Thy Kingdom Come!
November 13, 2018
TO THE MEMBERS OF REGNUM CHRISTI
Dear friends in Christ,
As we’re about to celebrate the General Chapter of the Legionaries of Christ, the General Assemblies of the Consecrated Women and the Lay Consecrated Men, and the General Assembly of Regnum Christi, I send you warm greetings. On behalf of the participants in these assemblies, I wanted to express my wholehearted gratitude for all of your prayers for the success of our work and for the future of Regnum Christi.
It’s providential that at this important moment we will be celebrating the Solemnity of Christ the King. The Church invites us, on this feast, to contemplate Jesus Christ the Lord and his Kingdom. We consider those elements essential to our vocation and mission that shed light on our life and our decisions. I therefore invite all of us to take advantage of this liturgical event to renew our love for the Lord who must reign in our personal lives and grow in the active and ardent desire that his Kingdom come among us.
The expression “Thy Kingdom Come!” springs from the lips of Jesus Christ our Teacher, forming part of the prayer he teaches his disciples. Undoubtedly this is the prayer that is most beloved, most repeated, and most commented upon by Christians in every age. The longing it expresses is proper to and deeply rooted in every Christian heart, namely, the desire that Christ reign and that his Kingdom come among us.
We should consider well and meditate together on what we ask with this prayer and what we commit ourselves to. This petition, which Christ himself taught us, is a program for us as individuals and for Regnum Christi as a whole. As we pray it, personally and as a group, it unites us in a spiritual family and an apostolic body that has been entrusted with a particular mission.
“My kingdom is not of this world”
This year the Gospel of the liturgy for the solemnity (John 18:33-37) presents us with Jesus Christ before Pilate, at a particularly dramatic moment in his earthly life. His death on the cross is approaching relentlessly. He is about to complete the work of redemption. In this context, standing before the man who represents temporal power, Jesus Christ affirms authoritatively that he is King and that his Kingdom is not of this world.
In this way he clearly teaches us that his Kingdom is something hidden, interior. It begins in the deepest part of the soul. It is the very presence of God that needs to be received and kept in the intimacy of our hearts so that, like yeast, it can transform in turn all other realities (see Matthew 13:33). For this reason, meditating on the Kingdom makes us feel once again the call and invitation to interiority and holiness of life, the starting point and guarantee of all Christian witness and apostolate.
At this moment, faced with the work of the Assemblies and the General Chapter, we see once again that this always has to be our first priority, coming before any other activity or expediency.
“My kingdom is not of this world.” The preaching of the Kingdom of Christ is also an announcement of eternity and a reminder of the transience of earthly things. In the first reading, taken from the book of Daniel, it says: “His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed (Daniel 7:14).”
The pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes of the Second Vatican Council also reminds us of this:
For after we have obeyed the Lord, and in his Spirit nurtured on earth the values of human dignity, brotherhood and freedom, and indeed all the good fruits of our nature and enterprise, we will find them again, but freed of stain, burnished and transfigured, when Christ hands over to the Father “a kingdom eternal and universal, a kingdom of truth and life, of holiness and grace, of justice, love and peace” (Preface of the Feast of Christ the King). On this earth that Kingdom is already present in mystery. When the Lord returns it will be brought into full flower. (Guadium et Spes, 39)
As members of Regnum Christi I invite you always to keep in mind that following and imitating the Lord, in light of eternity, is the essential priority. Let him reign supreme in your lives and reject everything that is contrary to him and his Kingdom. Always choose whatever implies greater love and virtue so as to be credible and convincing witnesses to Jesus Christ and his teachings.
“Thy Kingdom Come!” means sanctifying our life through prayer, the sacraments, and the fulfillment of his will. “Thy Kingdom Come!” means sanctifying our family, work, and environment by the testimony of an attractive life rooted in the Gospel. “Thy Kingdom Come!” means sanctifying our culture and society, not falling into the consumerist ideology that makes us fix our eyes and heart on earthly things.
His Kingdom must be preached, made present, built up
At the same time the Kingdom of Christ is not merely something internal or for the future. The Kingdom is already present among us (see Luke 17:21). The preaching of John the Baptist and of Jesus Christ himself began in this way: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
Jesus Christ came among us to preach his Kingdom, to make it present.
The witness that the Lord gives of Himself and that Saint Luke gathered together in his Gospel—“I must proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God” (Luke 4:43)—without doubt has enormous consequences, for it sums up the whole mission of Jesus: “That is what I was sent to do (ibid.).” (Paul VI, Evangelii nuntiandi, 6).
In the Gospel of the solemnity we find the same message: “For this I was born and for this I came to the world, to be a witness of the truth (John 18:37).”
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides (Matthew 6:33).” Jesus’ project is to establish his Father’s Kingdom; he asks his disciples to “make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand’”(Matthew 10:7). He knows full well that this proclamation does not come without work and great sacrifice (see Matthew 11:12) but assures us he will provide all that we need.
From this arises that which we call ‘apostolic zeal,’ our joining in the effort of the whole Church to make known that Lord who shows himself in his message, his invitations, his commandments, our desire to fulfill his command to go to the whole world and preach the Gospel (see Matthew 28:19-20), which is Christ himself. Having found Christ engenders a permanent desire to make him known.
Pope Francis affirms this in the exhortation Evangelii gaudium:
Goodness always tends to spread. Every authentic experience of truth and goodness seeks by its very nature to grow within us, and any person who has experienced a profound liberation becomes more sensitive to the needs of others. As it expands, goodness takes root and develops. If we wish to lead a dignified and fulfilling life, we have to reach out to others and seek their good. In this regard, several sayings of Saint Paul will not surprise us: “The love of Christ urges us on (2 Corinthians 5:14)”; “Woe to me if I do not proclaim the Gospel (1 Corinthians 9:16).” (Evangelii gaudium 9)
For the one who passes on the treasure he has found, the task of preaching the Gospel, of making Christ and his Kingdom known, is beautiful and filled with joy. That is why Pope Francis urges the whole Church:
Let us recover and deepen our enthusiasm, that “delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing, even when it is in tears that we must sow … And may the world of our time, which is searching, sometimes with anguish, sometimes with hope, be enabled to receive the good news not from evangelizers who are dejected, discouraged, impatient or anxious, but from ministers of the Gospel whose lives glow with fervor, who have first received the joy of Christ” (Paul VI, Evangelii nuntiandi 80). (Evangelii gaudium 10)
On the upcoming Solemnity of Christ the King, I invite you to renew the ardent desire to evangelize, that which characterizes the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi.
I am convinced this is the main reason Jesus Christ has raised up this work of his and entrusted us as a priestly people with a task, a mission. We read in the second reading for the day:
Jesus Christ [is] the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth. He loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father (Revelation 1:5-6).
The certainty that he himself has called us together will guide us in these days of the Assemblies and the General Chapter. We know we have to aim all our efforts at being better apostles of Jesus Christ, better evangelizers, better witnesses to his Kingdom, that is, better witnesses to goodness, truth, and grace.
I ask you to always be apostles of Jesus Christ. As part of that mission continue praying intensely for those of us in the Chapter and Assemblies who will be finishing up the work of expressing together something of the gift we have received, certain that the Lord is accompanying us. I am grateful for the prayer initiatives at the local, territorial, and international level. I invite everyone to participate in a special Day of Prayer on November 16, the Friday before the beginning of the Chapter and General Assemblies, so the Lord might grant us the grace of doing whatever he envisages for Regnum Christi at this moment. You can find some materials for the Day of Prayer at this link.
I bid you farewell, assuring you of my prayers and asking for theirs.
Yours most sincerely in Jesus Christ,
Eduardo Robles-Gil, L.C.