It always lifts my spirits
    when I have the opportunity to join with others singing it.

    Good call!

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