FROM THE SERVANT GENERALOne reads the book of Job and is struck by the great affliction
that befell Job. For us in CFC-FFL, having experienced severe lamentations in 2007, with our theme for that year coming from
the book of Lamentations, one might feel threatened by our theme
book for this year. Our continuing talk of suffering may cause one to truly be afraid. What is in store for us this year?
WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
WHO IS AFRAID OF JOB?
is in store for us? Blessings! “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according
to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28). There are two conditions for all things to work for our good. One, that we love God. Indeed
we do, even if we still have to learn what it means to truly love God with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength. Two,
that we are called according to His purpose. God indeed raised CFC in 1981 to use us as His instruments for the work of His
kingdom on earth. God blessed us for so many years. In 2007, God restored us to our authentic charism. So we can say that
indeed we are where He wants us, called according to His purpose.
“What then shall we say to this? If God is
for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31). Well, for starters, there is Satan. He is violently opposed to our work.
Then there is a world that is steeped in sin and darkness. Those in the world will oppose those who will convict them of their
ungodly ways. Our pro-life work, for one, will bring us into the focused gunsights of many evil forces. Then there are even
those so-called Christians who are the enemy within.
So many will be against us. It comes with the territory. But what
Paul is saying is that if we have God on our side, then there is nothing to be afraid of. God has already proven His great
love for us and His commitment to our redemption. He will see His work to completion. “He who did not spare his own
Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?” (Rom 8:32).
then is the difference. One can have cause for fear, but one must not be afraid. One can have the reaction of fear, which
is a God-given and therefore good emotion, but one must not have the response of being afraid. With Jesus by our side, we
have nothing to fear. God is more powerful than Satan. And God is committed to our well-being.
Looking at another situation
might help. When a loved one dies, we grieve. That is proper. But in spite of the loss, we can rejoice, as our loved one will
be beyond pain or tears, and can now enter into his eternal reward.
So grief and fear come because of the world we
live in. But joy and not being afraid come because of the Lord we believe in.
Be not afraid!
us for 2010 with our theme for 2009. We are to trust in Jesus.
It is interesting that we look on the opposite of fear
as courage. We try to encourage one who is afraid. But where does such courage come from? Or on whom is such courage based?
It is God. Here is what David says: “Though an army encamp against me, my heart does not fear; though war be waged against
me, even then do I trust.” (Ps 27:3). The opposite of fear is not courage; the opposite of fear is trust.
is also interesting when we compare what happened to Job and what David said in the psalm. The second test of Job was a severe
physical affliction. His situation was such that even his wife told him to curse God and die. In turn, here is what David
said: “When evildoers come at me to devour my flesh” (Ps 27:2a). Still he was not afraid. Why? Because he knew
the kind of God who loved him. Thus he confidently averred: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom do I fear?
The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom am I afraid?” (Ps 27:1).
Now this is why we focus first of
all on God the Almighty. He is the reason why we need not be afraid. And we know that He is a just and righteous God. If we
do what we are supposed to do, if we become what we are supposed to become, then God the Almighty is there for us.
keep focused on Christ. We see the Savior and Lord who will bring us to our eternal reward. “One thing I ask of the
Lord; this I seek: to dwell in the Lord’s house all the days of my life, to gaze on the Lord’s beauty, to visit
his temple.” (Ps 27:4).
We trust in and rely on the Holy Spirit.
We look to His guidance, anointing and empowerment, especially in times of difficulty and challenge. “For God will hide
me in his shelter in time of trouble, will conceal me in the cover of his tent; and set me high upon a rock.” (Ps 27:5).
We worship the Father with great joy. The
Father protects and blesses His children. “Even now my head is held high above my enemies on very side!
I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and chant praise to the Lord.” (Ps 27:6).
else is there to say? Be not afraid.
(January 20, 2010)
FROM THE SERVANT GENERALJanuary
WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
FROM TRUST TO AWE
A verse in the psalm reading for today says, “Many shall look on in awe and they shall trust in
the Lord.” (Ps 40:4b). This signals the transition of our theme for last year 2009 to our theme this year 2010. From
“Trust in Jesus” to “The Almighty! Just and Righteous is He.”
But first, let me say that our
themes for the year point us to a particular emphasis or virtue that the Lord wants us to grow in for that year. After that
year, the virtue should have become a part of us, and is to be lived out every year thereafter.
After the first
25 years and entering into the period of crisis where CFC-FFL would emerge, we have looked at various virtues -- hope for
2007, joy for 2008, and trust for 2009. These virtues were important not only to see us through the crisis but also to prepare
us for the continuing transformation that God is accomplishing in our lives.
We needed hope because of the intense
crisis and split that happened in 2007, where we experienced the lamentations of Israel, almost practically losing everything,
but looked to hope in the God of our covenant. Indeed, with the split, the seeds of restoration were already planted. With
the authentic CFC restored in the remnant that was CFC-FFL, our hearts were filled with joy in 2008. Or should I say, God
rejoiced in us, since His people and His work would once again be in accordance with His eternal plan for CFC. Then, with
continuing attacks against us and our work, God impressed upon us the importance of trust in Him, that He had a wonderful
plan for us and would see His work to completion. We continued to look to the divine
mercy of Jesus, for ourselves as well as for the whole world.
Now, in 2010, we look to the awesome majesty of God, and our proper posture of awe and humility. God will bring
us deeper into a relationship with Him, and in this process we look to redemptive
suffering. Job and Jesus show us the way. As God continues to purify us, oftentimes through affliction, we simply look
to the reality that He is just and righteous. And of course, the hope, joy and trust that He has already implanted in our
hearts would be crucial for us to endure and persevere.
We trust in Jesus as we are in awe of God. This addresses
two opposing postures that Christians find themselves in at times.
On the one hand, the Creator-God is awesome and
majestic and we are mere humans with our weak flesh. He is all powerful and apart from Him we are nothing. So we just look
to God as someone to be feared, and our obedience becomes legalistic. On the other hand, we look to Jesus who became one like
us (except in sin) and who accepts us as his friends. He is our brother who will do anything for us. We just need to ask the
Father in his name and our prayer will be granted. And so we look to God as that nice loving person who always accepts us
and who would never condemn anyone to eternal fire.
You can see that there is a lot of truth to both postures above,
but each posture brings its own dangers. We can end up cringing in fear of this awesome
God, or we can be so casual and familiar in our relationship with Him that we oftentimes will take Him for granted,
to be called on only in times of trouble. On the one hand God is so far away and seemingly inaccessible, while on the other
hand He is so near and so accessible that we are no longer in awe of Him.
Such is the mystery of God. So far and yet so near. To be feared as an awesome God yet to be loved and drawn near to as a loving brother. To be obeyed
but with a yoke that is easy and light. The One who is the eternal unseen but who was seen walking the earth among men.
himself is King and Lord of all, but came not to be served but to serve. He is Master but a suffering servant. We owe him
our very lives, but it was he who offered his life for our sakes.
And so we trust in Jesus, even as we are in awe of
The story of Job presents us with many questions and challenges. Why is there suffering in the
world if God is loving and in control? Why are the good afflicted while the bad thrive? How does the justice and righteousness of God align with the great injustice and unrighteousness
in the world? Why does God allow Satan to afflict His faithful people?
Our theme for this year coming from the book of Job is very challenging but at the same time exciting. Our reflections
should yield a greater understanding of the mystery that is God. Our relationship
with God should deepen, where we, like Job, can really begin to “see” God.
of God’s remnant continues. God desires to bring us to greater holiness and greater work for His kingdom. In this, God
challenges us to understand the purpose of affliction and suffering in the world. After all, this is theway of the cross and the only way of discipleship.
How awesome is God! How awesome
is His great love for us! How awesome is the privilege He affords us in His work of salvation in the world.
in hope, as we continue to fully trust in Him.
 See Isaiah 55:8-9.
FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
TAKING ON THE MIND OF JESUS
People in the world
are lost. They are like sheep without a shepherd (v.34a), seemingly with no one guiding them and caring for them. Into such
a situation, Jesus comes together with his disciples. He intends to care for the people, and involve his disciples in doing
so. So Jesus began to teach the vast crowd many things (v.34b).
In this gospel passage, Jesus is also teaching
us some important basic mindsets that we need to have, if we are to participate in caring for the flock. We need to overcome
our human way of thinking so that we can put on God’s mind.
First, we see Jesus teaching the people. He
was giving spiritual and pastoral care. But what were the disciples
concerned about? Material food! Now yes it was already very late and they were in a deserted place with no food (v.35). So
it was reasonable for the disciples to be concerned about the need of the people. Very commendable. Very thoughtful of them.
that is not how Jesus thinks! Once when his disciples begged him to eat, he said, “My food is to do the will of him
who sent me, and to accomplish his work.” (Jn 4:34). When the opportunity is there, nothing should stand in the way
of proclaiming the gospel and teaching the people. Certainly not physical hunger. Satisfying the hunger of the soul is of
far greater importance than satisfying the hunger of the body.
Jesus of course is compassionate. He in fact offered
his very life for us. So there is no question about his concern for our needs, both physical and spiritual. But there are
times when we think we know more than he does, as to what is appropriate in a particular time or situation. We might think
it is lacking in compassion to allow people to go hungry (even just for a while), when it is precisely true compassion to
want to feed the soul rather than just the body!
Second, Jesus gives instructions to his disciples, “Give
them some food yourselves.” (v.37a). As his instruments, we will hear these instructions many times. God works
through us. Jesus formed his group of disciples precisely to be able to pass on the work to them. At some point, we simply
need to be the ones out there working in the name of Jesus.
the disciples looked to what they had, and decided they did not have the resources to accomplish what Jesus wanted done (v.37b).
Isn’t that so much like us?!
We need to
know that Jesus will not tell us to do something that we, under his anointing and the empowerment of the Spirit, cannot do!
It may seem that we cannot do it, and that is very natural, because we who are weak human flesh are being tasked to do the
very work of God. But that is what happens when we think with our human minds and look to our human resources. We balk, and
we end up not doing what God wants.
- We do not have enough workers.
- We do not have enough money.
challenges are too formidable.
- The work is beyond our capability.
- That is not possible.
This brings us to the third point. We do fall short, on our own we will fail,
but if we truly do God’s work according to the direction of Jesus, then the Holy
Spirit will empower us. And we know God can work miracles. Nothing is impossible for Him. And Jesus already said
that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, then nothing will
be impossible for us! (Mt 17:20). Why? Because we are doing God’s work. Because we are mere instruments.
problem is when the instruments think they know better than the Master.
What needs to happen is for us to just offer
to God what we have, however small or inadequate this might be. The disciples brought five
loaves and two fish to Jesus (v.38), and he performed a miracle. With this small resource, he fed five thousand
men (v.44), and many more women and children with them.
How do we take on the very mind of Jesus? “And
taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples
to set before the people” (v.41). Jesus did four things that we need to be mindful of.
First we need to look
to heaven. We look to the One whose work we are doing, so we will have the proper perspective. When we look at ourselves we
see all the reasons why we would fail. When we look to God in faith, knowing that He is the all-powerful Almighty, then we
can just confidently present ourselves as willing instruments.
Second, as we are the instruments by which God feeds
His people, we need to be blessed. Both offering (bread and fish) and offerors (disciples) need to be blessed. We do holy
work. We need to be purified. We need to be growing in holiness. While God can make use of any willing instrument, even the
sinner that we all are, He can make greater use of purer and nobler vessels (2 Tim 2:20-21).
Third, we need to be broken.
We need to be humbled. Oftentimes this comes through affliction. Being laid low enables God to raise us up. This is the very
way of Jesus (Phil 2:5-11). This is the way of the cross. This is
the way of redemptive suffering.
Finally, we and what we
have to offer are given out and set before the people. When we have been prepared, we go out to where the needy people are.
God uses us to satisfy the hunger their hearts and souls.
And that indeed is what will happen. As we take on
the very mind of Jesus. As we look to our Master in heaven. As we are blessed and broken and given away, people will all eat
and be satisfied (v.42). And guess what? There will be so much more food left over (v.43). Our talents, gifts and resources
will be multiplied! We will have more than enough. What used to be meager and lacking will become much and overflowing.
has many followers. There are many who are willing to become his disciples. And indeed they are very much needed, because
God has already decided to work through human instruments. But God can only truly use them if they take on the mind of Jesus.
The book of Job teaches us that God the Almighty is someone way over us and
beyond our capability to fully understand. This then is the challenge. Can we think like Christ? By God’s grace, and
our humble acceptance of Him in our lives, we can.
May we, like Paul, be able to say: “‘For who has known
the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor 2:16).
FROM THE SERVANT GENERALOur theme for 2010 comes from a very challenging book, Job. Our theme brings us to grapple with the mystery of God as Almighty, with our nothingness apart from Him, and with redemptive suffering. This is so very different from and in direct contrast with where much of the
world is going -- living lives apart from God, looking to self for “redemption” and well-being, disdaining weakness,
discomfort and pain.
WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
THE IMPORTANCE OF JOB
The book of Job brings us
to the basics of the authentic gospel. And only in the authentic gospel can the world truly find peace.
asked, “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
(Lk 18:8b). Today there is a lot of faith, and I believe when Jesus returns there will still be a lot of faith. But what kind
of faith would it be?
If we talk of authentic faith, I believe that those who genuinely seek the kingdom
of God will only be a “little flock” (Lk12:32).
- Will it be faith found in sects and cults?
- Will it be the faith of the liberal Christian churches?
- Will it be faith that comes from accepting and
exulting in the gospel of prosperity?
- Will it be nominal faith, going through the motions but not really living in
- Will it be the faith that does proclaim Christ but at the same time have many other material idols in life?
It is in this that learning and living out the lessons of Job will be crucial.
All these point to the means by which God redeems us,
enabling us to be part of this little flock of authentic faith. Such means are affliction and the suffering this brings.
- We need to be in
awe of God the Almighty. If we lose this reverential fear, then we begin to live our own lives apart from Him.
need to see our own nothingness apart from Him. If not, we become proud with our accomplishments and begin to rely on our
own wisdom and strength.
- We need to see the reality of spiritual warfare. Satan
is at work, opposing and trying to destroy what is of God.
is why in the mystery of God and in the mystery of our relationship with Him, we are called to simply trust in Him, because
He is just and righteous.
- Affliction, especially when severe such as what happened to Job, humbles us. It puts us in the right place in relation to
God. Only when we are humbled can God raise us up.
- The way of salvation is the way
of the cross. This is the path God chose. It is a mysterious path. But it is the only way for us to have redemption.
This is why Jesus defines discipleship as denying ourselves and taking up our cross. Only then can we truly follow him.
is redemptive. Again, the cross was God’s chosen instrument of salvation. Suffering purifies and brings us into a more
intimate relationship with God.
- Suffering deepens our faith in God the Almighty.
This year God wants to build us as His people, according to His ways and not ours. This year
and henceforth, God wants to use us as His effective instruments. God can only do these if we are properly formed in holiness.
We look to Jesus of course. We look to Paul and the many saints. But this year, we also look to Job.
Actually, if we were not so focused on our own ways and our own interpretation of the authentic gospel, we would already have
seen the many lessons of Job in the life and teachings of Jesus and
Paul. The similarities between Jesus and Job are striking.
As we start this new year 2010, as we enter more deeply into our theme for this year, let us learn the lessons of Job.These will be enduring lessons, not just for this year, but until Jesus returns again.
When that time comes, may we,
and the many we are able to evangelize, be found among the little flock.
(January 1, 2010)
 “Little” is a comparative term. The flock can still be millions, but compared to the billions of people
in the world, a few millions would be little.
 Affliction comes in many ways. Many times it comes by means of the forces of nature -- floods, earthquakes, tsunamis.
Aside from humbling us, such natural calamities point us to the God who is all-powerful Creator, the Almighty. We realize
our total dependence on God.
 I will deal with this in a future paper.
 You should read and re-read the Lessons of Job (including the series on “Our theme for 2010”), that I put
out. You should reflect deeply on them. You should grapple with the hard teachings. You should not ignore or just brush aside
what you find uncomfortable.
 Among many other individuals, groups and associations of course.
FROM THE SERVANT GENERALJanuary 1, 2010
WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
THE NEW YEAR THAT HAS COME
The first day of the new year
has gone, 2010 is upon us.
This year we have another opportunity to do God’s will, to be His instruments
of renewal. This year we again look to living out our calling, that of being an evangelistic and missionary community, proclaiming
Christ to the world.
This is in accordance with God’s eternal plan.
According to God’s plan, He sent His Son Jesus into the world. The angel
of the Lord told Mary that the son she will bear is to be named “Jesus, because he will save his people
from their sins.” (Mt 1:21). Jesus was “the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.”
(Lk 2:21). In like manner, according to the eternal plan of God for proclaiming His Son to the world, He raised CFC.
When Jesus was born, the shepherds came and “made known the message that had been told them about this
child.” (Lk 2:17). What was that message? The angel had told them that “a savior has been born for you who is
Messiah and Lord.” (Lk 2:11). This is the very same message that we as CFC-FFL have been commissioned by Jesus to do.
The good news we proclaim is Jesus as Savior, Messiah and Lord.
This is amazing good news! It is the news that truly matters. It is life-saving and life-changing news. It is news that we
cannot keep to ourselves. We must proclaim Christ! When the shepherds made known the message, “all who heard it were
amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds.” (Lk 2:18). Now we are called to proclaim that same message to the
whole world. May all the peoples be as amazed as we were when we ourselves were evangelized.
We continue to look to Mary as our model, as she “kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” (Lk
2:19). On this very first day of the new year, let us shake off the revelries of last night and reflect upon our calling,
our charism, our mission, our reason for being. And let us act!
When we do God’s will, then we will be blessed. Last year
we were abundantly blessed by God. This year we continue to look to God’s blessings. “God, our God, blesses us.
May God bless us still” (Ps 67:7b-8a).
Why can we confidently look to God’s blessings? First, because we
have been redeemed by Jesus from our slavery to sin and have been restored to our relationship with God as His children. “So
you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.” (Gal 4:7). A Father simply wants
what is best for His children.
Second, so that we can effectively become the instruments that God can use. Our
basic call is evangelization. In this work we need encouragement, perseverance, zeal, as well as the practical aspects of
money, stable family life, commitment from the brethren, support from the hierarchy, etc. In other words, we need the grace
of the Holy Spirit, who guides us and accompanies us on our mission. Because we are children of God, we are confident that He anoints us with His Spirit in order
to carry on His work. “As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying out,
‘Abba, Father!’” (Gal 4:6).
And so we confidently look to God’s blessings this year, in order that He can accomplish His will in us. So
we pray: “May God bless us still; that the ends of the earth may revere our God.” (Ps 67:8).
Indeed our most basic foundation is prayer. This is the very first aspect of our covenant. It is
fundamental to ourrelationship with Jesus and to tapping on to the power of the Holy Spirit. If we are to evangelize, we need God’s grace,
guidance and anointing. I have already repeatedly spoken about our response of worship and evangelization. The two go together.
so we continue to pray.
- For ourselves, that we may be the effective witnesses to Christ: “May God be gracious
to us and bless us; may God’s face shine upon us.” (Ps 67:2).
- For others whom we seek to evangelize throughout
the world, to bring them into a personal relationship with Jesus the Savior.
“So shall your rule be known upon the earth, your saving power among all the nations.” (Ps 67:3).
all people, that they may know the one true God and give Him the worship that is His due. “May the peoples praise you,
God; may all the peoples praise you!” (Ps 67:4).
- For the whole world, that the peoples and nations will know
God, submit to His lordship, and thus be guided by Him. Only in this way can they experience the peace and joy that they desperately
seek and need. “May the nations be glad and shout for joy; for you govern the peoples justly, you guide the nations
upon the earth.” (Ps 67:5).
As we start this new year, we turn to God in prayer, asking for His blessings
upon us. God told Moses to tell Aaron how to bless His people, the Israelites. “So shall they invoke my name upon the
Israelites, and I will bless them.” (Num 6:27).
We are God’s people. God raised us according to His eternal
plan, used us, chastised us, purified us, and now continues to send us forth as His instruments to proclaim Jesus to the world.
This is the very work of God. This is crucial work that needs the anointing and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. This is the great privilege that God has extended to us, in calling us to be His
evangelizers and missionaries.
And so we invoke God’s name upon us and upon our work.
I bless you in the name of God.
“The Lord bless you and keep
The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!
The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!”
Have a happy new year! And make it happy for many others as well.
 As we have grown in the Lord, our amazement continues.
 Let us hit the ground running in this new year.
 We look to blessings not just as rewards but as necessary for us to effectively do our work.
FROM THE SERVANT GENERALDecember 31, 2009
THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
THE YEAR THAT WAS
My dear brothers and sisters
2009 was another eventful and fruitful year in the life and mission of CFC-FFL. Our work continues
to grow. Following are some significant highlights.
CFC-FFL was established in 4 new dioceses in the Philippines, making a total of 41 dioceses. Our work was
also started in 5 new countries, making a total of 65 countries.
This year CFC-FFL was given official recognition as a National Private Association
of the Lay Faithful, by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines,
through its Episcopal Commission on the Laity.
True to our calling of renewing the family and defending life, we participated in two major international Church events. My
wife Gerry and myself, together with Edwin & Nila Andrews, participated in the 6th World Meeting of Families held on January 14-18 in Santa Fe, Mexico. In attendance were 9,000 delegates, including 20 cardinals
and 200 bishops. Then we, together with over 100 of our USA brethren, participated in the 36th March for Life on January 22 in Washington DC, USA.
There were 30,000 participants, including 50 bishops, 400 priests and 500 seminarians.
True to our core value of being a servant to the Church, aside from our brethren becoming very active in their respective
parishes, we served in the 9th FABC Plenary held in August in Manila. We are active in the Episcopal
Commission on Youth. We have given assistance to various chaplaincies.
We have been privileged to be intimately
connected to the work of the Holy See. Our Spiritual Director for Young Ministries, Archbp Socrates Villegas, was appointed
to the Pontifical Council for the Family. Our Asst Spiritual Director, FrFrancis Gustilo SDB, was appointed to the International
Theological Commission of the Vatican. My wife and I were re-appointed as members of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
Our Pro-Life work has moved ahead. We are involved in
a coalition of the major pro-life groups in the Philippines. We have active collaboration with international pro-life organizations
such as Human Life International and Priests for Life.
The work of our Social Ministries moves ahead. We have our Restoration
Villages and Mission Villages, and are collaborating with Habitat for Humanity. We have our education ministry, doing work
in public and private schools, in parishes and in our communities among the poor. We have our prison ministry doing work in
various prisons, most notably in the Maximum Security Compound of the National Bilibid Prison with 1,000 prisoner-members.
CFC-FFL has 116 full-time workers in 14 countries, including 11 missionaries -- 5 in Latin America, 2 in Indochina, 2 in Malawi and 2 in Europe.
We have been busy, and the Lord has blessed us. We continue to move strongly
forward in our evangelization. We are achieving our calling to renew the family and to defend life.
I thank all you
my brethren for giving of yourselves in serving Christ and God’s people. Our work has not been achieved without sacrifice
and pain. To the many who simply do their work without fanfare and even without recognition, I praise God for you.
work continues, as we look forward to another year of serving God.
May you all join me in giving thanks to God
for His faithfulness, for blessing our families and our community, and for giving us the privilege to serve. We thank our
blessed Mother Mary, to whom CFC-FFL has been consecrated, for keeping
us in her loving embrace. With full trust in Jesus, we look forward to another year.
I wish you all a very happy new
year. God bless you always.
Your brother and co-worker in Christ,
* * *
P.S. It might surprise you that this
paper is Part 24 of The Way Forward in Christ. Actually I
just reclassified some previous articles and consolidated them into this folder. Our website will later show all the articles
contained in this folder.
 San Fernando (Pampanga), Iba (Zambales), Legaspi (Albay) and Ozamiz (Misamis Occidental).
 Monaco, United Kingdom, Papua
New Guinea, Saudi Arabia and Czech Republic.
 International Moderator of Matrimonios para Cristo-Fundacion para la Familia y la Vida (MPC-FFV), the Hispanic
counterpart of CFC-FFL.
 Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences.
 Argentina, Austria, Cambodia, Canada, Costa
Rica, Ecuador, Ghana,
India, Malawi, Peru, Philippines, Thailand,
FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
RECONCILIATION AND REUNIFICATION?
LOOKING AT CARITAS IN VERITATE
November 24, 2009
Now that CFC-IC has let go of GK, people ask: can the two CFCs now get back together?
First, it has to be clarified if indeed
CFC-IC and GK have split. Both sides claim that they have not and in fact that they will intensify collaboration.
the crisis and split were not all about the veering away of GK. Perhaps the even greater factor that caused the split was
the unchristian actions of the IC.
Thirdly, I have always maintained that we are open to reconciliation and even reunification,
if that is what the Lord wills. But if it is to be of the Lord, then it has to be based on truth and justice.
this regard, let us look to Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical, Caritas
in Veritate, to give us proper wisdom and guidance.
This encyclical, issued in June 2009, is on integral human
development in charity and truth. The introduction gives general principles, and these can help us in seeing the whole question
of reconciliation or reunification more clearly.
It would be a triumph of Christian love if the two CFCs reunited.
However, as Pope Benedict XVI says, such love must be based on, and is inseparable from, truth and justice.
The pope clearly links charity to truth.
- “Hence the need to link charity with
truth not only in the sequence, pointed out by Saint Paul, of veritas in caritate (Eph 4:15), but also in
the inverse and complementary sequence of caritas in veritate. Truth needs to be sought, found and expressed within
the “economy” of charity, but charity in its turn needs to be understood, confirmed and practised in the light
of truth.” (#2)
- “Only in truth does charity shine forth, only in truth can charity be authentically
lived. Truth is the light that gives meaning and value to charity. .... Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality.”
- “Truth, in fact, is logos which creates dia-logos, and hence communication
and communion.” (#4)
But the CFC-IC has often not told the truth.
If there is to be reconciliation
or reunification, there should be first of all a recognition of what is true. The pope stresses: “To defend the truth,
to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable
forms of charity. Charity, in fact, ‘rejoices in the truth’ (1 Cor 13:6).” (#1)
- The IC claimed it had 7
pillars after the split. But it knew nothing about the 7th pillar, the Special Ministries, and even today has nothing on this
- The IC claimed it was in 160 countries after the split, and even now claims it is in 161 countries
after adding a new country. But in truth it is probably in only 60-70 countries. There are many claimed countries where CFC-IC
is not present, such as, to name just a few: Cameroon, Namibia, the 20 countries of Latin America except for one,Slovenia, Russia, etc.
- The IC
misrepresented the statements of the CFC Spiritual Director, Bp Gabriel Reyes, more than
- The IC claims CFC-FFL is recognized only by the bishop of Antipolo, even when it was already present in over
30 dioceses in the Philippines. The official recognition of CFC-FFL by the CBCP finally puts an end to this lie.
IC claims their CFC is the legal CFC, even suing CFC-FFL in court over the name. They ignore the reality that CFC-FFL’s
corporation, CFCFI, was established in 1984, while their corporation, CFCGMFI, was established only 9 years later, in 1993.
If anyone is to sue anyone over the name, it should be we who should sue them.
- The IC claims we left CFC. The truth
is we left the corporation of CFC (actually, because we were being kicked out), but we never left CFC, and in fact, we have
restored the authentic CFC, true to its charism and led by its founder.
- The IC made many false accusations against
us, especially against me, not the least of which is that I stole millions from CFC.
The pope further links charity to justice.
But the IC has been guilty of injustices.
- “Charity .... never lacks
justice, which prompts us to give the other what is ‘his’, what is due to him by reason of his being or his acting.”
- “If we love others with charity, then first of all we are just towards them. Not only is justice not extraneous
to charity, not only is it not an alternative or parallel path to charity: justice is inseparable from charity, and intrinsic
to it. Justice is the primary way of charity or, in Paul VI’s words, ‘the minimum measure’ of it”
- “charity demands justice: recognition and respect for the legitimate rights of individuals and peoples.”
If there is to be reconciliation or reunification,
there must first of all be justice.
- The IC has sued CFC-FFL in the Philippines, the USA and Canada
over the name “CFC.” This is despite the CBCP and many bishops in other countries officially recognizing us. Aside
from being unjust, this is scandalous, this is unbiblical, and this is a waste of God’s money (and their members’
- The IC has not paid the retirement benefits of over 20 full-time pastoral workers who resigned or retired
due to principle from CFC after the split.
- The IC has not returned the bridge funds that it borrowed from CFC members,
simply because these brethren are with CFC-FFL.
- The IC and GK have not completed many villages that have been fully
funded. One prime example is the Int’l GK Village. This is despite the appeal of the beneficiaries themselves. Is it
because they aligned with CFC-FFL? This is great injustice to the poor.
Again, I am open to reconciliation
and reunification. But it has to be based on truth and justice. This is true charity.
On the other hand, there is nothing
that hinders us from loving our brethren in CFC-IC-GK. In fact, this has been our posture from the time of the split.
As the pope says, “On the one hand, charity demands justice .... On the other hand,
charity transcends justice and completes it in the logic of giving and forgiving.” (#6)
though they veered away while we restored the authentic charism and call of CFC, we still look on them as CFC.
though legally we have prior right to the name CFC, we do not try to deprive them of the use of the name.
- Even though
they have maligned us and considered us as enemies, we have not retaliated in kind and have offered our hands in friendship
I have forgiven
my brethren in the IC, even though there has been no repentance or asking for forgiveness. I hold no rancor in my heart.
if we are to be truly reconciled, this should be based on truth and justice.
Further, insistence on truth and justice
is for the good of our brethren in CFC-IC-GK. We should desire that they not remain in untruth and injustice. As the pope
says, “To love someone is to desire that person’s good and to take effective steps to secure it.” (#7).
pray for the Lord’s blessings upon both CFCs.
THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
January 28, 2009
One and a half
years after the restoration of CFC (from July 2007), on its third year (2007, 2008, 2009), CFC-FFL is well underway in pursuing
its clear vision and mission. We are called to renew the family and to defend life. This is within the context of our overall
mission of evangelization, with emphasis this year on God’s divine mercy.
This was impressed upon me as I and
my wife Gerry were privileged to attend and participate in 3 significant events in this first month of the new year. First
we went to Mexico for the 6th World Meeting of Families. Then we participated in the 36th March for Life in Washington DC,
USA. Finally we made a pilgrimage to the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, USA.
World Meeting of Families
This is the major event of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family, of which
Gerry and I are members. It is mounted once every 3 years. In 2003 it was in Manila, while in 2006 it was in Valencia, Spain.
There was a 3-day Theological-Pastoral Congress, where there were 9,000 delegates from 96 countries, including 20 cardinals,
200 archbishops and bishops, many clergy and religious, and of course lay people. This was followed by a festive meeting of
families with 20,000 people, and a Eucharistic celebration on the last day. Normally the pope attends these last 2 days. However,
for health reasons, this time he did not go to Mexico (the altitude was a problem). He did have a videotaped message.
and I were privileged to present a paper on “Couples for Christ in the Renewal of the Family and the Defense of Life”
during the plenary. It was very well received. We also had the opportunity to interact with the Church hierarchy, among them
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State (representing the Holy Father), Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, President
of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and
The World Meeting of Families, with its plenary presentations, testimonies and other activities, highlighted
our thrust for the family.
36th March for Life
After making a pastoral visit to our CFC-FFL brethren in
Phoenix, Arizona, we were off to Washington DC, to participate in the 36th March for Life. The March for Life has been held
since 1973, when the infamous Roe v. Wade legalized abortion throughout the USA. Since that time 50 million unborn children
have been slaughtered through surgical abortions.
The event started with a Youth Rally and a Eucharistic celebration.
It was a sight to see, with the venue packed with 30,000 people, including about 50 bishops, 400 priests and 500 seminarians.
Then the march itself had 300,000 people, including the CFC-FFL contingent of 109 brethren. Our brethren were enthused, and
promised to participate in the marches every year in ever increasing numbers.
The March for Life highlighted our pro-life
thrust, our defense of the culture of life, our promotion of the gospel of life.
Divine Mercy shrine
Gerry and I were off to New Jersey, then to New York, to visit our CFC-FFL brethren there. But before these, we were able
to make a pilgrimage with some of our brethren to the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. It
was a blessed time, with very few people, with fresh snow on the ground, with the air cold but with a bright sun overhead.
were able to attend the Eucharistic celebration, pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and kiss the relic of Sr Faustina.
visit highlighted our new theme of Trust in Jesus for 2009, with the very important element of the Divine Mercy.
the right track
In the midst of attacks on marriage and the family, in the face of the holocaust of the unborn, under
the onslaught of anti-family and anti-life forces in the world, God continues to reach out to a world in darkness and sin.
And God precisely raised CFC in 1981 for this task. The enemy almost succeeded in destroying CFC in 2007, but God raised a
remnant, and has restored His creation to its authentic charism.
CFC-FFL continues to do its basic mission of evangelization,
within the context of the renewal of the family and the defense of life. The events this January have affirmed our calling
and work. We are on the right track.
Let us never veer away again. Let us move forward with the confidence that God
anoints us, Jesus is with us, and the Holy Spirit empowers us. Let us trust in Jesus and always look to God’s divine
Jesus, we trust in you!
God bless you all.
Your brother and servant,
FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
January 5, 2009
Today the gospel is Matthew 4:12-25. It is about the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. Jesus issued his
call to repentance, started forming his core group, and began moving around Galilee doing his work.
Bible passage brought me to a book I had written in 1998, “Witnesses to the Ends of the Earth.” I started that
book on May 16, 1997, while waiting at the airport for my flight to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. It was based on the mission
of Jesus as written in Matthew 4. That hour I wrote the whole basic outline. But I did not start writing the book itself until
December 16. I wrote on and off, and finally finished it on October 29, 1998.
the Ends of the Earth” is about Jesus’ mission, and also about the mission of CFC. Written ten years ago, it had
warned about CFC being at the crossroad, that there was real danger of losing its anointing. Here is the text on the back
“Today we are at the threshold of the third millennium.
And the people of God face a momentous challenge.
It has been 2,000 years of Christianity,
but the commission of the Lord Jesus Christ to bring the gospel to the whole world has not been accomplished. In fact, the
Church itself is being buffeted by dark winds and sinister forces, both from without and within. Spiritual warfare continues
to rage in the heavens and on earth. At stake are the billions of souls on the face of the earth.
In June of 1981, God raised up a new army to participate in the war. God raised up a movement to work for global
evangelization and renewal. That movement is Couples for Christ. Now, 17 years later, Couples for Christ has made and continues
to make a tremendous impact throughout the world.
But all is not well.
Now, towards the end
of the second millennium and at the threshold of the third, Couples for Christ has come to a crossroad. Its future usefulness
to God and his work is threatened. The dangers are very real, but the opportunities also continue to be tremendous and exciting.
Will the members of Couples for Christ give in to the ravaging attacks of the flesh, the world
and the devil, or will they continue to move on in the power of the Holy Spirit?
the zeal of Couples for Christ grown cold, or will it continue to blaze with the fire of God’s love?
Will the work of Couples for Christ end the millennium with a whimper or with a bang?
Will God discard Couples for Christ, or continue to use it mightily in accordance with his will?
more than ever, there is a great need for Christ’s witnesses to be sent to the ends of the earth. Will Couples for Christ
be counted among them? Will Couples for Christ be part of the victorious army of Jesus Christ, as history races into the third
millennium and closer to the end of time?”
did not truly heed the prophetic word of the Lord at that time. And so slowly but surely, the downward spiral continued. God
warned us again entering into 2007 with our theme of Lamentations. But again we were hard of heart (and hard of hearing) and
did not learn the lessons God wanted to teach us. In fact, some openly rebelled against the Lord, marginalizing Jesus in our
work with the poor, acting in unchristian ways against brethren, and attacking even the hierarchy of the Church.
had had enough. He then allowed the crisis to result in a split. He was going to start all over again. He raised a remnant,
the restored CFC faithful to its authentic calling, now CFC-FFL.
I had very high hopes
for this restored work. I had hoped that the painful split would truly teach us the lessons of Lamentations. And indeed there
are many hopeful signs. But the old flesh is still at work. There are still conflicts among top leaders, unfaithfulness to
our life together, a lack of passion for evangelization, and a general failure in growing in holiness.
Read the above text again. The prophetic word remains true even now.
So this is our third
chance, and possibly the last. If we do not shape up, then God can indeed discard CFC-FFL altogether.
I invite you to read “Witnesses to the Ends of the Earth” again, and to take up in your household meetings
the discussion topics given in the Guide at the back. But take up the topics yourself in your prayer time, just between Jesus
and you. If you did not read the book before, then that explains partially why we plunged into crisis in 2007. If you read
it but did not amend your life accordingly, then repent. If you read this invitation of mine but do not heed it, then may
God have mercy on us all.
This book explains God’s call to us—to be witnesses,
to repentance, to community, to discipleship, to evangelization, and to global ministry. It points the way to our personal
posture in Christ, the way of humility. It pinpoints the threats to our work—pride, unfaithfulness, lack of faith, selfishness,
weariness, preoccupation with other things, complacency, disunity, and a lack of growth in holiness.
are all the aspects of our life and mission that we need to continue to learn, and to live out accordingly. If our baptism
in the Spirit does not result in our becoming witnesses to Jesus, then we cannot be fully empowered to accomplish a worldwide
work of renewal.
God’s mission in the world is so important that we cannot just respond
casually, or halfheartedly, or grudgingly. We need to give it our all. We need to totally belong to Jesus, and to totally
commit ourselves to his mission. If we are but willing to do so, then God’s grace is sufficient to overcome all our
shortcomings and fears.
If we have not yet truly started on that path to total commitment to Christ
and his mission, then let us start now.
God bless you all.
brother and servant,
FROM THE SERVANT GENERALJanuary 5, 2009
THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
Today the gospel is Matthew 4:12-25. It is about the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. Jesus issued his
call to repentance, started forming his core group, and began moving around Galilee doing his work.
This Bible passage brought
me to a book I had written in 1998, “Witnesses to the Ends of the Earth.” I started that book on May 16, 1997,
while waiting at the airport for my flight to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. It was based on the mission of Jesus as written
in Matthew 4. That hour I wrote the whole basic outline. But I did not start writing the book itself until December 16. I
wrote on and off, and finally finished it on October 29, 1998.
“Witnesses to the Ends of the Earth” is about Jesus’ mission, and also about the mission of CFC.
Written ten years ago, it had warned about CFC being at the crossroad, that there was real danger of losing its anointing.
Here is the text on the back cover.
did not truly heed the prophetic word of the Lord at that time. And so slowly but surely,
the downward spiral continued. God warned us again entering into 2007 with our theme of Lamentations. But again we were hard
of heart (and hard of hearing) and did not learn the lessons God wanted to teach us. In fact, some openly rebelled against
the Lord, marginalizing Jesus in our work with the poor, acting in unchristian ways against brethren, and attacking even the hierarchy of the Church.
- “Today we are at the threshold of the third millennium. And the people of God face
a momentous challenge.
- It has been 2,000 years of Christianity, but the commission of the Lord Jesus Christ to
bring the gospel to the whole world has not been accomplished. In fact, the Church itself is being buffeted by dark winds
and sinister forces, both from without and within. Spiritual warfare continues to rage in the heavens and on earth. At stake are the billions of souls
on the face of the earth.
- In June of 1981, God raised up a new army to participate in the
war. God raised up a movement to work for global evangelization and renewal. That movement is Couples for Christ. Now,
17 years later, Couples for Christ has made and continues to make a tremendous
impact throughout the world.
- But all is not well.
- Now, towards the end of the second millennium
and at the threshold of the third, Couples for Christ has come to a crossroad. Its future usefulness to God and his work is
threatened. The dangers are very real, but the opportunities also continue to be tremendous and exciting.
- * Will the members of Couples for Christ give in to the ravaging
attacks of the flesh, the world and the devil, or will they continue to move on in the power of the Holy Spirit?
- * Has the zeal of Couples for
Christ grown cold, or will it continue to blaze with the fire of God’s love?
- * Will the work of Couples for
Christ end the millennium with a whimper or with a bang?
- * Will God discard Couples for Christ, or continue
to use it mightily in accordance with his will?
- Now, more than ever, there is a great need for Christ’s witnesses to be sent to the ends of the
earth. Will Couples for Christ be counted among them? Will Couples for Christ be part of the victorious
army of Jesus Christ, as history races into the third millennium and closer to the end of time?”
had enough. He then allowed the crisis to result in a split. He was going to start all over again. He raised a remnant, the
restored CFC faithful to its authentic calling, now CFC-FFL.
I had very high hopes for this restored work. I had hoped that the painful split would truly teach us the lessons
of Lamentations. And indeed there are many hopeful signs. But the old flesh is still at work. There are still conflicts among
top leaders, unfaithfulness to our life together, a lack of passion for evangelization, and a general failure in growing in
Read the above text again. The prophetic word
remains true even now.
So this is our
third chance, and possibly the last. If we do not shape up, then God can indeed discard CFC-FFL altogether.
I invite you to read “Witnesses to the Ends of the Earth”
again, and to take up in your household meetings the discussion topics given in the Guide at the back. But take up the topics
yourself in your prayer time, just between Jesus and you. If you did not read the book before, then that explains partially
why we plunged into crisis in 2007. If you read it but did not amend your life accordingly, then repent. If you read this
invitation of mine but do not heed it, then may God have mercy on us all.
This book explains God’s call to us - to be witnesses, to repentance,
to community, to discipleship, to evangelization, and to global ministry. It points the way to our personal posture in Christ,
the way of humility. It pinpoints the threats to our work - pride, unfaithfulness, lack of faith, selfishness, weariness,
preoccupation with other things, complacency, disunity, and a lack of growth in holiness.
These are all the aspects of our life and mission that we need to continue to learn, and to
live out accordingly. If our baptism in the Spirit does not result in our becoming witnesses to Jesus, then we cannot be fully
empowered to accomplish a worldwide work of renewal.
God’s mission in the world is so important that we cannot just respond casually, or halfheartedly, or grudgingly.
We need to give it our all. We need to totally belong to Jesus, and to totally commit ourselves to his mission. If we are
but willing to do so, then God’s grace is sufficient to overcome all our shortcomings and fears.
If we have not yet truly started on that path to total commitment to
Christ and his mission, then let us start now.
God bless you all.
Your brother and servant,
Enter subhead content here