THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
SURVIVING AND THRIVING - 8
I made it! We finished our Camino de Santiago pilgrimage,
walking 107 kilometers in 8 days. It has been a most challenging,
thrilling, exciting, spiritually enriching experience.
God has shown many realities about our life and mission.
Once again I share today’s 7 principles for “How
to Survive as a Servant Leader, and Even Thrive.”
#50: Strain forward to what lies ahead. From the start
of the camino the goal has of course been to
finish it. But as each day went by, with its challenges,
oftentimes dire, getting nearer to the end, I was more
and more excited. There was greater hope of really getting
to the finish line. You must always keep your eyes fixed
on the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling in
Christ Jesus. You must continually press on, overcoming
obstacles by the grace of God and the strength of the
Holy Spirit. Each day ought to be a step forward in the
Lord. Compete well, run the race, keep the faith. The
crown of righteousness awaits you.
#51: You walk with others and try not to leave anyone
behind. Our group of 6 finished together. All the other
days we had different paces and we ended the leg coming
in one after the other. But today, at the end, we were
together, reaching our goal as one. In our earthly pilgrimage,
our brethren in community move at different paces. Some
even slide back. Your task is to care for them all, and
try to see that no one gets left behind, as we all make
our way to heaven together.
#52: Carry your people in your heart. My pains during
the camino gave me greater empathy for the problems
and suffering of my brethren. My pained steps helped me
to pray for those in great need. You too will encounter
difficulties and pain, at times caused by those you serve.
These times can help you appreciate the suffering of others.
This can intensify your role as intercessor, a go-between
for God and His people. This can in fact help you to go
on despite your own pain, as you perhaps realize that
others have greater problems than you have, or that when
you pray for others and not so much for yourself, your
own suffering becomes more bearable. Love your people
and help them in whatever way you can.
#53: When everything else fails, look only to Jesus. On
this last day, going just a short 4.4 kilometers, and
having already experienced the miracle of God’s
healing and helping hand, I decided to forgo any supports.
I did not wear my regular shoes (just my loafers), had
no socks (used to help prevent blisters), spread no Vaseline
on my feet, sprayed no muscle relaxant on my back, did
not use the knee supports, and had only one walking stick
(even here, I brought it more as a prop to keep up the
image of a peregrino. LOL). I made it! Friends
may abandon you, brothers may betray you, sisters may
malign you, community support might seem inadequate, encouragement
might be nowhere. But there is always Jesus. He is the
one you cling to. When disappointed or frustrated, you
in fact should not quit, because by doing so, you actually
are turning your back on the One who called you and is
depending upon you. Just look to Jesus for approval and
consolation. He never fails.
#54: You are part of God’s army engaged in spiritual
warfare. In Santiago there is a statue of El Templar Peregrino.
The Templars were a military order of knights who protected
pilgrims along the camino. They helped pereginos
make it all the way to the end. You too, when you accepted
the task of evangelization and the role of servant leader,
became part of God’s army. Our task is to assault
the kingdom of darkness, battling with those evil forces
that try to bring down our brethren, and help ensure that
God’s people, making their way on their earthly
pilgrimage, make it to heaven. You in fact ought to be
Gideonites. These were Gideon’s 300, when those
in his larger army who were afraid or were unprepared
were let go. You are at the forefront of the battle. God
wants to use you to bring about His victory. Go and fight.
#55: Look with anticipation and joy to the end of the
journey. When I entered Santiago de Compostela, I felt
like I was entering Jerusalem, or Vatican City. I felt
that this was a foretaste of entering heaven, which after
all is the pilgrim’s goal. I had mixed emotions
of tears and joy, of pains and bliss. In actuality, the
tears were of joy, and the pains were blissfully heaven-sent.
We cannot imagine the great joy we will experience when
we get to heaven. The journey is difficult, challenging
and painful, but the reward is out of this world! Looking
with anticipation to the prize will help you overcome
the difficulties and trials. It can help you press on,
to endure and persevere.
#56: Look to the Eucharist for your strength. At the Cathedral
we had the Pilgrim’s Mass, attended by pilgrims
from many different nations. We ended our camino
with the Eucharist. The Mass is the highest form of worship.
The Eucharist is where we receive the very body and blood
of Christ. This is the only time when Jesus is physically
present in our midst, in the form of bread and wine. This
is the way we literally become the body of Christ, when
we eat the bread that is Jesus. Your strength can fail
you, the problems you face can seemingly overwhelm you,
at times you may feel all alone and lonely. But there
is always Jesus whom you can receive in communion. He
is your strength. Try to go to Mass and communion not
just on Sundays but more often, if possible daily. There
is nothing like being in such intimate touch with the
Well, we did it. Yes we, you and I. I could not
have done it without your prayers, which God heard and
answered. I hope my prayers on your behalf also made a
positive difference in your lives.
Camino de Santiago pilgrimage is over. But our earthly
pilgrimage continues. As one of the Pilgrim’s Blessings
say: “Blessed are you, Pilgrim, because you have
discovered that the real Camino begins when the walking
ends.” I pray that you have learned a lot, as I
have. We are all so blessed, if only we truly realized
hope to see you and walk with you along the path God has
laid out for us. Buen camino!