ADDENDUM added below
Over the years, we've parsed the theology used by the Movement that sounds very orthodox at first glance, but then may not be so. For those inclined, could we reconsider the foundational use of the word "kingdom," for example used in Fr Oscar Nader's letter?
It is up to you to extend the Kingdom of God in society; the depth of that extension depends on the priests and consecrated members. You are called to make as many souls as possible participate in the richness of our faith, sharing it through your witness and apostolic action. Their task is to help you and the others to live it to the full.
From the Universal Catechism:
543 Everyone is called to enter the kingdom. First announced to the children of Israel, this messianic kingdom is intended to accept men of all nations. To enter it, one must first accept Jesus' word:
- The word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field; those who hear it with faith and are numbered among the little flock of Christ have truly received the kingdom. Then, by its own power, the seed sprouts and grows until the harvest.
2816 In the New Testament, the word basileia can be translated by "kingship" (abstract noun), "kingdom" (concrete noun) or "reign" (action noun). The Kingdom of God lies ahead of us. It is brought near in the Word incarnate, it is proclaimed throughout the whole Gospel, and it has come in Christ's death and Resurrection. The Kingdom of God has been coming since the Last Supper and, in the Eucharist, it is in our midst. The kingdom will come in glory when Christ hands it over to his Father:
- It may even be . . . that the Kingdom of God means Christ himself, whom we daily desire to come, and whose coming we wish to be manifested quickly to us. For as he is our resurrection, since in him we rise, so he can also be understood as the Kingdom of God, for in him we shall reign.
I don't think we extend the Kingdom, per se, because it's already in our midst. It's all around us. We can explain it to those who don't know it exists, or invite them to enter, but I don't it's like an elastic band that grows the more people who step inside it.
Furthermore, now that I look more carefully, I don't like the language of this, "[making] people participate," and "as many souls as possible." Both thoughts are insidious, as we cannot make anyone do anything, and the call for numbers harkens back to "efficiency" being a part of the charism.
Perhaps it's just me, perhaps it's semantics, but it would seem as this sort of language allows the pride and self-righteousness to enter in, no matter how good the initial intention. At least this is what happened with me.
[And offerings like this only add to the possibility of such pride. I cannot imagine any of the newer priests in our diocese publishing their vocation stories, and I doubt that these men would have done so other than out of sheer obedience. It reminds me of a certain young president who had written two autobiographies before he was 50.]
ADDENDUM: From today's Office of Readings (for Saint Nicholas)
When those who are tending Christ's flock wish that the sheep were theirs rather than his, they stand convicted of loving themselves, not Christ. And the Lord's words are a repeated admonition to them and to all who, as Paul writes sadly, are seeking their own ends, not Christ's.
Do you love me? Tend my sheep. Surely this means: “If you love me, your thoughts must focus on taking care of my sheep, not taking care of yourself. You must tend them as mine, not as yours; seek in them my glory, not yours; my sovereign rights, not yours; my gain, not yours. Otherwise you will find yourself among those who belong to the ‘times of peril’, those who are guilty of self-love and the other sins that go with that beginning of evils.”So the shepherds of Christ’s flock must never indulge in self-love; if they do they will be tending the sheep not as Christ’s but as their own. And of all vices this is the one that the shepherds must guard against most earnestly: seeking their own purposes instead of Christ’s, furthering their own desires by means of those persons for whom Christ shed his blood.
Non nobis, non nobis, Domine
Sed nomini tuo da gloriam.