Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Priest, Prophet, and King

One of my favorite reflections of Christ in fiction is His triune role of priest, prophet, and king. Often, you will find three characters, rather than one, taking on these roles. The priest is a sacrificial character, giving their time, freedom, dignity, or even life. The prophet is often a wise counselor, the one who knows what's really going on. The king is the good leader that stands with his followers, fighting at the head of the army, doing what needs to be done.

One oft-cited example in Catholic fiction is in the Lord of the Rings (of course). Frodo is priest-like in his sacrifice. Like our great High Priest, he is both the offerer and the offering, walking his via dolorosa to Mordor under the weight of his own cross, the One Ring. Gandalf, the incarnate angel, is the prophet to the fellowship, pointing the way and offering counsel. Aragorn comes out of obscurity, descends to the dead, rises again, and is crowned king in the great city. Our stories often show these three roles in some way because we seek to tell stories which are true - not factually true, necessarily, but spiritually or emotionally true. There is one Truth, and so all truth must reflect Him in some way.

There is more to this than stories, however. We are all part of the Body of Christ (Romans 12:5). We are Christians, and in our very name is the call to be Christ-like. We, then, are to be, in some way, priests, prophets, and kings - all of us. I found an excellent discussion of the subject in the Catholic Answers Live! archive. On Aug 9, 2010, Thomas Smith was the guest, discussing Jesus as Prophet, Priest, and King. I recommend listening, especially for the discussion of how the laity are to fill these roles as Christians.

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