Read Stages in the Life of CFC first.
CFC-FFL AND THE LARGER CROSSROAD OF THE CHURCH
Aside from our own experiences and the discernment emerging from those, one trigger to LCSC is the milestone that the Catholic Church will have in 2021. This is the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines.
With that came the notion of a decade of special grace, from 2011 to 2021, for the work of re-evangelization. Such work is sorely needed because the great majority of Filipino Catholics are lapsed or nominal, because the destiny of our nation is to be God’s light in Asia and to the world, and because of the looming tsunami-like onslaught of the anti-life and anti-family forces against this last nation standing. Thus, the dire need with its attendant urgency, and the availability of special grace, pointed to the necessity, and opportunity, of doing massive, concerted, persistent evangelization.
How? The Church needed to look to the experience of new ecclesial movements, which are God’s instruments for renewal in the third millennium. It was critical to be focused on Christ—meeting, living and sharing him. It was essential to appropriate the power of the Holy Spirit. The laity needed to be massively involved. The Church needed to mainstream Catholic lay evangelization.
Now this was what God was preparing us for in all of our 30 years. But our evangelization stalled, even with the restoration of 2007. Infidelities persisted. Even seniors could not all be brought to simple living out of basic (and easy) commitments of faithful attendance and financial giving. Had the situation not been so, then we would have just gone on our merry way, doing what we had always been doing in serving God. But God had something else in mind.
Why could the work of massive evangelization not just happen as CFC-FFL? There are various reasons: (1) Our own evangelization has stalled. (2) The name of CFC has been stained by the crisis, perhaps irreparably. (3) Other groups, in or out of the parish, would normally not give support to a wider work of CFC-FFL, due to having their own works themselves. (4) This would fall short of the privilege of our kenosis, the total humbling and emptying, by which God can then raise, exalt and use us in His strength. (5) God wants the whole Catholic Church herself (versus just certain groups within the Church) to fully embrace the work of the New Evangelization, especially looking to the laity.
New Evangelization? Evangelization itself is 2,000 years old. The message proclaimed cannot change. But the methods and expressions change. In keeping with the times. In response to the demands of the situation. What we are doing is trying to respond to the situation, in a way that is radical and out-of-the-box. That is just fitting, as the work of evangelization is radical and God’s divine work cannot be fitted into our finite sinful minds. “Behold, I make all things new.” (Rev 21:5). The least we can do is to open up our minds and hearts to God’s radical work, hoping we tap on to His mind by the working of His grace.
Thus our response is Live Christ, Share Christ (LCSC). Its VISION is to mainstream Catholic lay evangelization. Its MISSION is to enable all Catholics to meet Christ, live Christ and share Christ. Its work would be to do rapid, massive, persistent, insistent, committed, unrelenting re-evangelization, going down to the grassroots and reaching every Filipino Catholic. Its special mission is to bring back those Catholics who have left the Church.
CFC-FFL is crucial for the success of LCSC. First, LCSC builds on CFC-FFL’s 31 years of wisdom and experience. Second, LCSC depends on the commitment and zeal of CFC-FFL brethren to start and to back up the movement.
How about CFC-FFL? We continue with what we are doing. The works of CFC-FFL and LCSC are complementary and synergistic, not competitive.
Crossroads, often accompanied by crises, are God’s way of bringing His people deeper into His mind and heart. The crisis and split of 1993 brought us to rapid, massive and worldwide evangelization, which was the very intent of God for CFC. The crisis and split of 2007 restored us to our authentic charism, aside from bringing us deeper into the heart of the Catholic Church. Now here we are again, at a crossroad. After 30 years, we have been prepared for public ministry as Jesus was. After more intense formation in the last 5 years of restoration, learning the lessons of Lamentations and of Job, we have been purified. In 2011 we were offered the fullness of God’s strength, but only with full emptying and dying to self. The kenosis is crucial, not optional. “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mk 8:34).
Crossroad. Look for the cross on the road. May we all see and embrace what God intends.