I was blessed to take part last weekend in the Christus Rex pilgrimage for the first time. It was a time of grace, and I am thankful to the organisers. More than once, I found myself thinking of those who began this 27 years ago. It even came to me that perhaps our monastic foundation owes something to the prayers and sacrifices of those who have walked from Ballarat to Bendigo over the past nearly three decades. Indeed, their desire was to make a public statement that Jesus Christ is King, not only in Heaven and not only at the end of time, but here and now, He is King of the world, He is King of Australia, and He is King of each one of our lives.
Is it not that very same truth which our monastic foundation seeks to establish? If we monks leave everything behind, family, friends, career, commodities of all kinds, it is for one reason only: we believe and we want to testify to this truth that God Alone, the Incarnate God Jesus Christ, is Lord of our lives, He has absolute right and dominion over us, and there is no other reason that we would want to live, for in Him alone we found the peace and fulfilment our restless hearts desire. Such a public statement is made by the very existence of a monastery, and it is made visible every time a monk appears in public.
So I would like to say a big thank you to those who are making the pilgrimage happen at this critical point in history. It must continue, it must be part of the Australian landscape, for there is nothing more sorely needed today when we see the decay of civilisation. The words of the great pontiffs of the early part of the 20th century ring more true today than they did then: if society as a whole does not return to Jesus Christ the King — not just to God in general, but to the Incarnate God who is the only God — it is doomed to collapse. The recipes for destruction have multiplied over the past few decades: the profanation of marriage, the slaughter of the innocent unborn, and now the threat of the murder of the elderly and disabled. The horizon is dark indeed. But in the midst of that darkness, Jesus Christ reigns; His victory is already won, and we are only living out the struggle.
May we be found worthy to follow Him and the immense cortege of saints in building up the Kingdom of God by means of our fidelity to prayer, work and sacrifice. Such is the cement which gives solidity to the edifice of a truly Christian society.
And may there be found many more faithful prepared to give those three days each year to walk the path, banner in hand, God's praises rising from their hearts and tongues, so that the world may know and believe the Truth which alone can set it free.