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(Part 49)


September 19, 2013

This is Day 7 of our Camino. The final leg is tomorrow. It has been another challenging but exhilarating trek. The Lord continues to speak. Here are another 7 principles on “How to Survive as a Servant Leader, and Even Thrive.”

Principle #43: Do not neglect prayer and the Bible. On the camino, most of the time I used two walking sticks, one on each hand. This was due to my knee pains. I could never have made it through the ups and downs if not propped up by my two bastones. You also need help in your Christian walk. You need tools by which you grow in the Lord. The most basic are prayer and the Bible. Of course there are also our formation courses, fellowship, service and the sacraments. But what you need to do each and every day is to pray, and to read, meditate on, and study the scriptures. Invest yourself in daily prayer and the Bible, and you will be properly propped up in your Christian walk and service.

Principle #44: Don’t be overly spiritual but make use of secular things God provides for your journey. Because of my knee pains, at various times I made use of pain killers, massages, muscle-relaxant spray, knee supports, and walking sticks. If you are sick, pray for the Lord’s healing but also take medicine or go to the doctor. If you need something from God, do not just claim it in faith, but also do your human effort to try to achieve what you want to happen. If there are disputes or conflicts in community, do not just lift these up to God, but intervene and try to do something about it. If God wanted to do all the work Himself, He would not have needed to appoint you, right? Your assurance is that if you do your part, He will provide whatever is needed to bring about the right fruit.

Principle #45: There is one path to heaven, the path of righteousness, but many ways of walking that path. One can do the camino on foot, by bicycle, or on a horse. Or in my case, at times also borne on angels’ wings. Most peregrinos are on foot, some on bicycles, but I saw no one riding a horse (except the tourist police). You have chosen the way of CFC-FFL and as a servant leader. But many others are in different groups, ministries, movements and organizations, doing many different services. There are different spiritualities--charismatic, contemplative, as well as the spiritualities of the religious congregations and new ecclesial movements. For us there is now also LCSC. This the richness of the Catholic Church. You should respect them all, not think our community is better than others, collaborate if there is an opportunity, and bless each other. It is your choice to walk, bike or ride a horse. Just get to the end.

Principle #46: Push yourself as you strain toward the goal. Today I exerted greater effort, not deterred by the more difficult path than that of the last two days. Perhaps it was because I was nearer the end. Perhaps I needed to show contempt for the devil’s efforts at stopping me through pains in my knees and back. Perhaps I wanted to see what I could accomplish if I simply cooperated with God’s grace and strength. You too must give more and more of yourself, not less and less. And if you are not tired or don’t have pains, you might not be striving hard enough! Jesus expended himself in order to serve, not even having time to eat, and then giving his all including his life. Look not to ease and comfort, but to pleasing the Master who knows that the harvest is rich but is simply waiting on his laborers. Fishing and harvesting are hard work.

Principle #47: Know that blessings come out of suffering and pain. Because of the pain in my knees, I used two walking sticks, especially on the ups and downs in the path. To relieve pressure on my knees, I leaned on those walking sticks. In doing so, I exercised and strained my arms and shoulders. Thus the camino not only strengthened my legs and body through the brisk walking, but strengthened my arms as well. Without the knee pain, I would not have used the sticks. No pain, no gain. You will surely encounter difficulties, trials, oppression and persecution. Don’t get depressed. God will use those to purify and strengthen you. Look at the positive caused by the negative. Look at the silver lining in every dark cloud. Just persevere.

Principle #48: Spot and help mold the Timothies. During today’s trek, there were many young people. One big group probably had 50. Not all youth today are into sex or vices. Some are in pilgrimages, and many strive to live pure. In our community, the next generations are in place. We have young but very capable leaders. There are the young couples. There are the many new singles coming in from universities who are top-notch. They are the future of our community. For the future to be secured, you need to spot these unpolished diamonds and nurture, train and mold them. As Paul told Timothy in today’s reading, have no contempt for their youth, but set an example for them. So be concerned not just with your work, but with the next generation that will continue that work.

Principle #49: Have a devotion to Mama Mary. At the very start of our camino, the evening before the actual walk, we heard Mass at the Mosteiro de San Xiao, a Benedictine monastery. After the Mass with the monks, the priest-celebrant prayed over and blessed the peregrinos present, with a song to Mary. The refrain was: “Ven con nosotros al caminar, Santa Maria ven.” I was in tears. My beloved Mother was going to be with me on the camino. She herself traveled some distance even when she was six months pregnant to help her relative Elizabeth, then later traveled a greater distance to Egypt with her newborn Son to escape Herod. Mary knows the difficulties and pains of such journeys. As her son, she would also care for me. You too are her son. Be a devoted son. Love her, look to her for wisdom, ask her to intercede with God for you, venerate her, honor her, rest in her embrace, help ensure that all ages will call her blessed. Pray the rosary every day. And as it is always a tandem of Jesus and Mary whenever there is confrontation with the enemy, march under her banner as you go off to war.

I am almost through with my pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, but our common pilgrimage and service continue. May you be a blessing to those entrusted to your care. And be assured that you will be bountifully blessed as well.

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