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(Part 1)

Our theme verse for 2010 is from Job 37:23. Due to the complexity of this verse, I herewith cite 3 versions.

“The Almighty—we cannot find him; he is great in power and justice, and abundant righteousness he will not violate.” (Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition)

“God’s power is so great that we cannot come near him; he is righteous and just in his dealings with us.” (Good News Bible)

“The Almighty! We cannot discover him, pre-eminent in power and judgment; his great justice owes no one an accounting.” (New American Bible)

Our theme for 2010 is:

“The Almighty!
Just and righteous is He.”

Looking to the Triune God and the divine family

From the very start, CFC has been a Christ-centered, Holy Spirit-empowered renewal movement.

We are “for Christ.” Our life has been centered on Jesus, our formation programs have focused on Jesus, and we have walked in the way of Jesus. Jesus the Savior is the foundation and basic message of our work, and we go forth into the world as called and commissioned by him.

We also have a charismatic spirituality. Charism is about the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who empowers us to live the life of Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit who enables us to become true witnesses to the ends of the earth. It is the Holy Spirit who gives us the spiritual gifts that we need in order to build community and to do mission. Thus we are families in the Holy Spirit that will be God’s instruments to renew the face of the earth.

Further, in 2007 we consecrated ourselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is the mother of Jesus (God) and the spouse of the Holy Spirit.
For 2010 we look to God the Father. With God the Father we now are able to look to the fullness of the Triune God (Father, Son and Spirit) and the divine family (Trinity and Mary).

The Almighty and Omnipotent God

How do we describe God? How do we speak of Him?

“Out of the north comes golden splendor; God is clothed with awesome majesty.” (Job 37:22, RSV). The north is a symbol for God’s mysterious abode. God dwells in the heavens above and on high.

How do we describe our God? Golden splendor! Awesome majesty! Omnipotent and Almighty! We can say all the superlatives and we would fall short in doing justice to describing who God is. In the end, we can only exclaim: “The Almighty!”

We cannot find Him. We cannot discover Him. We cannot come near Him. No matter how wise we are. His ways and thoughts are vastly different from ours (Is 55:8-9). He is the holy God. He is great in power and justice and righteousness (Job 37:23).

We do see the Father in Jesus, and we do experience God by and through the Holy Spirit. But the Father Himself and His ways remain mysterious and inscrutable.

  • He created the whole universe out of love for us and to share His greatness with us.
  • He chose and loved a people, even through their unfaithfulness and even rebellion.
  • He sent His own Son to suffer and die for us.
  • He allows great suffering in the lives of those He loves, but is in control and will grant victory in the end.

Our response

How then do we relate to such a God? When then is our appropriate response?

“Therefore men fear him; he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.” (Job 37:24, RSV). Our proper posture is awe of God and humility before Him. Awe and humility are proper postures for feeble creatures before their majestic Creator.

As we have said, we do not really know God, and He is beyond our grasp. But “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov 1:7a). Such “fear of the Lord” is reverential fear and respect for God on account of His sovereignty and majesty. We are nothing before Him. Every good thing we have is from Him.

Though we are nothing, to God we are everything. He loves us, blesses us, raises us up. The Father sacrificed His own Son for us. We must be in awe of such a God. And we must be humbled by such a privilege.

Life in the world

Now the Father created the whole universe, a reflection of His beauty and perfection. He created us in His own image and likeness. But due to sin, imperfection came into the world. Thus we live in a world of darkness and sin. Thus we reap the consequences of sin, in a life filled with hardship and suffering.

Why does God allow such suffering? Why do bad things happen to good people? How do we reconcile a God of love, who has absolute power over the universe, with such pain and suffering?

Suffering of course is the very way God chose for His Son Jesus. That is the mystery of the cross. God loves His Son, and God loves us His children. Just as He allowed Jesus to suffer, so He allows us. Such suffering is redemptive. Gold is purified through fire. In His love for us and in His inscrutable wisdom, God is always working in us to accomplish His very plan and purpose. Thus such suffering is cause not for lamentations but for joy.

Just and righteous is He

Awe and humility allow us to fully accept God’s will in our lives even as we cannot understand fully His ways. He is Father and He knows best. Our human wisdom is what gets us into trouble. We desire to have our own way, oftentimes contrary to the ways of God. Thus we ourselves stand in the way of God accomplishing His will for our lives.

What we are called to is unquestioning obedience to God. We are called to die to self, manifested in total detachment, total selflessness, and self-sacrificial love. Now that is very difficult. In fact, on our own, it is impossible. But Jesus has shown us the way. And the Holy Spirit empowers us.

We just need to rest assured that God is a God of justice and righteousness. God gives to everyone what is his due, and as a beloved child of God, we can have it all, even as the path is tortuous and painful. God upholds righteousness, being a holy God, and desires that His children be holy as well. In justice we receive what is our due; in righteousness we become what God intended from the very beginning.

We are truly blessed. We can only exclaim: “The Almighty! Just and righteous is He.”

* * *

Note: please begin to read and prayerfully reflect on the book of Job. You should finish reading, and re-reading, the whole book by the end of this year, so that you may be better prepared to understand, and live out, God’s message for next year.

(September 23, 2009)

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