THE SERVANT GENERAL
SPIRITUALITY OF DIVISION
dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
and peace from our Lord Jesus Christ!
split in CFC has been very painful for all of us,
and we simply presume that it is something negative,
especially as it had to do with our work for God.
We were all serving God, so why did this happen? God’s
ways are of course not our ways, and we can never
presume to fully understand God’s mind. In fact,
Jesus said that he came to bring not peace but the
sword, to cause division, even among relatives and
household members (Mt 10:34-36). This is because there
are those who will accept him and those who will reject
him or his message.
even for those who accept Jesus and work for Him,
there can be division. And so it was that we had that
famous division as recorded in the book of Acts (Acts
15:36-41). It was between Paul and Barnabas, two missionary
stalwarts. What did they disagree or fight about?
Was it some deep theological argument? Was it about
the strategy for world evangelization? No, not at
all. It was just whether they would bring John Mark
with them on mission or not. And “so sharp was
their disagreement that they separated” (Acts
15:39). It must have been painful. But it resulted
in good. It resulted in two missions instead of one.
And God blessed both missions.
so through the years of Christian life and work, there
have been very many separations among Christian groups,
congregations and movements. Mother Teresa left her
congregation and founded the Missionaries of Charity.
Various religious congregations like the Franciscans,
the Carmelites and many others have many groups bearing
the same name with something appended to it, are independent
of each other, are approved and recognized by the
Church, and are doing well in their respective callings.
They have all helped in expanding the work of the
kingdom of heaven.
did break the loaves and ended up multiplying the
bread. This is the spirituality of division. In God’s
hands, division can lead to multiplication!
CFC, the crisis was about the veering away from our
authentic charism of evangelization and family life
renewal, in favor of the social dimension of the gospel.
But we do not question the heart of those among our
brethren who desire to help the poor. Remember that
this was our common work and calling at the turn of
the third millennium. Now with the split, we in CFC-FFL
are focused on evangelization and family life, while
those of our brethren in CFC-GK are focused more on
building communities among the poor. Now both can
pursue what they believe to be their particular calling
wholeheartedly, without tension caused by the different
emphasis of the other.
just like the religious congregations (Franciscans,
Carmelites), we look to creative unity despite the
split. Thus we have proposed one big CFC family but
with two distinct and separate branches. This way
we pursue our respective charisms, while still being
connected in some way. We can celebrate anniversaries
together, we can serve the diocese in pro-life together,
we can exchange resources, and so on.
this proposal is accepted or rejected, our posture
in CFC-FFL is not to burn our bridges, not to malign
or attack our separated brethren, not to retaliate
for wrongs done against us, and to pray for our detractors.
We will seek not to deepen the rift, even as we speak
the truth and long for peace with justice.
us show all what it means to love, even one’s
“enemies.” Do not speak ill of anyone,
do not malign, do not judge, do not focus on personal
rights, do not criticize anonymously, avoid scandal,
do not promote hatred. Rejoice even in oppression
and persecution if done for the sake of righteousness
or because of our standing up for what is right in
Christ. God allows crosses into our lives for our
purification, and this is part of our way to holiness.
let us focus on our mission. Let us simply move on.
The harvest is great, and God calls us to proclaim
Him to the world.
bless you all.
the service of Christ,
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SPIRITUALITY OF DIVISION - jULY 31, 2008