THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2011
A COMPRESSED HISTORY OF CFC IN ISAIAH
theme for this year, “My God is now my strength!”,
is taken from Isaiah 49:5. As is usually the case, God has
a special message and many lessons to teach us through our
theme for the year. In looking to what God is saying, we usually
would look at a larger context in which our theme verse is
situated. This time this larger context is Isaiah 49:1-6.
is the second of four “Servant of the Lord” oracles.
Many identifications have been proposed as to who is this
Servant of the Lord. Some say it is historical Israel, or
ideal Israel, or an Old Testament historical character, or
perhaps the prophet Isaiah himself. New Testament and Christian
tradition in turn have seen a fulfillment of these prophecies
the purposes of God’s speaking to us, we can also see
in these verses a remarkable description of the life and mission
of CFC--what has happened before, what is happening now, and
what will continue to happen.
Indeed. Let us see, verse by verse, what God has to say to
Verse 1a: “Hear me, O coastlands, listen, O distant
is addressed to the worldwide CFC family. The Lord is about
to speak, and it is important for all our brethren to hear
Verse 1b: “The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s
has His plan for CFC from the very beginning. In fact, God’s
plans are from all eternity. His plan comes to pass in His
time and in His way. For us, God established CFC in June of
Verse 1c: “from my mother’s womb he gave me my
the Old Testament, the name given to someone was a description
of what he was destined to become or what his calling was.
In the case of our Lord, “Jesus” means “Yahweh
saves.” Now God gave us the name “Couples for
Christ.” We are first of all “for Christ.”
We are to live our lives for him, to proclaim him as his instruments,
to bring glory to his name throughout the world. This is our
work of evangelization. If you want to describe the work of
CFC in one word, it is “evangelization.” From
the very start, and even up to now, that had always been our
we are “Couples.” The couple (husband and wife)
is the core of the family, and the family, being the basic
unit of society, is crucial to God’s plan for the life
of the world. Even as we included the other members of the
family in 1993, a major focus is still on the couple. They
are the ones who stand in God’s place in caring for
the children and building the home as Kingdom ground. What
happens in the family determines how family members function
in the world. The family is the church of the home, the training
ground for God’s people, and the mission base for work
being “Couples for Christ,” our work is evangelization
within the context of family renewal. While evangelization
is basic, it is not just proclaiming Christ and bringing people
to him. It is also building up the family which is crucial
to God’s plan for evangelization.
Verse 2: “He made of me a sharp-edged sword and concealed
me in the shadow of his arm. He made me a polished arrow,
in his quiver he hid me.”
the years, God has used CFC in the power of His Spirit. As
God’s instruments, we have been His sword and arrow,
piercing the very hearts of so many people. God has also protected
us, allowing our families and our work to flourish.
Verse 3a: “You are my servant, he said to me”
the very start, we have been a servant people. We serve our
Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. We are His instruments. We
are His witnesses to the ends of the earth. We are called
to a life of service--to God, to our spouse, to our children
and family, to our community, to the larger Church, to the
world. We exist not for ourselves, but only for Him who called
and raised us.
Verse 3b: “Israel, through whom I show my glory.”
we have served God, especially in our first 25 years, we have
evangelized millions of people, saved countless marriages,
and strengthened many families. Knowing we are but mere instruments,
nothing on our own, the glory has always been to God. Because
of this work, many Christians/Catholics who were nominal or
lapsed have returned to Christ and now worship him. The light
that shines out of many CFC homes proclaims the very glory
God blessed us and our work tremendously in the first 25 years.
We were established in all provinces in the Philippines, and
in 153 countries by our 25th anniversary in June 2006 (growing
to 160 by early the next year). We were officially recognized
by the highest authority in the Catholic Church, the Holy
Verse 4a: “Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and
for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength”
the years, we had encountered the opposition of Satan. Naturally,
the world belonged to him and we threatened his dominion.
This became more intense through the years, as the enemy not
only opposed us from without but infiltrated us and weakened
us from within. There were infidelities among our brethren,
Christ was marginalized by those who led the social dimension
of our work, and there were conflicts among leaders in different
parts of the world. The evangelization faltered. From 2001
to 2006, our total membership started to decline steadily
from year to year.
warned us strongly towards the end of 2006, by giving us our
theme for 2007 coming from the book of Lamentations. Though
it was a theme of hope, there was a dire warning. Lamentations
was about the profound lament due to the destruction and loss
of Jerusalem and the temple. It was due to Israel’s
persistent infidelity. God was saying to us that the same
fate could befall us. We were given the opportunity to repent
and be restored, but many leaders were not listening. The
lessons of Lamentations were not being learned. The crisis
deepened, and eventually resulted in a split in CFC. That
was now the lowest point in the life and mission of CFC. The
enemy had succeeded in severely weakening the body, even almost
completely destroying it.
the split, many left the community. Many laid low, deeply
disillusioned by what had happened. People began to question
whether all the work of the past 25 years had been in vain,
whether all the resources we had poured into the work had
been uselessly spent.
Verse 4b: “Yet my reward is with the Lord, my recompense
is with my God.”
happened was of course not desired by anyone except the enemy.
But in every cloud there is a silver lining. So God taught
us a lot of lessons through the crisis and split. It humbled
us, and that is important for a people who have soared to
great heights in serving the Lord. It emptied us, making us
put our focus on God alone. God was emphasizing to us that
we are mere servants, and that our focus should just be on
serving Him, looking only to Him for any reward. In fact,
He Himself is the reward. If we have God, even when we are
at our lowest moments, we are still blessed.
whatever happens, we only seek to serve God. We do what we
can, but it is up to God to provide the fruit.
Verse 5a: “For now the Lord has spoken who formed me
as his servant from the womb”
reiterates and assures us of our call. We are His servants,
instruments that He wants to use for His own purposes. He
has an eternal plan for us. As we have gone through a period
of intense purification, we should now be better formed. God
is ready to use us once again.
Verse 5b: “That Jacob may be brought back to him and
Israel gathered to him”
prayer in 2007 through the crisis was for God not to discard
us but to bring us back to Himself, to restore CFC to its
authentic charism, life and mission, after our having veered
away. We prayed: “Lead us back to you, O Lord, that
we may be restored: give us anew such days as we had of old.”
(Lam 5:21). God heard our prayers, and raised a remnant, faithful
to CFC’s authentic charism. This was CFC-FFL.
Verse 5c: “And I am made glorious in the sight of the
with restoration, with lessons learned from 2006 to 2011 (currently
still learning), with the virtues of joy (theme 2008), trust
(theme 2009) and awe of God (theme 2010) firmly in place,
we are once again ready for God’s work, to once again
shine through God’s favor. We have been purified, we
have experienced suffering that is redemptive, we have been
humbled, we are stronger in our servanthood, we are very aware
of intense spiritual warfare, we are chipping away on our
infidelities, our hearts resound with the call to holiness
and perfection. We are now ready.
Verse 5d: “and my God is now my strength!”
had always been our strength. This is manifested by the great
strides in our work through the years. But our infidelities
deprived us of the fullness of God’s strength. According
to God’s eternal plan for us, He expects much, simply
because we are entrusted with His very own divine work. If
now we are better formed, properly chastised, deeply purified,
then we can look to God being fully our strength. This after
all is God’s intent.
Verse 6a: “It is too little, he says, for you to be
if God is now our strength, then it is too little just to
be His servants. There are many who are called and who serve
Him. But it is not just serving Him, but seeing the greatness
of our particular call. We are called to stand in the very
sandals of Jesus, as we proclaim his salvation throughout
the world. We are called to be God’s instruments to
win as many souls as possible for Him. We are called to be
“like” God, growing in holiness unto the Lord
and in the perfection of the Father.
intends to do His great work in and through us. Expand your
vision. Trust in God’s provision. Dare to go where others
fear to tread. Look to signs and wonders. Give all of yourself.
Verse 6b: “to raise up the tribes of Jacob”
raised CFC in 1981. That is too little if we do not attain
to being made glorious in the sight of the Lord, as He works
in and through us. The devil, if he cannot totally destroy
CFC, seeks to just let CFC be another religious group that
does not do much damage to his dominion. Such is not God’s
intent for us.
Verse 6c: “and restore the survivors of Israel”
restored CFC in 2007 by raising a remnant, now CFC-FFL. Wonderful
as that is, that is too little as we look to what God can
now accomplish through a purified and better formed instrument
acting in the very strength of God.
Verse 6d: “I will make you a light to the nations”
God as our strength, God Himself will make us shine in our
worldwide work. God reiterates the original call to rapid,
massive and worldwide evangelization. We are called to evangelize
many peoples, to renew marriages, to strengthen families,
to witness to the whole world of God’s love.
Verse 6e: “that my salvation may reach to the ends of
what is God’s purpose in all this? Evangelization. So
that many souls may be saved. This is the very reason why
God sent His very own Son Jesus into the world. This is the
very reason why God raised and restored CFC.
 With the Internet, it is now easy for every CFC-FFL member
to read this message. So go and spread it around to all our
 Many religious groups in the Church evangelize, but do
not work to renew and strengthen the Christian family itself.
However, without this, evangelization would have limited benefit
for the life of the world, since the family is crucial to
God’s plan of salvation.
 This is not being messianic, but precisely seeing what
God wants to do, and in the mystery of God’s choice,
we have been called. We are nothing, but this is not about
us, it is about God.
 Not like the lie of the serpent in paradise, where he
told Eve that they would be like gods (Gen 3:5). That temptation
was to have no more need of God, while our call to be like
God is to reflect His image and likeness in holiness and to
live His virtues.
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Theme for 2011-Part12 [PDF]