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The Way Forward #6

December 1, 2007

My dear brethren in Christ,

It is with great joy that I greet you as we all look forward to the start of the Advent season tomorrow. We will be celebrating the coming of Jesus into the world, ushering in the fulfillment of God’s promises for restoration and renewal.

CFC-FFL is all about restoration—the restoration of our authentic charism of family life and evangelization. This is what CFC is all about. This is the reason God raised CFC way back in 1981. This is the way by which we have received the bountiful blessings of God, upon our families and upon our mission in the world.

CFC-FFL is all about restoring the focus on Christ, who came into the world to win for us our salvation. Jesus is at the center of our lives and of our work. We can never put him aside, even in the name of helping uplift the plight of the poor. In fact, since bringing glad tidings to the poor is the very mission of Jesus, he has to be at the very center of the work. This is what we in CFC-FFL affirm.

We are about to end the year 2007. This year God brought us to Lamentations. The lessons God has taught us are to be learned, even beyond this year. I encourage you, if you have not yet, to get hold of my book “40 Days of Lamentations” and use that as your textbook for learning and living out the lessons of Lamentations.

As we learn our lessons, then Lamentations, as we have always said, will be a journey of hope and joy. This year our theme is on hope. Next year our theme is on joy. We rejoice in Christ. More importantly, as the prophet Zephaniah says, God will rejoice in us!

Jesus is coming into the world (per our celebration of Advent) and he is our Savior. “The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior” (Zep 3:17a). If we learn the lessons of Lamentations, if we repent of our infidelities, if we strive to be faithful to our covenant, if we walk the path of holiness, then we will truly be God’s people, a people pleasing to Him. “He will rejoice over you with gladness” (Zep 3:17b). And when God restores His people, then He will also renew them in His love (Zep 17c). Restoration opens us to God’s grace and thus enables us to live out His commandments of love—love for God and love for neighbor.

When all these happen, then imagine God in the heavenly karaoke room in heaven (please forgive me this irreverent comparison). “He will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals” (Zep 3:17d-18a). God will rejoice. God will sing. God will dance. All these happen, as God says, “when I bring about your restoration before your very eyes, says the Lord” (Zep 3:20c).

Today, before our very eyes, we are experiencing restoration. This fills us with great hope. This fills our hearts with great joy.

May the Lord continue to bless you abundantly.

Your brother in Christ,

Frank Padilla

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The Way Forward #6 -December 01, 2007 [PDF]
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