THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
JOY, TRUST AND MARY
Today’s readings interestingly contain our themes
for the last two years--that of joy for 2008 (Zep 3:17)
and trust for 2009 (Is 12:2). Then the gospel is about Mary.
On the eve of our anniversary month, the Lord is saying
something important to us.
me first put things in perspective. In “Our theme
for 2010 (Part 4) - Within the context of our life and mission”
issued last November 17, 2009, I spoke of several periods
in our life and mission. The first 20 years (1981 to 2001)
was a period of rapid and massive growth. The next 5 years
(2001 to 2006) was a period of emergent decline. Though
there were still many blessings and the work proceeded,
the heady growth had stopped and membership was declining.
Finally, the next 5 years (2006 to 2011), the period we
are now in, would be a period of intense spiritual warfare,
with the enemy, having already infiltrated CFC, trying to
destroy it completely. He succeeded in causing a split,
but God responded by raising a remnant. That is CFC-FFL.
We are still in this period of intense spiritual warfare.
period of 2006 to 2011 is crucial. It will determine whether
CFC will go the way of the flesh or persist in the Spirit.
As God raised CFC for His own purposes, He works to preserve
us. His chosen way, as is often the case with those who
stray, is affliction. It is suffering that purifies and
is redemptive. Thus for 2007 God brought us to Lamentations,
and for 2010 has brought us to Job. But even as God brought
us to Lamentations, He gave us our theme of hope. And even
as God brought us to Job, He gave us an assurance of His
justice and righteousness.
between 2007 and 2010, since affliction is very difficult
to bear, God wedged in our proper posture in the face of
difficult challenges. Those are joy in 2008 and trust in
2009. Today, through the readings, God reiterates the gifts
of joy and trust that He had given us. We are always to
trust in Jesus for He is our Savior, and because of this
we are always to have joy in our hearts, no matter what
trials we are facing. In fact, we rejoice for the privilege
of suffering for the cause of Christ.
But there is more. Today’s readings also bring us
to the gospel story of Mary’s visiting Elizabeth,
and to Mary’s Magnificat.
August 10, 2007, right after the split, the remnant that
was CFC-FFL consecrated itself to Mary. Since then the role
of Mary has been significant in our life and mission.
Mary visits, as with Elizabeth, she brings Jesus. When Mary
visits with Jesus, we can only leap for joy (Lk 1:44). Mary
and Jesus always come together. It is Mary who brought Jesus
the Savior into the world. It is Mary who engages, with
her son Jesus, the enemy, from the very start (Gen 3:15)
to the very end (Rev 12:1ff). It is Mary who was there at
the foot of the cross, when Jesus won for us our salvation.
Mary always points us to Jesus, as she said, “My soul
proclaims the greatness of the Lord” (Lk 1:46).
note something significant that Elizabeth did. First she
proclaimed Mary blessed among all women, and then she said
that the fruit of her womb was blessed (Lk 1:42). This was
in accordance with what God had done and was doing. God
chose Mary and blessed her, and then caused the blessing
of the life conceived and borne in, and then born from,
her womb. Though Jesus is God and Mary is human, in the
mysterious plan of God for the salvation of the world, He
deemed it right to look to Mary first, and then use Mary
to point us all to her Son Jesus.
so the role of Mary is very important and crucial. While
Jesus is the one mediator between God and man (1Tim 2:5),
Mary is our mediatrix. While Jesus is the one Redeemer of
the world, Mary is his co-Redemptrix. Jesus and Mary always
We have one more year in this period of 2006 to 2011. Spiritual
warfare of course will always be there, so long as we are
doing the authentic work of God. But this particular period
is the make-or-break period. The result is not up to the
enemy, who will always try to destroy us. The result is
entirely up to us, determined by our responses.
we see in the case of Job, it is interesting that the enemy
uses affliction in order to destroy us, while God allows
affliction in order to redeem us. And so, as I have said
time and again, we need to learn the lessons of Lamentations.
Now we also need to learn the lessons of Job. Do not try
to ignore or avoid these lessons, as many do, or you will
be fated to fall under the assaults of the enemy. Know that
God is preparing us for even greater work. He is allowing
us to go through the crucible of fire to purify and strengthen
severe affliction, we cling to Jesus, trusting that He indeed
is our Savior. Because of this, we rejoice even in affliction,
or precisely because we have been deemed worthy to be afflicted
for His sake.
that our Mother Mary is always there. In our sorrows she
comforts and consoles us. In our feelings of helplessness
and hopelessness, she assures us of God’s love. In
our weakness, she embraces us. In our fight against the
enemy, she guarantees that she and her Son have already
won the victory.
* * *
For you to appreciate what God is doing, you need to read
1. Forty Days of Lamentations
2. Forty Days with Job (coming out in June 2010)
3. A Future Full of Hope
4. Mary in the Work of Evangelization and Family Renewal
(coming out in June 2010)