THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
UNITY AND PEACE - 9
Today’s reading: Romans 16:3-27
We are one body, the body of Christ on earth. He is the head
and we are the various members of the body. But the Church
of God is not united and not at peace. After a millennium,
the West and East split. After another half a millennium,
Luther split and the Protestant denominations formed (and
are still forming today!). Within our Catholic Church, religious
congregations (Franciscans, Carmelites, etc.) have split and
re-split. Lay Catholic communities have had many splits. This
is the unfortunate reality. If only members of the body truly
looked to Jesus, knowing they are “co-workers in Christ
Jesus” (v.3b), serving the one Master and the one Church,
having the one vision and mission, then there would be unity
and peace. But historically it has never been so.
Catholic Church is much better off than the Protestant Churches,
because we have the Vicar of Christ, the pope, who is the
human point of unity in our Church. The Protestants have no
such person, and thus each one goes off on his own. Today
there are over 40,000 Protestant denominations. Having one
person as the focal point of unity of vision and mission increases
our chances of bucking the age-old trend of strife and disunity.
we come to our own community. CFC suffered a major split in
2007. But even now as CFC-FFL, there are still tensions and
conflicts. What can help to attain unity and peace? It is
to look to the representative of Christ, to the person designated
by the Holy Spirit to found the community. The founder is
the one entrusted with the charism, which he shares with all
those who join the community. In 2007, major leaders veered
away from the vision of the founder, specifically, removing
Christ from our work with the poor. The split was the result.
is the founder who has the charism and who has the vision
as given to him by God. For CFC and now CFC-FFL, our vision
and mission is evangelization founded on family renewal. Family
renewal is founded on the work of evangelization, as couples
and families need to be brought to Christ first. Then the
work of evangelization is sustained by renewed families. This
progression is actually reflected in our Core Values. Our
first Core Value is Centered on Christ, our second Core Value
is Evangelistic and Missionary, and our third Core Value is
Focused on the Family. First, Christ and becoming like Christ;
second, evangelization, proclaiming Christ; and third, family,
strengthening it and looking to the generations to come.
like Paul, I point you first to Jesus, then I share the vision,
mission and charism given to me, as I look to you to be my
co-workers in evangelization. “Now to him who can strengthen
you, according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus
Christ” (v.25a). It is Christ who saves and strengthens
us, and he has entrusted to me as founder the proclamation
of that good news, which is the very charism of CFC/CFC-FFL.
This is evangelization. In fact, this is about massive evangelization,
especially now in response to the call to the New Evangelization.
Jesus came to save all. Now he uses his disciples to bring
that salvation to the ends of the earth. I have written many
articles and books on what our vision and mission is. This
is all in obedience to what I believe God desires, and why
God allowed me to found this community. Our direction ought
to be clear, “now manifested through the prophetic writings
and, according to the command of the eternal God, made known
to all nations to bring about the obedience of faith”
contrary to the experience of the Church through two millennia,
including CFC, do we maintain unity and peace? Look to the
founder and the vision and mission that he has already made
clear. CFC split in 2007 because other top leaders veered
away from the clear direction. This is an ongoing danger,
as leaders look not to the founder but to their own vision
and desires. When such leaders insist on their own directions,
this is what creates disunity, strife and division. “I
urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who create dissensions
and obstacles, in opposition to the teaching that you learned”
(v.17a). My vision and teachings are clear enough. They are
there written down in From the SG articles and many
books. This is how the Holy Spirit helps me guide the people
He has called to do a particular work, our work.
who oppose such direction or teachings are no longer serving
Christ, at least not in the way Jesus has called our community.
“For such people do not serve our Lord Christ but their
own appetites” (v.18a). Is it Christ we follow? Then
would we not follow the one he designated to found and lead
the community? So Paul has a simple directive: “avoid
them.” (v.17b). No, we will not exclude them from the
community, but avoid their gossip and maligning and negative
speech that cause you to question our direction. Indeed there
are those dissidents who “by fair and flattering speech
they deceive the hearts of the innocent.” (v.18b). If
you have a question or a doubt, ask me directly. I have said
from long ago that I am just an email away.
have been giving of yourselves, you have been serving, you
have been making sacrifices. But know that as God uses us
more and more, then the enemy also intensifies his assault.
And what better way to derail the work than to foment dissent
inside the community? Do not give the enemy the opportunity!
“For while your obedience is known to all, so that I
rejoice over you, I want you to be wise as to what is good,
and simple as to what is evil” (v.19).
we can experience unity and peace. Then we can blunt the deceptions
of the evil one. “Then the God of peace will quickly
crush Satan under your feet.” (v.20a).
have much to do. If you believe you have been called to CFC-FFL,
then learn what our work is, and that is learning the vision
of the founder and obeying the mission that God, through the
founder, sends you to do. Read and think and pray about all
the From the SG articles and the founder’s books. The
enemy will always try to bring about disunity and strife,
for that is the way to blunt our work, and even destroy our
community. The enemy almost succeeded in 2007. The enemy is
certainly continuing to try. And with us poised to do truly
massive evangelization, the enemy will likewise intensify
his evil designs. Do not provide him the opening.
grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” (v.20b). Let us
go forth in unity and peace, and accomplish the mission given
to us, so that “to the only wise God, through Jesus
Christ be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (v.27).