FROM THE SERVANT
ON THE SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF OUR CONSECRATION TO MARY
(On Mary - Part 4)
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Peace in the name
of Jesus the Lord!
It is now two years since we as CFC-FFL were consecrated to Mary, Mediatrix of
All Grace. August 10, 2007, was a momentous occasion in the life of the restored CFC. The Christ
the King parish church where we gathered for our Restoration Assembly was jampacked and overflowing. Emotions
ran high, as the image of Mary was paraded to the front altar. Tears of joy were shed. With great solemnity, on our knees
before God, we were consecrated to Mary and entrusted to her maternal care.
Since that time, Mary our Mother
has blessed us in the name of her son our Lord Jesus. Since that time, the holy remnant that is CFC-FFL has strongly moved
forward in the power of God’s Spirit. Mary has shown us the
way to living out our charism, that of renewing the family and defending life.
The life of Mary is all about
family and life. The plan of God for the life of the world is all about family and life.
This year we took our
theme of Trust in Jesus from the book of the prophet Isaiah.
The first line of the verse says: “God indeed is my savior” (Is 12:2a). Our life and our mission is all about
Jesus the savior, about proclaiming his salvation to the ends of the earth, about experiencing the fullness of salvation when
we finally enter into our eternal reward. That Jesus is the savior is the most momentous and mysterious truth and event of
But how did God unfold such a momentous event? God decided to send His own Son into the world, to become
man, and to suffer and die for all humankind and thus to win for them their salvation. And how did God send His own Son? It
would have been fitting for the Creator of the universe, the Almighty and Omnipotent God, to send His Son with all grandeur,
amid a great theophany, with all the angels, with grand impact upon the whole world. But no. God quietly chose a lowly maiden
and conceived Jesus in her womb. And the Savior of the world remained
quietly in her womb for nine months.
Mary then gave birth to the Savior, and Jesus came to life through
her and was born into the family of Joseph and Mary. Here was the Savior of the world, and he was born of
the Virgin Mary, after having been carried in her womb. When we talk about our life
and mission, that of proclaiming the Savior, we must know that God favored Mary, that God brought the Savior into the world
through Mary, that in the grand and mysterious plan of salvation, Mary
Mary is all about life, family and evangelization. This is what makes our consecration to Mary
so important and significant. When we do the work of evangelization, when we renew the family and defend life, we are carrying
on the very plan of God, put into action by the yes of Mary. Mary was used by God to send us the Savior, and Mary is using
us to bring the Savior to the whole world. This is what our consecration to Mary is about.
Just as our Mother Mary trusted in God, we continue to trust in Jesus. Just as Mary
brought the Savior into the world, we continue to proclaim Christ and bring his salvation to the world. Just as Mary is all
about life and family, we are about the task of renewing the family and defending life. Such is our great privilege, being
called by God to be His evangelizers and missionaries, and being consecrated to Mary for such a task.
continue to venerate our Blessed Mother Mary, as we continue our work of evangelization. And as all peoples accept Jesus as
Savior and Lord, may the time also come when all generations will call Mary blessed.
May the Lord be with you
Your servant in Jesus and Mary,
FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
December 8, 2008
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
(On Mary - Part 3)
“You are all-beautiful, my beloved,
and there is no blemish in you.”
(Song of Songs
Mary was conceived
without original sin. This is the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
But did not Paul say that “all have sinned and are deprived of the glory
of God” (Rom 3:23)? Yes, but this is precisely what shows how special Mary is. She is the only human being after the
fall who was the one exception.
Mary would bear the Son of God, and God is perfectly holy. It could not be that an imperfect vessel would bear
a perfect God. So according to God’s eternal plan, God did not allow Mary to be conceived with any stain of sin.
God wants those that He intends
to use to be clean and pure instruments. Such purity was to be from the time of their conception.
Manoah’s wife, who would give birth to Samson,
was told “to be careful to take no wine or strong drink and to eat nothing unclean.” (Jgs 13:4). This was because
Samson was “to be consecrated to God from the womb” and would “begin the deliverance of Israel from the
power of the Philistines” (Jgs 13:5).
Jeremiah, one of the great prophets of Israel, was told by God: “Before I formed you in the
womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.” (Jer 1:5).
Zechariah was told by the angel
Gabriel that his wife Elizabeth would bear a son. John the Baptist became the precursor of Christ. Zechariah was told that
John would “be great in the sight of the Lord. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the
holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.”
a deliverer of Israel, a prophet to the nations, a restorer of Israel’s children to the Lord—all these were mighty
works of God, for which He raised pure instruments.
But Mary was the greatest instrument of all according to God’s
plan. She would be the mother of the Savior, the mother of God Himself. As such, she needed to be a perfectly pure instrument.
But others would still insist
that what the Bible says is perfectly true, that “all have sinned” (Rom 3:23a). The only exception is Jesus, “who
did not know sin” (2 Cor 5:21). As such, then Mary was subject to original sin as well. Let us follow this trend of
us indeed have sinned. We are born with original sin, the sin of our first parents. But through the blood shed for us by Jesus
on the cross, our sin has been expiated. We “are justified freely by his grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus,
whom God set forth as an expiation, through faith, by his blood, to prove his righteousness because of the forgiveness of
sins previously committed” (Rom 3:24-25). We have sinned, but in and through Jesus we are cleansed, if we accept his
saving death on the cross by faith.
Now God is not governed by time and space. God transcends time and space. So what God did was to extend to Mary
his grace of expiation from sin, won on the cross, but applied backward to the time of Mary’s conception. Thus Mary,
like everyone else, was redeemed by the blood of Jesus, but rather than being freed from sin already incurred, she was preserved
from original sin.
God do that? Of course He can! There is nothing impossible for God! (Lk 1:37).
Indeed notice that with her Magnificat, Mary says her spirit rejoices
in God her savior (Lk 1:47). She did not say she will rejoice, but that she already rejoices. But Jesus the Savior was still
to be born, and still had to go to the cross to win salvation for all. Thus for Mary, Jesus had already saved her, even before
he physically went to the cross. The prophecy of Isaiah rightfully applies to her: “I rejoice heartily in the Lord,
in my God is the joy of my soul; for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation, ….. like a bride bedecked with her
jewels.” (Is 61:10).
So Mary was conceived without sin.
We also need to see the Immaculate Conception in view of salvation history. When our first parents
sinned, there was the first promise of a Redeemer. The Lord God told the devil that there would be enmity between him and
the woman and between their offsprings, and that the offspring of the woman would strike him a mortal blow (Gen 3:15). It
is a fight between the woman and the serpent. Now the woman is Mary, and so it is a fight between Mary and the devil. If the
woman had original sin, then she would be subject to the power of the devil and would not be able to defeat him. So she needed
to be free from sin.
so in the fullness of time, God brought Mary into the world, and then revealed to her His plan. The angel Gabriel addressed
her with the words “Hail, favored one!” (Lk 1:28). Another way to put the greeting is “Hail, fully graced.”
Mary was full of grace! One who is fully graced cannot have the stain of sin.
And of course, God intended for Mary to bear His own Son. She was to
become the mother of God. As the mother of the Holy One, she had to be unstained.
Consider also that there were other humans not covered by Paul’s
assertion that all had sinned. These were Adam and Eve. They were born unstained, created in the image and likeness of God
Himself (Gen 1:27). When God looked at what He had created, He “found it very good” (Gen 1:31). God being Who
He is, what He creates is perfect. God cannot create something in His image and likeness that is stained in some way.
So Adam and Eve started out with
no sin, because there was no sin as yet in the world. Now Mary is the new Eve. If Eve was created sinless, then how much more
Mary who would become the mother of God?
And so Mary was conceived without sin. It was not that she had original sin and was freed from it,
but rather that God preserved her from original sin, from the very beginning. She was still redeemed by Jesus, but in God’s
mysterious ways, experienced this redemption from sin even before the actual physical event of Jesus’ crucifixion and
death on the cross.
- We are all proud of our mothers and
think they are the best moms in the world. Think about how your mom has been a blessing to you. Thank God for her.
- Think about your Mother Mary, who was pure and immaculate
and full of grace. How proud of her are you?
(Taken from the forthcoming new book of Frank Padilla entitled “40 More
Days with Mary”)
FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
MARY, MISSION AND MARTYRDOM
(On Mary - Part 2)September 8, 2008
Today we celebrate the
birthday of our Mother Mary. And today we commemorate the 11th death anniversary of our brothers Ben Donato and Jun Frias.
Ben and Jun died in a car accident while on mission in Vanuatu. They gave their lives for the sake of the call. A definition
of “martyr” is one who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle.
Ben and Jun were our first martyrs on mission. To be a martyr is to be a witness. Ben and Jun truly witnessed to the love
and way of Christ.
Today we look at life and death, at rejoicing and at grieving, at being amazed and being troubled.
There will be many times when the two seemingly opposed aspects come together in a package. Mary was greatly troubled at what
the angel Gabrieltold her, but burst out with joyful exuberant praise in her Magnificat. Mary would have been overjoyed as she and Joseph were amazed at the words of Simeon when Jesus was presented at the temple, while at the same time
would have been troubled when told that she would be pierced by a sword (Lk 2:33-35). We grieve at the deaths of Ben and Jun,
but we rejoice in their new life in heaven.
We look at our own lives in Christ. There are ups and downs, joys
and sorrows, victories and seeming defeats. Accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord does not translate to a life of ease and comfort.
On the contrary. Even as we have accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord, or perhaps precisely because we have accepted him
as such and are now serving him, we will face difficulties in life. The enemy opposes and oppresses God’s people, especially
those who do mission for Him. We may even be called on to give our very lives for the cause of Christ. Though we may be troubled
by such a possibility, we must rejoice at such a privilege. In speaking about himself and his love for us, Jesus says he tells
us these things so that his joy might be in us and that our joy might be complete (Jn 15:11). Jesus then gives us the commandment
of love, and says: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Today I honor our brothers Ben and Jun, who gave their lives for the cause of Christ in pursuance
of his mission. They walked the way of Jesus, who himself showed the way to true love by giving his life for us all. Let us
never forget the supreme sacrifice of our brothers, and let us be inspired by their total commitment to mission.
and sorrow. Life and death. Whatever happens, we must never be robbed of our joy in Christ. Even as Jesus told his disciples
that he would be leaving them and they themselves would be scattered, he told them that they should have peace in him. Such
is possible, given the reality of Christ in our lives. “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have
conquered the world.” (Jn 16:33).
When Ben and Jun were retrieved from their car that had plunged into
a pool of water by the road, Ben was seen clutching a rosary in his hand. They had been praying
the rosary. That should be the way to go being on the Father’s mission, anointed by the Spirit, praying to Mary,
rejoicing in Christ.
I do not know why God allowed the lives of two good men to be taken that day. I cannot fully
understand the inscrutablemind of God. But what I do know is that today
we have two intercessors before the throne room of God, praying
for our mission. What I do know is that our two brothers have gone on ahead of us, to the place where we ourselves all long
to be. What I do know is that they are in the loving embrace of our Mother Mary. And what I do know is that now we are very
much more aware that as we go on mission, we might be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice, giving our lives for the
cause of Christ.
Things may not work out according to our desires and designs. But if we remain in Christ, all
things work for our good. “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve,
but your grief will become joy.” (Jn 16:20). Grief and joy. Weeping and rejoicing. They often come together. But if
we remain in him, Jesus himself assures us: “your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.”
(Jn 16:22). Our hearts, like Mary, may be pierced, but our joy in Christ remains.
Our Mother Mary was born to
life. Our brothers Ben and Jun died, and were born to eternal life. Mary then gave birth to Jesus, who became the Savior of the world. Our brothers Ben and Jun have given birth to greater fruit
in our mission to proclaim Jesus to the world, thus bringing new life in Christ to many others. “Amen, amen, I say to
you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much
fruit.” (Jn 12:24). Let us honor the sacrifice of our martyrs Ben and Jun by giving even more of ourselves for our mission
We are greatly privileged to be missionaries, Marian, and martyrs. Let us move on with exultant
God bless you all.
ON THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF OUR CONSECRATION TO MARY
(On Mary - Part 1)
August 10, 2008
My dear brothers
and sisters in Christ,
Greetings in the love of Jesus!
has been one year since that blessed event last August 10, 2007, when
we as CFC-FFL consecrated ourselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary, more specifically, to Our Lady, Mary Mediatrix of All Grace. Since that time,
we have experienced her powerful intercession, helping firm up our restoration and moving us forward in our mission.
we had a pilgrimage to the Carmelite shrine at Lipa, Batangas. We filled the Church and had a wonderful time. Like Mary in
her Magnificat, what we experienced was exultant joy. This is the joy that comes from knowing
God’s mercy, His salvation, and His bountiful blessings. This is
the joy that comes from experiencing God’s love (Jn 3:16), trusting in His plan for us (Jer 29:11), and responding to
His particular call to us as CFCfounded in 1981, re-founded in 1993, restored in 2007.
Jesus was there from
the very start in 1981. And at the very start of our restoration in 2007, there also was Mary.
in Lipa, to a Carmelite novice named Sr. Teresing, started in August 1948. 60 years ago. Fr Melvin Castro, our Eucharistic
celebrant, said that the devil was defeated in 1948, and that now, from this day on, the devil will be defeated through our
work in every part of the world, where Our Lady is.
It was a powerful affirmation of the spiritual warfare that we have always
been involved in, intensifying in the last few years, with its most intense period last year. With restoration, the devil’s
intent to destroy CFC has been thwarted. But the enemy does not give up. And today we are still deeply involved in spiritual
warfare. The devil will oppose God’s work and God’s people till the end of time.
But Jesus already
won victory on the cross. And our Blessed Mother too is victorious over the devil’s works.
How do we now
respond to this situation of continuing intense spiritual warfare? Let
Mary show us the way.
First, Mary was not afraid. She was greatly troubled at what the angel told her (Lk 1:29)
but the angel assured her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” (Lk 1:30). In the midst
of troubles in life, if we place ourselves securely in God’s embrace by walking His path for us, then, knowing His great
love and great plan for us, we need never be afraid. No matter what happens.
Second, Mary embraced the cross.
We know that there will be problems, challenges and pain in life. We are called not only to be unafraid of these, but in fact
to face them boldly and joyfully. Mary was told by Simeon that she would be pierced by a sword (Lk 2:35). This was the price
of walking with Jesus. So too with us. The sage Jesus, son of Eleazar, tells us, “My son, when you come to serve the
Lord, prepare yourself for trials.” (Sir 2:1). If we want to be disciples
of Jesus, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow him (Lk 9:23). All the way to the cross.
do not forget (never forget) that we are into spiritual warfare. So the enemy will continue to oppress us. “It is necessary
for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22). We can be subjected to persecution, even
from our own brethren. But even this will be cause for blessings and great joy. Jesus himself pronounced the beatitude: “Blessed
are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they
insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your
reward will be great in heaven.” (Mt 5:10-12).
Just like Mary, who gave birth to Jesus and stood at the
foot of the cross until his death, we too must go all the way to the
cross. Pain and suffering are salvific. They purify us. They humble us.
They pave the way for us to experience victory. For us, just like Jesus and Mary, the cross is the only way.
Mary experienced victory in and through the Holy Spirit. We have been entrusted with God’s work. How is this possible? We are weak and
sinful. Mary also asked, “How can this be” (Lk 1:34)? The angel replied, “The holy Spirit will come upon
you” (Lk 1:35a). It is possible because it is God’s work, we are just instruments, and it is the Holy Spirit who
anoints and empowers us. Though we are nothing, nothing is impossible with God (Lk 1:37). In fact, God delights in using nobodies like us. Mary
herself was lowly, but all ages would call her blessed, for the Mighty One did great things for her (Lk 1:48-49).
in CFC-FFL are an evangelistic and missionary community. We, as with all Christians, have been entrusted with that wonderful
gift of salvation won on the cross by Jesus. We have been commissioned to bring that good news of salvation to the whole world.
This is our privilege. This is our responsibility.
Is it possible for God to use us in the power of His Spirit?
Can we become families in the Holy Spirit that will be God’s instruments for renewing the face of the earth? Jesus has
said so, and we just need to believe and accept.
So fourth, Mary believed and so was blessed. Elizabeth told
her: “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Lk 1:45). Faith
is the key. Faith unlocks God’s power. With faith, God can move mountains through us (Mt 17:20). But we need to be faithful.
To God’s call to us. To our covenant with God. To our life and mission in CFC-FFL. We need to walk in the way of Jesus
and grow in holiness. And we need to be committed servants whom the Lord can use as He wills.
In the midst of
spiritual warfare, we rejoice. Precisely because spiritual warfare is a consequence of our walking in the way of Christ and
doing his work, all the more we rejoice.
Brothers and sisters, our joy is in Christ. But it is more than that.
It is actually about the Father’s joy in us. Our theme of joy for this year comes from the book of the prophet Zephaniah.
And here we see that it is our God who rejoices over us (Zep 3:17). God rejoices in our restoration. God rejoices in having
His holy remnant. God renews us in His love.
And God gives us His promises through Zephaniah. “I will remove
disaster from among you, so that none may recount your disgrace. Yes, at that time I will deal with all who oppress you …..
and at that time I will gather you: For I will give you renown and praise, among all the peoples of the earth, when I bring
about your restoration before your very eyes, says the Lord.” (Zep 3:18-20).
Now that is great cause for
rejoicing. The angel
Gabriel said to Mary: “you have found favor with God.” (Lk 1:30). “Hail, favored one! The Lord is
with you.” (Lk 1:28). With our restoration, I believe we have once again found favor with God. And with our consecration,
we have found favor with Mary.
Let then our response be, just like Mary: “my spirit rejoices in God my
savior” (Lk 1:47).
Exultant joy. Let this be at the core of our very being, now and forever.
bless us all.
Your servant in Jesus and Mary,
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