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From the Servant General

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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 
A TRIBUTE TO A GREAT MAN
 
 
May 11, 2010
 
The elections are over, and our brother Manny Villar was not able to fulfill his dream of serving the people as President. We Filipinos, especially the poor, are the losers for it.
 
Manny Villar is an extraordinary man, not just in his rags-to-riches climb to wealth and prominence, but in his humility and integrity of character. I have not met quite a man such as he, except for my own father. He is a God-fearing man, a wonderful husband and father, a defender of the poor and the culture of life, an honest and dedicated public servant. He is a generous man, working without fanfare to alleviate the dire situation of many poor Filipinos, whether farmers or OFWs.
 
He could have given a lot of hope to those who are willing to work hard through sipag at tiyaga. As a government official, he regularly secured the highest satisfaction ratings, especially as Speaker of the House and as Senate President. He has the distinction of having impeached a sitting President. Manny Villar was by and far the best candidate for President. He could have decisively transformed our nation for the better.
 
In this election campaign, despite the awful black propaganda of his opponents, he kept his campaign to a high moral level. He would not retaliate in kind. He silently endured the lies, unjust maligning and numerous half-truths and deception. He is like a modern-day Job. I believe God is very pleased with him.
 
Today we face an uncertain future, with an elected President whose track record and competence remain subject to question. Today the culture of life will be deeply under threat, with a President who is pro-choice, pro-RH and pro-population control. Today we are again going to be governed by elitist and dynastic families and business interests, and the poor will suffer all the more.
 
Oh, what could have been! Our people need to grow in greater political maturity. The poor should not favor a convicted plunderer who has shown a mockery of family, life andgood governance. The priests and nuns should not favor a person because of his pedigree or due to sentimental attachment, especially at the sacrifice of the culture of life. The institutions of society, especially media, should always look to truth in its reporting.
 
Manny Villar, you did not succeed in winning the Presidency, but for me you are already a winner. May our Lord bless you in every way.
 
Your brother in Christ,
 
Frank Padilla

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The Burning Issues

 

 

     Fellow Filipinos, the biggest issue in the elections on May 10 is the survival of the Filipino family.

 

   

     Many senators and congressman have been trying to pass the Reproductive Health Education bill, a bill that will only result in big profits for foreign drug manufacturers. 

 

        

     These foreign companies, with the help of supportive legislators, will, through the bill, change the way we raise our children and our families.

 

    

     You be the judge:

 

 

     1.   Will you allow your children ages 10 to 17 (grade 5 to 4th year high school) to be given sex lessons in school, complete with vivid, explicit pictures, by male and female teachers, who will explain only the technical and biological techniques of sex, without the needed moral and religious guidance?  (Section 12, and Section 4-h of the bill)

 

    

     2.   Do you want your teenage children (ages 12 to 17) to hunger for "satisfying sex" by using condoms and contraceptives because the bill, if it becomes law, will give them that right to have "satisfying sex" anytime they want to, and the law forbids the parents to stop them? (Section 4-c, 4-g, 4-h)

 

 

     3.   If the bill becomes law, the government can punish you, as the parents, if you refuse to have your children be given the sex lessons in school.  Penalties range from jail terms of one to 6 months and/or a fine of P10,000 to P50,000.  (Sections 12, 4-h, 21-e and 22 of the bill).   Do you want this?

 

     

 

     4.   If the bill becomes law, the people of all religions in the country (parents, teachers, priests, pastors, lay leaders and others) can be arrested if they oppose this law.  The same jail terms of one to 6 months, and/or fines of P10,000 to P50,000.  (Sections 12, 4-h, 21 and 22 of the bill)   Do you want this?

 

     

 

     5.   If one of your children of minor age is subjected to child abuse, do you want the government to decide on its own what to do with him/her?   Without your parental consent?   (Section 21, a-3). Do you want this?

 

    

 

     6.   If the bill becomes law, the wife can have a ligation, and the husband can have a vasectomy, without either's consent.  The RH bill will legalize this betrayal of trust between spouses.  It will also punish the health worker, doctor or nurse who refuses to do this medical technique on the basis of no consent of the other spouse.  (Sections 21, a-2 of the bill.)     Do you want this?

 

    

 

     If you answer "NO" to any of these questions, find out who among the presidential, senatorial and congressional candidates have authored, sponsored or supported this RH Bill 5043, then make your decision whom to vote for. 

 

     

 

     Remember, what is at stake here is the survival of the Filipino family -- your own family and your children’s families.  Choose correctly your candidates.

 

    

 

     VOTE WISELY.     VOTE PRO-LIFE.    SAVE THE FILIPINO FAMILY

 

     (BUMOTO NG TAMA.     BUMOTO SA MGA KANDIDATO NA PRO-LIFE.  

                     ILIGTAS ANG PAMILYANG PILIPINO!)

 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 
A COVENANT FOR LIFE
 
 
April 27,2010
 
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
 
Peace in the Lord Jesus!
 
On May 10 we have the elections. As always, electing capable people to government is crucial for the well-being of our nation. For this election in particular, what is at stake are the very things we stand for family and life.
 
As you well know, the anti-family and anti-life forces are rampaging throughout the world, supported by powerful forces such as the US government under President Obama, the European Union, elements of the United Nationsliberal international media (CNN, New York Times, etc.), liberal billionaires (Oprah, Warren Buffett, etc.), and homosexualist groups.
 
One by one the different nations have fallen under this assault. Now they have abortion, divorce, contraception, same sex marriage, valueless sex education, euthanasia. Make no mistake about it the assault on the Philippines is under way!
 
As such, the elections of May 10 are crucial. We need a pro-life President and other officeholders who are pro-life. We must not elect those who are pro-choice, pro-RH bill, pro-population control. That would be a disaster for the culture of life in our nation.
 
In regard to this, I invite you to participate in a Mass and Covenant Signing for the Protection of the Filipino Family. This will be on May 2, at 11:30 a.m., at the Manila Cathedral. The main celebrant will be His Eminence,Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales. Concelebrants are Archbp Paciano Aniceto, Chair of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, and Bp Jesse Mercado, Chair of the Episcopal Commission on the Laity. Political candidates vying for national posts will be invited to sign A COVENANT FOR LIFE.
 
Stand for life!
 
We ask for the Lord’s mercy and blessing upon our land.
 
Yours in Jesus and Mary,
 
Frank Padilla

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 
IN DEFENSE OF A BROTHER
(Part 2)
 
Holy Wednesday
March 31, 2010
 
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
 
The scripture readings this Holy Week, starting from Palm Sunday, describe the lament of a man who is unjustly accused and viciously attacked. Such a man is our brother Manny Villar. The attacks against him have intensified.
 
I want to say this outright: NONE OF THE ACCUSATIONS AGAINST HIM ARE TRUE.
 
The attacks against him, especially by the camp of his major political opponent, are politically motivated, and have utilized lies and half-truths from the beginning. Two major columnists are at the forefront of the public attacks against him. Behind the scenes is a New Ager who was the GK guru, but who is now full-time in the Aquino campaign. I want to remind you that these three are the same persons who, during the crisis in CFC, unjustly maligned me, maligned Bishop Gabriel Reyes, and even maligned Cardinal Rylko of the Vatican.
 
Their latest attack is saying that Manny Villar was not born poor and that his brother Danny did not die because of their inability to provide medical care due to poverty. What shameful lies these are. Even Noynoy Aquino himself came out yesterday on primetime TV to aver these lies.
 
Manny indeed was born poor. When his commercial jingle says he swam in a sea of garbage, it is creatively describing his situation as a boy when they would be playing in the streets, and when the heavy rains came, they would find themselves amid the garbage that the waters would bring.
 
How about his brother Danny being brought to the hospital and the funeral parlor? Well, just this month, the wife of a security guard at our compound had a stroke. They are dirt poor. But she was brought to three hospitals including St Luke’s, rode a number of times in an ambulance, had two angiograms, and was given expensive medicine. Where did the money come from? It should be obvious. They begged and borrowed. Relatives, friends and employer then helped them.
 
It is shameful for Manny’s political opponent to desecrate the name of his dead brother by maligning him and maliciously questioning the sacrifices of his loving family!
 
In all the vicious and unfounded attacks, Manny Villar has maintained the high ground in his campaign. He is positive. He does not retaliate in kind. He tells the truth. He is a true Christian.
 
Manny Villar is an exemplary Christian businessman and politician. That is probably why his political opponents need to resort to lies in order to try to bring him down. A sister of ours, who is a judge in a nearby province, recently told us that some Noynoy supporters came to her to ask if they could look at court records to dig up dirt on Villar. The campaign to discredit Manny Villar is deliberate and well-organized.
 
Manny and his wife Cynthia have been regular members of our community since 1999. They have been married for over 34 years. They have three well-behaved children. Manny was born poor and, knowing how it is to be poor, have the interest of the poor at heart. One of his primary goals is to greatly reduce poverty. Manny is only one of two Presidentiables (the other is JC de los Reyes) who is pro-life and is against the RH bill (though Gibo Teodoro lately also claimed to be anti-RH).
 
Do not believe all the lies being hurled against Manny Villar. If you need to be clarified about certain issues, then look to his explanations or those of others. Do not just pass on negative maligning emails. It is unchristian to do so. And because of the constant barrage of lies that might start to convince you, in fairness and Christian charity, consider first the other side.
 
Here are some rebuttals to the lies being said about Manny Villar.
 
On Monsod's C5 controversy,  Ric Barcelona (ex-student of Monsod) crafted a rebuttal  and a sequel - message:
http://www.mabuhayradio.com/sections/real-estate/5391-c5-sound-and-fury-is-solita-monsod-painting-the-full-picture.html............http://www.mabuhayradio.com/sections/real-estate/5420-monsodas-c5-analyses-errors-and-consequences.html........... 
..........

   
Villar's lawyer also sent in a letter to refute Monsod's claims
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Professionals-for-Manny-B-Villar-Pro-MBV/243075437807?v=app_2347471856#%21/topic.php?uid=243075437807&topic=13632 
 
On the Senate investigation of the C5 brouhaha:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Professionals-for-Manny-B-Villar-Pro-MBV/243075437807?v=app_2347471856#%21/notes/professionals-for-manny-b-villar-pro-mbv/the-c5-timeline-its-really-all-politics/302519919512 
 
On the hoax Mansion story:
http://politicalamateur.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/and-the-black-propaganda-backfires-palpak-to-the-max/.................or 
 to

http://www.mabuhayradio.com/sections/politics/5393-yellow-tainted-integrity-and-corrupted-disposition.html 
 
Drawing comparisons between C5 and the SCTex controversy, Magno's article is a must-read:  
http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=547074&publicationSubCategoryId=64 
 
On the Hacienda Luisita controversy plus the SCTex project:
http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=547074&publicationSubCategoryId=64 
. Another link: http://politics.inquirer.net/view.php?db=1&article=20100227-255637 
 
On Tony Hidalgo's passionate narration of NHMFC alleged irregularities:  
http://www.mabuhayradio.com/sections/politics/5456-villar-bashers-tell-vicious-lies-in-the-pag-ibig-fund-sss-or-gsis-housing-bad-loans-allegedly-engineered-by-manny-villar.html 
 
On the Capitol Bank/BSP and Norzagaray alleged anomaly per Lito Banayo:  
http://www.mabuhayradio.com/sections/real-estate/5348-lito-banayo-must-do-an-exhaustive-investigative-report-of-the-norzagaray-case-and-not-present-innuendoes-designed-to-smear-manny-villar.html.............http://www.mabuhayradio.com/sections/real-estate/5482-ado-paglinawan-teaches-perry-tale-diaz-the-fine-points-of-content-analysis-and-roasts-ducky-paredes-on-the-norzagaray-brouhaha-issues.html 
 
On the Villaroyo unholy alliance:
http://www.mabuhayradio.com/sections/politics/5529-why-villar-is-the-only-hindrance-to-cojuangco-aquinos-kamaganaks-return-to-power-along-with-a-council-of-trent-and-the-cameloot-clique.html 
 
On the Hacienda Luisita controversy, refer them to an old article written where Conrado de Quiros , now a rabid Noynoy supporter, contradicts himself.  
http://natoreyes.wordpress.com/2009/11/10/conrado-de-quiros-on-noynoy-and-the-luisita-massacre/ 
.  
 
or to this photostory on Hacienda Luisita
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Professionals-for-Manny-B-Villar-Pro-MBV/243075437807?v=app_2347471856#%21/album.php?aid=149871&id=243075437807&ref=mf 
 
or this Luisita video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFwcqjk3AKY 
 
Interestingly, this piece exposes the haciendero syndrome as Ate Ballsy proves how far removed they are from reality: 
http://politics.inquirer.net/view.php?db=1&article=20100131-250527 
 
On Monsod's recital of her reasons why she will vote for Noynoy, which she denied.
http://www.facebook.com/notes/professionals-for-manny-b-villar-pro-mbv/winnie-monsod-denies-authorship-of-why-i-will-vote-for-noynoy-aquino/353049209512 
 
 
Brothers and sisters, you may vote for any candidate you like. That is your right and privilege. I would like you to do that intelligently and prayerfully. We in community can have different candidates, and there is nothing wrong with that. We uphold our democratic system and an individual’s freedom of choice. But as a Christian community, we ultimately look to our Lord Jesus Christ, even in our political actions and choices. We should never be part of deliberate and malicious lying, as that makes us not children of God but of Satan, who “is a liar and the father of lies” (Jn 8:44).
 
It is terribly wrong to lie and malign and viciously and unjustly attack the integrity and good name of an individual. Manny Villar is our brother whom we must stand up for and defend.
 
Please pray for our brother Manny Villar, that he would continue to maintain the high moral ground, and simply trust in God for his vindication.
 
“But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your saving help protect me, God”
(Psalm 69:30)
 
God bless you all.
 
In the service of God and nation,
 
Frank Padilla

CFC-FFL
Having a Life-giving Household
 
Households are small pastoral groupings of members. They are essential to the life and mission of our community. They are where members are cared for, and where members continue to grow in the Lord.
 
A household is led by a leader assigned to it. However, every member of the household needs to take responsibility for the good conduct of the household, and help ensure that it becomes life-giving for everyone. If there is anything amiss, household members should speak up and discuss the problem, and together, under the direction of the leader, take steps to change the situation. The leader, being a servant, must be open and even desirous of such inputs, as a way of ensuring that the household members themselves find the household life-giving.
 
What makes for a life-giving household? First are the technical aspects.

(1)   It must be regular. Household meetings are never cancelled, unless getting to the meeting becomes physically impossible, such as in the case of flooding.
(2)   It must be on time. There is an arrival time, and there is a starting time, about 15 to 30 minutes after. Members should strive to be at the meeting venue at the arrival time. This gives some leeway to unexpected traffic.[1] If one arrives early, then all the better, so that there is some fellowship time. One does not arrive and immediately jump into the worship portion. Further, the meeting should start on time at the agreed on starting time, or at most just 5 or 10 minutes later, even if not everyone has arrived.
(3)   It must have the three basic ingredients of worship, discussion/sharing and fellowship.[2] It must follow the prescribed times for each aspect. Worship is about 30 minutes, discussion/sharing is for one hour, fellowship is for 30 minutes to an hour. Overall it should be from two to three hours.
(4)   It must NOT become a service meeting.[3] There are other designated times for service meetings.
(5)   It must end on time, and not too late in the evening (if it is on an evening).[4] A household meeting certainly should not spill over into the next day (that is, after midnight).[5]
 In all the above, the household leader must be the one to ensure these happen. Members who violate the above must be reminded and encouraged. If they continue to do so, they must be corrected more forcefully.
 
Secondly, what makes for a life-giving household is the fraternal aspect. The household members are brothers and sisters in Christ. They are journeying together along the path of Christ, which is the way of holiness. They have a responsibility, as they themselves grow in the Lord, to help the others grow as well.[6]
 
A relationship as brethren in Christ can mean a number of things.

(1)   It is a relationship of love. Household members are to love each other as Christ has loved them.
(2)   There is fraternal correction. Such is not just left to the household leader, but everyone else takes responsibility to correct whatever is amiss.
(3)   It is a relationship of friendship. Household members should desire to grow in their friendships and to the ties that bind. It should be such that they look forward to being together for the household meeting, and eagerly anticipate it.
(4)   It is a relationship of loyalty. Household members guard their hearts from anger, resentment or the like. If there is any personal problem, it is resolved quickly.
(5)   It is a relationship of trust. Household members trust each other enough to become vulnerable, such that they can openly share their lives, especially their challenges and shortcomings.[7] The principle of confidentiality is to be strictly observed.
 
Thirdly, what makes for a life-giving household is the pastoral aspect. We have households so that we will grow in the Lord. The household, normally being held in the church that is the home, is a school of spirituality.
 
Thus a number of elements are important.
(1)   Worship should be alive and vibrant. Household members must participate actively in the singing and the prayers. They should be open to receiving and sharing the word from the Lord. They must have the faith to know that they are in the presence of Jesus, and accord him the praise and worship that is his due.
(2)   There should be serious discussion and sharing. Normally the men meet separately from the women.[8]
(a)   For the first year, the discussions follow a specific track, based on the teaching courses that are taken up.
(b)   For the succeeding years, there is flexibility as to content. It can be Bible sharing, personal sharing, or discussion of a particular topic.
(c)   For discussion of topics, there are many resources available in the Church. In particular, the books and writings of the Servant General are suggested topics to be taken up.
(3) The household leader must strive to be a true servant leader.[9]
 Finally, since the household meeting is basically a spiritual activity, there is the needed spiritual preparation. All members of the household, especially the leader, should spend some time, before arriving at the household venue, praying to God about the meeting.
(1) Ask God to bind any spirits that are not of Him, and to send His angels to stand guard along your way and over the venue.
(2) Ask for wisdom and discernment.
(3) Ask for the grace by which every member of the household will be joyful and loving.
 
There are many life-giving elements in community. There is our personal prayer and Bible reading. There are the many teachings, formation tracks, and leaders training. There are the assemblies and other activities. But the household is unique in that the receivers are also the givers, and vice versa. The household is thus the basic cell of community--for formation, for fraternal relationships, for moving the whole community forward.
 
 
(SG. Dec 15, 2009)


[1] When someone is late, he often says it is because of the traffic. Indeed there was traffic, but if you ask him what time he left his home, you will see that he left already late.
[2] Unless it is just a time for fellowship, which normally happens once a quarter.
[3] If there is an urgent need, the fellowship portion can be turned into a service meeting.
[4] For example, 8pm to 11pm. If members can meet earlier and end earlier, all the better.
[5] When it is already the time of fellowship, those who need to leave earlier than the rest should feel free to do so.
[6] While the household leader is the basic pastor, every member, sharing in the priestly ministry of Christ, ministers to everyone else.
[7] It is not necessary to bare all secrets.
[8] This is very important. Only in rare times should the men meet together with the women for this portion. This is basically so that the men will grow together as men of God, and the women as women of God. Men and women have different needs, and different dynamics in relationships. Further, this allows them to take up different topics for discussion and sharing.
[9] Let your other “bible” be the book Servant Leadership.

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

DISOBEYING JESUS

January 28, 2009

We aredisciples of Jesus, and we are supposed to live a life of obedience to him. Is it then ever permissible to disobey Jesus? We know that the answer is No. Never!

But there were people during thetime of Jesuswho did disobey him, and I would actually extol them. Before you cast aspersions on me, let me explain.

Who were these people who disobeyed Jesus? They were the ones he healed and whose lives he changed. There were the leper (Mk 1:40-42), the two blind men (Mt 9:27-30a), and the deaf and mute man (Mk 7:32-35). Jesus told all of them not to speak about their healing (Mk 1:43-44; Mt 9:30b; Mk 7:36a).

But they disobeyed Jesus.
  • The leper immediately “went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad ….” (Mk 1:45).
  • The two no-longer blind men “went out and spread word of him through all that land.” (Mt 9:31).
  • The deaf-mute, and the people who witnessed the healing, were adamantly disobedient, such that “the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it.” (Mk 7:36b).
Why would those whom Jesus had done such a great thing for disobey him? Well, they disobeyed him precisely because he did such a great thing for them. They simply could not contain their joy. They could not hold back their amazement. They simply could not keep such miraculous works to themselves. They could not be selfish and keep silent about this miracle worker. They had to share him with others. They were extremely grateful. Jesus had radically transformed their lives.

What in effect had they become? They had become evangelizers. They proclaimed the good news of salvation and healing in Jesus.

Paul, that great apostle, himself said, “woe to me if I do not preach (the gospel)!” (1 Cor 9:16b). Just like those whom Jesus healed, Paul could not be restrained.

How about us? God has blessed us tremendously (though we often do not recognize the blessings). Do we thank Him? Do we proclaim His greatness? Are we enthusiastic about sharing our experience of Him with others? Or are we uncaring, complacent, disinterested, too preoccupied with other things? Or perhaps we do tell others about Jesus, but not passionately. We do not respond in the manner and to the extent that God has blessed us. Jesus gave his all, but we only give a small part of ourselves.

CFC-FFL is called to be evangelistic and missionary. This is the reason for our existence. We are to proclaim Christ. We should be as enthusiastic as the people Jesus healed. We should work such that “his fame (would) spread everywhere throughout the whole region” (Mk 1:28), that “people (would keep) coming to him from everywhere” (Mk 1:45c), that “the whole crowd (would rejoice) at all the splendid deeds done by him” (Lk 13:17b), and that “all (would be) astonished by themajesty of God” (Lk 9:43). We should work such that Jesus would be known and loved by all.

And in our situation, we do not face the dilemma of wanting to speak about Jesus but being told not to. Jesus does not tell us not to speak about him. On the contrary. Jesus commands us to “go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature” (Mk 16:15).

Make sure you obey.

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

USHERING IN THE YEAR 2009

January 1, 2009

Mydear brothers and sistersin the Lord,

Happy New Year!

I pray that you had a wonderful Christmas holiday, not just with lots of partying, but with extra time for prayer and thanksgiving and rejoicing in the blessings God has showered upon us in 2008. Now it is back to work. And that is something we should all be looking forward to, especially in our work for the kingdom.

We face a new year. What kind of a year will it be? Well, it will be entirely up to us (by thegrace of God).

Brothers and sisters, for us personally:
  • We can always maintain our joy, because our joy is Christ. No matter what is happening in our lives, including the seeming negatives, we are loved by God and God has the most wonderful plan for us.
  • We can always have hope, because our hope is Christ. God is merciful and we can trust in Hisdivine mercy. God is faithful and we can look to His outpouring of grace and blessings upon us.

But we are not just to maintain our own equanimity in Christ, but we are once again given the privilege, and responsibility, of making a positive difference in and for the world. We are called on to build thekingdom of God in our midst. We do that by building our homes and our community into a holy army that will fight for God’s righteousness, working to enthrone Jesus in the hearts of every person, every home, every community and every nation.

Brothers and sisters, CFC-FFL is an evangelistic and missionary community. This is why God raised CFC in 1981, re-founded CFC in 1993, and then raised a remnant in 2007. This is our reason for being. This is how we become God’s instruments according to His plan. This is what makes us relevant in the world today. This is how we can look forward to a future full of hope.

If we trust in Jesus for our life, our family and our work, then 2009 will necessarily be a very happy new year.

My prayer is that you will indeed have such a year.

God bless you.

Your brother and servant,

Frank Padilla

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

ON BLIND OBEDIENCE

December 31, 2008


Hello brothers,
As we face a new year of serving our people, it is timely to be reminded of our proper posture of authority. We lead as servants. And unlike the world, authority does not mean being authoritarian. We do not lord it over people, we do not dictate on people, we do not run people's lives. We do not expect or demand blind obedience.

Blind obedience is expected of no one, even by the Lord. Blind obedience violates our innate dignity and freedom. Blind obedience is different from faith, which we have in Jesus. We fully trust in Jesus, but it is not a blind trust, as we see clearly that He is all good, desiring only our well-being, and is all-powerful for whom nothing is impossible. We obey God because of our faith and hope in Hiseternal love.

We also obey those the Lord puts over us, whether the Church hierarchy or ourcommunity leaders. But again, such obedience cannot be blind. We do not just blindly follow whatever is demanded of us. If fact, servant leaders should make no demands, but rather just give directives in accord with their positions of leadership. Then what is expected of subordinates is active submission. This means that they should heed and acknowledge one's leader with respect, as it is the Lord who places that person in authority, but if for any reason one's conscience does not allow him to just accept a directive, then he is not expected to just blindly do so. He can reason it out, ask for a dialogue, appeal to a higher authority, even correct what he believes to be wrong. This of course should be done in good order, with respect and fraternal love and loyalty.

Servant leadershipand active submission are the key to peace, unity and good order in community. Blind obedience, whether demanded or given, is what violates what the Lord has provided and what ultimately leads the community astray.

God bless.

frank

"For to me life is Christ, and death is gain." (Phil 1:21)W

----- Forwarded Message ----
From:CFCFFL Home Office <homeoffice@cfcffl.org>
Sent:Wednesday, December 24, 2008 9:10:47 PM
Subject:THE COMING OF THE SAVIOR

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

THE COMING OF THE SAVIOR

“And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us”
(John 1:14a)

December 25, 2008

My beloved brethren in Christ,

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.” (Lk 2:10-11). Thus did the angel of the Lord proclaim to the shepherds the birth of Jesus.

“And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’” (Lk 2:13-14). Heaven burst out in joyful celebration and worship. Indeed, it was the most momentous moment in all history, when God came into the world as a human baby, to usher in the start of the life and work of the Savior of the world.

Today we Christians celebrate Christmas. Despite problems and woes, we manage to be joyful. Despite antagonisms and conflicts, we manage to wish goodwill to others. Despite tragedies and injustice, we manage, even for just a moment, to feel peace within us.

But what will the new year bring? In a week’s time, will the peace and joy of Christmas already be a thing of the past, something that was briefly enjoyed in the year that has gone?

It does not have to be that way. The angel talked of not being afraid, of good news, of great joy, of the universality of the good news.
  • The birth of Jesus is good news. It is the greatest news ever. A Savior has been born. We will be redeemed from sin and darkness. Our lives can be turned totally around, for the better.
  • This great news is for all. For even the vilest of sinners. Nay, precisely for the vilest of sinners. No one is to be excluded from the grace and blessing of God.
  • And so all should rejoice. Salvation, transformation, renewal, deliverance, grace upon grace, fullness of life all these are within reach. And God desires for all to have them.
  • So we should no longer be afraid. No matter what our situation in life, no matter how deep in the pit we are at the moment, we can confidently look forward to God’s action on our behalf. And if God is for us, who can be against us? We can move on with our lives with confidence and trust.

But after two millennia, why is the world, already lighted up by the birth of the Savior, still in darkness, in conflict, and unhappy?

It is because we have not done our part. What then must we do? First, we must allow Jesus to be born in our very own hearts. We must be personally transformed in Christ, and live out our lives according to the ways of the Savior. We must grow in holiness.

Second, we must allow Jesus to be born in our homes. We must build a family for Christ, and live in a home inhabited as well by the Holy Spirit. In our home, all will be formed with truly Christian values.

Finally, we must work such that Jesus is born in every other heart as well. We must do the work of evangelization. We must proclaim Christ to the whole world. Jesus depends on us! To proclaim this good news, this salvation in Jesus, this reign of Jesus in our lives, this coming of peace into the world this task is our privilege and our responsibility. When we do so, the heavenly host will again burst out with exultant joy. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, and saying to Zion, ‘Your God is King!’” (Is 52:7).

Let us shout for joy for the Lord restores us, and let us break out in song for the Lord redeems us (Is 52:8-9). Let us live such that Jesus becomes incarnate in our lives and makes his dwelling among us. And let us work such that “all the ends of the earth will behold the salvation of our God.” (Is 52:10b).

This is what Christmas means. That is how Christmas will remain in people’s hearts and lives, long after the festive celebrations have ceased.

Have a blessed Christmas.

Your brother and servant,

Frank Padilla

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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

June 14, 2008
 
Subject: THE “COUPLES FOR CHRIST” NAME
 
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
 
Peace!
 
On June 5, the Philippines’ Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), on our petition, issued an Order reviving the original CFC foundation established in 1984, the “COUPLES FOR CHRIST FOUNDATION INC.” (CFCFI). This means that we now have legal right to the name “CFC,” and this is a prior right to that of CFC-GK-IC, with its corporation of CFCGMFI established in 1993.
 
Many bishops, both in the Philippines and in other countries, have recognized CFC-FFL. They include Bishop Gabriel Reyes, the Spiritual Director of CFC (before he resigned as Spiritual Director of CFC-GK) and the Chair of the Episcopal Commission on the Laity, and Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, Archbishop of Jaro and President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). In a recent letter to me dated May 27, Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, also left it to individual bishops to recognize CFC-FFL, including that of our name.
 
Therefore, from both the spiritual and the secular, from both Church and state, we have every right to use the name “Couples for Christ.”
 
Even from the moral and ethical standpoint, we can and should use the name “CFC.” The Church considers me the founder of CFC, and in the ecclesiology of new movements, the charism resides in the founder. Where the founder is, there is the charism. Where the charism is, there is the authentic CFC.
 
So to all my brothers and sisters in CFC-FFL, if you ever had any doubts at all before, be assured that you are indeed CFC. The Church and the state, and I believe the Lord as well, say so.
 
With regard to our brethren in CFC-GK, we do not intend to do to them what they have been doing to us. For the sake of peace and eventual reconciliation, we do not intend to prevent them from using the name “CFC,” for as long as they strive to not let go of what it means to be truly CFC.
 
In fact, I reiterate my long-standing and constant proposal, that of having one big CFC family but with two separate and distinct branches. This has many models among the religious congregations, such as the Franciscans and the Carmelites. This way, we co-exist peacefully, and even keep the door open to eventual reconciliation and true unity.
 
I extend my hand of peace to my brethren in CFC-GK.
 
For us in CFC-FFL, let us continue to move on, as we have been doing. There is much work to be done. Since last year we have been praying: “Lead us back to you, O Lord, that we may be restored: give us anew such days as we had of old.” (Lam 5:21). The Lord has answered our prayers. God has restored us to our authentic charism of evangelization and family life renewal. Now God has even restored the original CFC foundation. So now we look to such days of old, when we were focused on our calling, and when we zealously proclaimed Christ throughout the world.
 
Let us praise and thank God for His wondrous deeds in our lives and in our work. We thank our Blessed Mother Mary for interceding for us and granting our prayers. Let us be humbled by God’s faithfulness to us, and continue to dedicate ourselves totally to Him and to our mission.
 
And let us continue to rejoice! Always!
 
God bless us all.
 
Your brother and co-worker in Christ,
 
Frank Padilla
 
 
 
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REFLECTIONS ON PERSECUTION AND SUFFERING

 

The readings these past 3 days have been consistent in talking about persecution and suffering. These are God’s words to us. They direct our path.

 

June 6 – 2 Tim 3:12 “In fact, all who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

June 5 – 2 Tim 2:8-9 “such is my gospel, for which I am suffering, even to the point of chains, like a criminal.”

June 4 – 2 Tim 1:8,12 “bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God. ….. On this account I am suffering these things”

 

Suffering and carrying the cross are the ways of a true disciple.

 

What are some of these sufferings? The fulltimers who resigned/retired from CFC-GK are not being given their benefits (for some it will be almost a year already), and are in dire need, for daily sustenance and for coming education expenses. Our intercessors are being viciously attacked spiritually, to the point of physical suffering. Our seniors throughout the world are being maligned and attacked personally. GK beneficiaries who align with us are being threatened. A brother was even ousted from the golf committee!

 

There is no let-up, and in fact the attacks are intensifying. Look at their blogs (I myself do not, but hear about their content), their anonymous emails, the newspaper attacks, the continuing disinformation (quoting even the Vatican out of context).

 

Lamentations continues!

 

What is God doing? God is forming us in order to prepare us for the glorious years ahead.

 

This is a time of purification. SO REJOICE! The extent and the intensity of the persecution and our suffering are directly proportional to the glory that God intends to accomplish in and through His holy remnant.

 

God is teaching us and forming us. We should not focus on crying out for relief or for His judgment on those who persecute us, but we should be entering more deeply into understanding His ways and allowing these to be embedded deeply within our very being.

 

June 5 – Ps 25:4-5 “Make known to me your ways, Lord; teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me”

June 6 – Ps 119:157,159-160 “Though my persecutors and foes are many I do not turn from your decrees. ….. See how I love your precepts, Lord; in your kindness give me life. Your every word is enduring; all your just edicts are forever.”

 

So what are these continuing and intensifying persecutions all about?

 

First, they help purify us. So praise God for this great way to grow in holiness. Without such trials and crosses, we would not be as holy.

 

June 4 – 2 Tim 1:9 “He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began”

 

Second, they teach us, in a painful but blessed way, how we are to be as Christians (pain is inherent in the process of purification). They prepare us for our relationships (with God, with brethren, with others) for the work of the future. Given what we are enduring, we must learn not to fall into such sins ourselves.

      Do not lie. This will include such things as half-truths and distortions (such as reporting only the good and hiding the bad).

      Do not just speak about love but actually love. Do we still harbor grudges against each other? Are we unable to forgive? Do we look down on others? Do we look to the interest of our brethren first and foremost? Are there brethren we have not fully accepted with the love of the Lord?

      Do not be tampuhin (onion-skinned). This is a sign of great immaturity. This shows we do not have the heart of a servant.

      Look to serving God and not man. We look beyond the shortcomings of those over us. As we do so, we see Christ, who is the one we are actually serving.

      Do not malign others. But speak the truth in righteousness. It is the truth that sets people free. But let your speech be gracious.

      Love your enemy. It is God who will judge them. Pray that they will be converted so that they will not be judged harshly.

      Be at peace with all.

 

Third, God is giving us the privilege to be directly invested. There is no other way to truly transform us. We know all about suffering and crosses, but this cannot just be a vicarious experience. Unless we ourselves experience them in a personal, concrete and significant way, the impact on our lives is limited. God loves us so much and is preparing us for so great a future that He is prolonging and allowing the intensification of our suffering.

 

So what do we do?

 

First, and again, REJOICE! We are worthy to suffer even just a little bit of what Jesus suffered—false accusation, betrayal, abandonment, insults, ridicule, painful blows, hatred. The fruit of such little suffering will be tremendous and awesome.

 

Second, continue to learn the lessons of Lamentations. This is not just for 2007, but forever. At least once every year, preferably during Lent, read and meditate on the book 40 Days of Lamentations. Look to suffering and pain and the cross as God’s blessings (if we have not acted unrighteously). Meditate on the very many passages in the Bible that speak of this (Mt 5:10-12; Acts Acts 5:41; Acts 14:22; Jas 1:2-4; 1 Pt 1:6-7; 1 Pt 2:19-21; 1 Pt 4:12-19; 2 Cor 1:3-7; 2 Cor 6:3-10; 2 Cor 12:9-10; Phil 2:5-8; Col 1:24; Heb 12:1-13; many others). But always remember, Lamentations is about hope and joy.

 

Third, let go and let God. Many times this will entail not just a spiritual assent, but actual physical or material loss. For example, while the fulltimers should fight for what is legally and morally due to them, they should not be focused on the money (no matter how great their need) and even at some point be willing to suffer material loss as they go about the Lord’s work. Let go of money, of reputation, of employment, of friends (because of them, not because of us), even of golf. But in all things, be blameless. And trust in God.

 

Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

 

June 4 – Ps 123:1-2 “To you I raise my eyes, to you enthroned in heaven. ….. so are our eyes on the Lord our God, till we are shown favor.”

 

Let us continue to recognize our own sinfulness and look to God’s mercy. Let us always consider the plank in our own eye and not the splinter in others. Let us humble ourselves, and allow the Lord to raise us up.

 

June 5 – Ps 25:8-9,11 “Good and upright is the Lord, who shows sinners the way, guides the humble rightly, and teaches the humble the way. ….. For the sake of your name, Lord, pardon my guilt, though it is great.”

 

Let us follow Jesus’ (and Paul’s) teaching, with all that these entail.

 

June 6 – 2 Tim 3:10-11 “You have followed my teaching, way of life, purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, and sufferings”

June 5 – Ps 25:14 “The counsel of the Lord belongs to the faithful; the covenant instructs them.”

 

Let us continue to put our faith, trust and hope in God.

 

June 6 – 2 Tim 3:11 “Yet from all these things the Lord delivered me.”

June 5 – Ps 25:6-7 “Remember your compassion and love, O Lord; for they are ages old. Remember no more the sins of my youth; remember me only in light of your love.”

 

Let us remain faithful to God, to His ways, and to our covenant. Let us fear the Lord in His awesome majesty. This is the way to being blessed.

 

June 6 – 2 Tim 3:14 “But you, remain faithful to what you have learned and believed”

June 5 – Ps 25:12-13 “Who are those who fear the Lord? God shows them the way to choose. They live well and prosper, and their descendants inherit the land.”

 

Let us rejoice, for the victory, in God’s time and in God’s way, is at hand.

 

God console, sustain, strengthen, and bless you all.

 

frank

June 6, 2008

 

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June 6, 2008
 
Subject : Current Status of CFC-FFL with the Vatican

FOR ALL CFC-FFL LEADERS

Dear brethren,

I am in receipt of a letter dated May 27 from Cardinal Rylko of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Cardinal Rylko expressed the following:
(1) The Vatican's concern for the situation of CFC.
(2) His concern for the misleading manipulation of confidential letters from the dicasteries of the Holy See.
(3) Their being saddened by the newspaper articles that gravely offended the Holy See and the Philippine bishops.
(4) His regret that there is no immediate solution to the problems in CFC, but hoping for eventual reconciliation.

Cardinal Rylko conveys the following:
(1) It is up to each bishop to recognize us and the use of the name CFC-FFL (or any other name for that matter).
(2) He recommends avoiding further scandal and confusion by not using sarcastic or denunciatory expressions.
(3) He urges us not to use "Restoring the authentic CFC charism" on our mastheads, as this does not help reconciliation.

Cardinal Rylko closed with asking for my collaboration, and trusting that I will make every effort for the good of CFC throughout the world.

I have responded by assuring the Vatican of my sincere desire to bring healing and reconciliation. I reiterated my proposal for creative unity, that of one CFC with two separate branches. I assured him that we are committed to not causing scandal or confusion, and that we do not respond in kind to the unwarranted attacks against us. I have already given instructions, which I give to you all also, to remove the phrase "Restoring the authentic CFC charism" from letterheads, mastheads and eventually I.D.s. I have told him that we in CFC-FFL have moved on, approved by very many bishops throughout the world.

This is good news for us. Let us now move ahead and go about our work of evangelization and family life renewal.

Let us continue to relate to our brethren in CFC-GK with friendship, cordiality and Christian charity, as I know you all are doing.

God bless us all.

Your brother and co-worker in Christ,

frank

p.s. I have not given out a copy of Cardinal Rylko's letter because of his concern about the spread of confidential letters. If and when the Cardinal gives his permission, I will give out the copy. You may pass on this email to our leaders or to those who need to know. However, avoid wholesale email blasts.

"For to me life is Christ, and death is gain." (Phil 1:21)

AN OPEN LETTER TO CFC-FFL WORLDWIDE
 
April 30, 2008
 
My dear brethren,
 
Grace and peace from our Lord Jesus Christ!
 
The turn of events
 
Events have moved quickly since an article entitled "Vatican admonishes CFC over GK" appeared on ABS-CBN online news last April 16 (note: we had nothing to do with that article, and the writer is unknown to me/us). Then the letter of Cardinal Rylko of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (Vatican) to Joe Tale dated March 11 surfaced on the Net (note: this did not come from us as we had no copy, but came from them as they tried to downplay the ABS-CBN news item). The letter told Joe about going back to the esse ntials, and the priority of building up the family, in fidelity to the Church. It talked about counterbalancing the overemphasis on the social work. It talked about the public scandal due to the mistakes committed, and the need to correct them. It urged Joe to issue a public declaration in the Philippine newspapers recognizing the errors and publicly apologizing. It directed CFC to stop receiving funding (from those producing or marketing contraceptives).
 
The reaction of some on the CFC-GK side was fast and furious. Boy Montelibano, the right-hand man of Tony Meloto in GK, issued a series of writings, basically maligning me, Bishop Gabriel Reyes, Cardinal Rylko of the Vatican, and the Church hierarchy in general. He used strong words such as Pharisees and hypocrisy. Other newspaper columnists such as Esposo and de Quiros, connected with Boy, joined in on the person a l attacks on me and on the hierarchical Church.
 
We are in a time of intense spiritual warfare!
 
God's action in our lives
 
Last year, the Lord brought us to Lamentations, to teach us a stern lesson, that we would lose it all if we are unfaithful to our covenant, just as what happened to His people Israel. I took command responsibility for our collective guilt, and made a spiritual offering of resignation from the Int'l Council. That should have brought us back to God's grace, if we all repented and turned back from unfaithfulness to our covenant and veering away from our calling. But that did not happen, as there was disrespect and disobedience to our bishops, and there was maligning and attacks against those who wanted to restore CFC to its authentic charism.
 
We all allowed the enemy (the devil, our common enemy) to ent er our gates, with the result that CFC plunged into deep crisis and then split.
 
But given that bringing us to Lamentations did not have the desired result, since there were those with hardened hearts who would not repent and turn away from errors, God then allowed the split to happen. If we had not split, CFC would soon have disintegrated, as the enemy wanted to destroy us all. With the split, the tensions between the social and the spiritual dimensions of our work were eliminated. We in CFC-FFL, the restored CFC true to its authentic charism, moved on, with great joy and starting to experience the return of God's anointing.
 
The enemy, thinking he had succeeded in seriously weakening CFC with the split, now saw God bringing victory out of seeming defeat. He now saw the emergence of a restored CFC, once again totally focused on the charism given it. Once again God's work of family renewal and evangelization could proceed in the power of His Spirit. And once a gain the enemy raged.
 
Since many bishops have recognized CFC-FFL, and since the Holy See, through the Pontifical Council for the Laity, has recognized the errors committed by CFC, so now it is the hierarchical Church herself that is under attack.
 
This is where we see that indeed we are into more intense spiritual warfare. The devil rages against the Church and her authentic work. The conflict is not just about us in CFC, but about the whole Church.
 
Call to prayer
 
What should we do?
 
First, be not afraid. The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church.
 
Second, rejoice in persecution for the sake of righteousness, for you are blessed (Mt 5:10-12). Such is God's way of purifying us and moving us on to holiness.
 
Third, do not retaliate in kind. Continue to love your "enemy" (the only real enemy is the devil).
 
Fourth, pray hard. Prayer is our lifeline to God, who is me rci ful, kind, just and loving. We are His children. He is committed to care for us. He knows our pains. He allows crosses into our lives. But He has a great plan for us, not for woe but for a future full of hope.
 
Let us pray for God's protective mantle on us all. Let us pray for our brethren who are in CFC-GK. They are our brethren and not our enemies. And let us pray for Mother Church, especially our bishops who guide and pastor us.
 
I ask every member of CFC-FFL, in addition to your regular daily prayer and Bible reading, to look to frequent participation in the Eucharist (daily if you can), to regular family prayer of the rosary (daily if you can), and to Eucharistic adoration (if you are able). The different CFC-FFL groupings (households, chapters, districts, etc.) should look to communal prayer and intercession. The intercessory groups should intensify their prayers. Let us also pray the chaplet of the Divine Mercy.
 
I also call on fasting twi ce a week. We, and the whole Church, are into intense spiritual warfare. Certain demons "can only come out through prayer (and through fasting)" (Mk 9:29). We are on spiritual war footing. Be fit for the fight.
 
Finally, keep your hearts pure and humble. "'God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the humble.' So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you." (1 Pt 5:5-7).
 
Rejoice in the Lord
 
It is appropriate that we in CFC-FFL have taken on the theme of joy for this year. God loves us, God has a great plan for us, God will never abandon us, God turns our pains and crosses into sanctification and holiness. And God is already victorious over the enemy. What more could we ask for?
 
I leave you with Peter's wise words.
 
"Now who is going to harm you if you are enthusiastic for what is good? But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil." (1 Pt 3:13-17)
 
Mama Mary, please pray for us and keep us in your loving embrace always.
 
God bless us all.
 
Your brother in Christ,
 
Frank Padilla

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Renewing the Family and Defending Life