The Kingdom: What Does It Mean to be a Witness?
“All members of the Mystical Body share in this mission, to ‘spread the kingdom of Christ over the whole world.’” (Second Vatican Council)
From its beginning, as a thought and then a germinating desire in the mind of Dr. Warren Carroll, Christendom College has been apostolic. Before the actual founding of the school, Dr. Carroll expressed often a wish that his Herculean undertaking be apostolic in nature. In a draft, written early in February of 1976, for a prospectus which would eventually be sent out to all those Dr. Carroll thought he could possibly rope into supporting him in his life’s work, he wrote:
The primary goal of Christendom College will be to help develop in its students a life-long commitment to the lay apostolate, together with providing a high level of the knowledge and skills required to fulfill that commitment, whatever their individual profession or vocation. To that end, which is above all spiritual and salvific, an active and growing spiritual and devotional life will be encouraged in every possible way at Christendom College.
This language commanded its own heading in the table of contents for the first “Christendom College Bulletin” printed for the 1977-1987 opening school year. The first paragraph under this heading reads:
Christendom College seeks, as one of its primary reasons for being, to assist its students in the development of an enduring commitment to the Catholic lay apostolate. It seeks to arouse in its students a responsiveness to grace, enabling them to live always with, in and through Christ and to work to build up and strengthen His Church, whatever their individual profession or vocation might be.
As alumni of Christendom College, we are privileged inheritors of the spiritual formation and Catholic milieu specific to the College, which are the fruits of Dr. Carroll’s work. It would be a tragedy indeed if we were to squander such a treasure passed to us from such a wonderful man. I think most of us are already aware of this fact and are also extremely grateful to our founder. In light of these facts, Christendom College would like to begin expanding aid to her alumni in the form of spiritual themes proposed by fellow alumni for study throughout each academic year. Following the announcement each year of the specific theme, alumni will be provided with tools to deepen their understanding of and spiritual growth in some aspect of the apostolic life and in this way, will fulfill the wish of Dr. Carroll that “along the road, no matter what the strife, whatever sustenance the enduring Christendom College community can offer to its graduates will always be ready for them.”
Since the word apostolic was so important to Dr. Carroll, we will start here and the Catechism of the Catholic Church can give us an introduction:
The whole church is apostolic, in that she remains, through the successors of St. Peter and the other apostles, in communion of faith and life with her origin: and in that she is “sent out” into the whole world. All members of the Church share in this mission, though in various ways. “The Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well.” Indeed, we call an apostolate “every activity of the Mystical Body” that aims “to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth.” (#863)
So being apostolic designates two things:
- All activities of the Mystical Body which
- Spread the Kingdom of Christ on earth
For our first ever spiritual theme, we will focus on the second of these, i.e., the Kingdom and what it means. If we are going to spread something—we’d best be clear not only about what we are spreading but why we are spreading it.
This year, we will attempt to provide insights into the following aspects of the Kingdom of Christ:
- Why was the Kingdom the main topic of Jesus’ own preaching?
- Where is the Kingdom? What is the Kingdom?
- Why should the Kingdom be the most important thing in my life?
- Am I a witness to the Kingdom?
You are strangers and aliens no longer. No, you are fellow citizens of the saints and members of the household of God. You form a building which rises on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. Through him the whole structure is fitted together and takes shape as a holy temple in the Lord: in him you are being built into this temple, to become a dwelling place for God in the Spirit.
Additional docs/suggested reading
Quotations for 2019-2020 Alumni Spiritual Theme, article #1
Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was to come, he gave them this answer, ‘The coming of the kingdom of God does not admit of observation and there will be no one to say, “Look here! Look there! for, you must know, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Lk.17:20)
“Through you, small one, the Trinity desires to make known to souls Its desire to be adored, honored, and loved within the kingdom, the interior kingdom of their hearts.” (From Our Lady of America messages, March 17, 1958)
Life is to be with Christ; where Christ is, there is life, there is the kingdom. (St. Ambrose, Cat. #1025)
The kingdom does not signify any abstract order of values or a generally comprehensible form of human society, but the world of grace and love of the living God and the transformation which everything human—indeed everything created—undergoes therein. (Romano Guardini, Learning the Virtues That Lead You To God, 189)
What does “blessed” mean? It signifies being favored, set apart, already hallowed, holy. . . . And Christ said that this is the condition of those who are poor in spirit. Surely one would like to reflect on some of the qualities of those in so blessed a condition that Jesus does not just promise them a future reward, but guarantees a present one. Blessed are the meek, the gentle; they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they who mourn; they shall be comforted. These things shall come about. But only to the poor in spirit and to those suffering for his name’s sake, does the Savior speak of immediacy in describing the consequence. . . . Blessed are the poor. Theirs is the kingdom of God. It is not a promise for the future, but a present reward.” (Mother Mary Francis, Blessed are You, 2-3)
The Pauline anthropology of the resurrection is cosmic and universal at the same time. Every man bears in himself the image of Adam and every man is also called to bear in himself the image of Christ, the image of the risen one. This image is the reality of the “other world,” the eschatological reality (St. Paul writes, “We will bear”). But in the meantime it is already in a certain way a reality of this world, since it was revealed in this world through the resurrection of Christ. It was a reality ingrafted in the man of this world, a reality that is developing in him toward final completion. (St. John Paul II, The Theology of the Body, 254)
- Kingdom title #2
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- Kingdom title #3
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- Kingdom title #4
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