THE SERVANT GENERAL
FAMILY AND MARY
September 8, 2009
Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Our life and mission is all about evangelization and family
renewal. In this, our Mother Mary plays a very important part.
Our salvation was won for us by Jesus. But people experience
this salvation through the work of men (Rom 10:13-15). This
is the work of evangelization. In this work of salvation,
the family is crucial. As Pope John Paul II has said, “The
future of humanity passes by way of the family.”
Thus, according to the plan of God, salvation is linked with
the family. And, as we shall see, both salvation and family
are linked with Mary.
family and Mary
First, salvation is the work of a Savior. The Savior is Jesus.
But how did Jesus come into the world, to be able to do his
work? He was born of Mary! The Savior of the world spent nine
months in the womb of Mary! If it were up to us, once God
had decided on saving the world, it should have been done
with great urgency, as people were dying in their sins. But
God chose to have His Son in the womb of Mary. That says something
very important about motherhood and family, and the place
of Mary in salvation history.
Second, salvation is the work of the Trinity. The Father is
the Creator, and according to His eternal plan, He wanted
His creatures to be with Him eternally in paradise. But paradise
was lost. However, God’s plan does not change. He created
out of love, He desires us to still experience that love,
and so He sends His own Son out of love.
His Son Jesus then is the Redeemer. He is the one who wins
for us our salvation on the cross.
Now the Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier. He enables us to be
God’s instruments of bringing salvation to the whole
world. He is the one who grants us grace to be holy, so that
we can be effective witnesses. He is the one who builds us
up as Church, the very body of Christ on earth. He is the
one who sends, guides, anoints and empowers us for mission.
Now the Trinity is a family. There is the Father and there
is the Son. In turn, the Holy Spirit is the love that binds
Father and Son together. Without love, we would just be blood
relatives living in a common structure, but we would not have
a family and a home. Thus the Trinity is a family, with the
essential binding characteristic of love. The Trinity in fact
is our model for Christian family living.
But for us humans, when we consider the family, we need another
person, and that is the mother. That role belongs to Mary.
She is the mother of Jesus. She is also the daughter of the
Father and the spouse of the Spirit. Mary in relation to the
Trinity is unique in that she is spouse, mother and child
all at the same time. In effect, she reflects and manifests
what is family. Then the Trinity plus Mary make up the divine
Third, life in the family, according to God’s plan,
is the necessary preparation for evangelization.
We do not read much about Jesus in the Bible before his public
appearance. We have a record of his birth and then when he
was twelve years old and lost in the temple. From then, Jesus
spent his years in quiet obscurity together with his family,
before starting out on his public ministry.
As he grew older, he lived an ordinary family life (if anything
can be considered as ordinary for the Lord). He did his chores.
He learned the trade of a carpenter. He learned the scriptures
from his parents. He grew in godly virtues. He had human relationships.
He learned about proper priorities. Jesus was formed by God
through Joseph and Mary, and later, when Joseph had passed
away, the task remained with Mary.
Again, since God had already decided and had actually already
sent His Son to save us, we would have expected that Jesus
would be about his task right away, or at least when he attained
manhood. People continued to die in their sins, awaiting their
salvation. But no, Jesus did not start his public ministry
until he was 30 years old. Why? Again, God was stressing the
importance of the family, and the essential role of the family
in preparation for public ministry.
The family is where we are formed. The family is where parents
pass on the faith to their children. The family is the first
place where we meet Jesus. It is the school where we learn
Christian virtues, and grow in them. It is the place where
we become secure in God’s love, manifested in the love
of our parents, and become ready to bring that love to the
world. It is where we grapple with the challenges of our changing
circumstances in life, and learn how to cope in the Lord within
an environment of love. It is the place where we learn unilateral,
unconditional, self-sacrificial love.
Public ministry will greatly challenge us. It is our life
in the family and our Christian home that will prepare us.
Fourth, the work of salvation necessarily involves us in spiritual
warfare. The whole world is under the dominion of the evil
one, and Jesus has defeated this enemy through the cross.
When we evangelize, people can experience this salvation.
Thus we are assaulting the dominion of the enemy. Thus those
who evangelize are in the thick of the spiritual warfare that
rages in the heavens and on earth.
Now this spiritual warfare is a family affair. It involves
God. It involves Mary.
The Bible speaks about this spiritual warfare from the beginning
and at the end. In the beginning, the devil assaulted God’s
work by tempting Adam and Eve, causing the loss of paradise.
In the end, we look at the final battle between good and evil,
and await the final triumphant return of our Lord Jesus. Indeed,
the whole Bible is about salvation history. In both beginning
and end, Mary is there.
In the first book of the Bible, the book of Genesis, we read
about how the original sin came about. Our first parents sinned.
When our first parents fell, God put enmity between the serpent
and the woman (Gen 3:15). In that scene the only woman was
Eve. But we know that God was prophetically speaking about
Mary, the new Eve. There would be enmity between her offspring
and the devil’s. Jesus would strike a mortal blow to
the head of the serpent.
in the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation, we
again see mother and Son and the devil. The woman clothed
with the sun is Mary, and she gives birth to Jesus. The devil
(now a dragon instead of a serpent) tries to devour the child
but fails. War breaks out in heaven. The dragon pursues mother
and child, and failing to destroy them, wages “war against
the rest of her offspring, those who keep God’s commandments
and bear witness to Jesus.” (Rev 12:17). Those are us
Christians. Those are the evangelizers.
So spiritual warfare is a basic consequence of the work of
evangelization, which is the work of salvation. In this, our
mother Mary, her Son Jesus, and all of us who are children
of Mary, are involved.
Fifth, we are children of God, but we know that our relationship
with God as Father was cut due to original sin. Our relationship
needed to be restored, which Jesus did. Before Jesus won salvation
on the cross, he considered those who followed him as his
disciples, and even as his friends. Jesus did talk about the
Father, even teaching them to address God as Father, but they
were not quite there yet in their restored relationship.
But on the cross, Jesus won for us our salvation, restoring
us in our relationship with the Father. And having accomplished
his work, having won for us our salvation, one of the final
things Jesus did before he died was to entrust Mary and John
to one another (Jn 19:26-27). He told Mary that John was her
son, and he told John that Mary was his mother. And John took
Mary into his home. John represents us. On the cross, Jesus
restored our relationship to God as Father, and in doing so,
he gave us our mother, Mary.
We have become God’s children, through the cross, through
We are saved. In turn, we become God’s instruments for
the salvation of others. How do we respond to God’s
grace and God’s call?
First, we must become evangelizers. CFC-FFL is an evangelistic
and missionary community. That is who we are. That is our
basic calling. That is our reason for being. We evangelize
in the normal day-to-day circumstances of our lives. Thus
every member can and ought to be an evangelizer.
We must evangelize with a passion. This is our priority. This
is all about souls. This is all about the very work of God,
for which His very own Son gave his very own life. This is
about not letting Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross be in
vain for people who remain in darkness. This is about recognizing
the great privilege given us by God to be instruments of His
attitude and conviction must be that of Paul’s. “For
if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting.
For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach
the gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16).
Second, we must look to the family. CFC-FFL does a work of
family renewal. Our basic mission is to renew the family and
to defend life. Our evangelization is grounded on the family.
So we strengthen our own families, then we evangelize other
families. We form a network of families that support each
other. CFC-FFL is a family of families.
Then we are set to evangelize the world, as Jesus has commissioned
Third, we must be devoted to Mary. She is our model, our intercessor,
our mediatrix. She is our mother. She bore the Savior and
took care of him. She taught and modeled a life of grace to
Jesus. She now sits as Queen of heaven and earth.
Like Mary, we must trust and not be afraid. Jesus is our savior
and he is our strength and our courage (Is 12:2). Mary was
pregnant out of wedlock, and such would have merited stoning
to death. She was called to become the mother of God. She
was greatly troubled. But she had faith and she believed and
We will always have problems and challenges in life. Especially
as we respond to the call to proclaim Christ. We will be afflicted
by a world that is in darkness that resists the gospel message.
We will be attacked by the devil who seeks to preserve his
dominion. In all these, like Mary, we must not be afraid,
and simply trust in Jesus.
Like Mary, we must be obedient to God. Mary said, “Behold,
I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to
your word.” (Lk 1:38). And later in Cana, she gave her
only instruction, “Do whatever he tells you.”
(Jn 2:5). Jesus then performed his first miracle, even though
his time had not yet come. Mary obeyed, and Mary tells us
to obey. If we obey God, then God will do great things in
and through us, for that is in accordance with His plan and
Like Mary, we must be ready to suffer. Simeon had prophesied,
“and a sword will pierce through your own soul also”
(Lk 2:35a). And indeed how Mary suffered! She saw Jesus rejected
by the people he came to save, even his own relatives who
thought he was crazy. And Mary endured her beloved Son’s
passion and tortuous death on a cross.
In our work of evangelization, we will encounter many trials
and crosses. That is par for the course. The enemy is powerful.
The darkness of the world is intense. Even God allows affliction
to try us, to purify us, to draw us ever closer to Himself.
Whenever trials and crosses come, as they inevitably will
come, never back off, never give up. Rather, grow in endurance
and perseverance. Rejoice in affliction. Press on to the prize.
Like Mary, we must always rejoice. We rejoice at the coming
of our Savior. Just like Mary’s cousin Elizabeth and
John the Baptist who was still in her womb. John even leaped
in her womb! Our greatest joy is to have Jesus as our Savior.
We rejoice also for the privilege of suffering for and with
Christ. This is the way of discipleship, to take up our cross.
We rejoice in the work given to us, and in the privilege of
being God’s instruments of salvation.
family and Mary in the life of CFC-FFL
Evangelization, family and Mary are all intertwined.
We see this also in the life of CFC-FFL. It has taken crises
and stages for us to see the fullness of God’s call
When God raised CFC in 1981, God intended for us to be an
evangelistic community. But this was not fully appreciated
by our parent community, the Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon (LNP).
Thus there was a crisis, and there was a split between LNP
and CFC in 1993. With the split, CFC could now pursue its
very calling, the very reason why God raised us up.
In 1993, we established our Family Ministries. Prior to this
there was only the evangelization of couples. Now there was
something for every member of the family. No one would be
excluded. We came to a fuller realization of the importance
of family as subject and object of evangelization.
Then, due to veering away, there was another crisis in 2007,
and another split. CFC-FFL, pursuing CFC’s authentic
charism, emerged. It was then that we consecrated ourselves
to Mama Mary.
1981 evangelization, 1993 family, 2007 Mary. At each stage
we were brought deeper into our life of faith, and into a
greater appreciation of the fullness of our call. Now we see
more clearly. Now we pray that all the necessary elements
are in place. Now, after more purification, God can finally
do what He intended all along.
Our call is to be families in the Holy Spirit that will be
His instruments for renewing the face of the earth. This is
our work of evangelization, looking to the family, in a journey
Happy birthday, dear Mama Mary.
For easier reference, I have put previous papers on Mary into
this new category of “On Mary” as follows:
Part 1 – On the First Anniversary of our Consecration
Part 2 – On Mary, Mission and Martyrdom
Part 3 – Mary Immaculate
Part 4 – On the Second Anniversary of our Consecration
download file, click on icon
Mary - Part 5 - Evangelization, Family and Mary[PDF]