THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF OUR CONSECRATION TO MARY
August 10, 2008
dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
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 CFC—founded
in 1981, re-founded in 1993, restored in 2007.
was there from the very start in 1981. And at the very start
of our restoration in 2007, there also was Mary.
apparitions 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.
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.
Jesus already won victory on the cross. And our Blessed
Mother too is victorious over the devil’s works.
do we now respond to this situation of continuing intense
spiritual warfare? Let Mary show us the way.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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).
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.
then our response be, just like Mary: “my spirit rejoices
in God my savior” (Lk 1:47).
joy. Let this be at the core of our very being, now and
bless us all.
servant in Jesus and Mary,