FACING THE CROSSROAD

Read the Journey of CFC first.

FACING THE CROSSROAD

 

After 30 years of existence, God brought us to a crossroad in 2011. We sought God’s will. What does God want us to become, what does God want us to do, where does God want us to go?

 

Crossroads of the past

 

After the heady massive evangelization of the 1990s, the infidelities in CFC started towards the end of the second millennium. The particular indications of this were the dropping attendance at prayer assemblies, the inadequate financial giving and the conflicts among leaders. Because the warning on these infidelities was not heeded,[1] our membership started to steadily decline from 2001. For an evangelistic community, this was very disturbing.

A crisis began to mount with the work of Gawad Kalinga (GK) in the first years of the third millennium. This became the greatest infidelity, when Christ himself was marginalized and eventually practically discarded by GK. Once again we faced a crossroad. In order to help us discern the right path and recover, we were brought by God to Lamentations for the year 2007. We were given a chance.[2] But again, the warning was not heeded and the lessons of Lamentations were not learned. So the crisis reached a boiling point, and ultimately resulted in the split in CFC in August 2007.

But God brings good out of bad. God raised the remnant CFC-FFL, restored to the authentic CFC charism. We now had another chance. The body was purified. The dissidents were gone. The way was clear. Now we could move ahead according to God’s intent.

 

God had done what He needed to do. He gave us the Lessons of Lamentations, which were not only for 2007 but for all time. He taught us about joy (2008), trust (2009) and the just and righteous Almighty (2010). With the latter, God taught us about redemptive suffering, through the lessons of Job. Sandwiched between the hard teachings of Lamentations and Job were the sustaining virtues of joy and trust. The basic elements for moving forward were planted. We could endure anything and persevere. Thus God gave us the theme of Strength in God for 2011. If we learned our lessons, if we were ready to move ahead with joy and trust no matter how difficult the circumstances, then God would provide us the fullness of His strength. God in fact encouraged us by retracing our history through Isaiah 49:1-7, the story of the suffering Servant of the Lord who would be used for worldwide evangelization.

Alas, it was not to be. The infidelities persisted.

And so once again our evangelization stalled.

The crossroad could have been about the renewed strength of God in pursuing a massive work of worldwide evangelization. Perhaps it still can be. After all, this is why God raised CFC in the first place. This can only happen if the infidelities are overcome.

 

Or God could be pointing us to another crossroad. Whenever there seems to be a massive stumbling block in doing God’s work, His people are faced with two options. One, God may want us to simply persevere and doggedly go on, pushing against that stumbling block. Or two, God might be indicating to us another route.

We explore the possibilities of the latter by looking at how God has acted in CFC. We have gone through three stages in our relationship with God. Each stage has brought us deeper into the heart of the Roman Catholic Church, and thus the heart of God.

 

Stages in the life of CFC

 

The first stage was from 1981 to 1993. CFC started as an outreach of Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon Community (LNP). We were a trans-parochial community that took on the culture of an ecumenical grandparent.[3] We were Catholic but outside the mainstream of the Catholic Church.

The second stage was from 1993 to 2007. CFC split from LNP and took on 5 bishops as Spiritual Directors. Now we were within the embrace of the Church. However, we remained trans-parochial. We then were like a parallel community to the Church, like railroad tracks that were going in the same direction but never intersecting.

The third stage was from 2007 to 2011. CFC split again, and CFC-FFL was established. We entered more deeply into the heart of the Church. One, we consecrated ourselves to Mama Mary. Two, we enshrined as one of our Core Values our being a servant to the Church. Three, we actively pursued serving in our parishes and becoming parish-based.[4] Four, we recognized a member’s service to the parish as his/her service in CFC-FFL.[5] Five, our Spiritual Director, Fr Francis Gustilo,[6] has been very actively involved in our life and mission, including pastoral visits to different places in the world.

Now we have entered a fourth stage. It is our involvement in generic evangelization for and on behalf of the Church through her parishes, without recruitment into CFC-FFL. This has evolved into the Live Christ, Share Christ (LCSC) movement. This is our charism being placed at the service of the Church.

 

What now?

 

The 2011 crossroad, on our 30th year, could have been just the empowerment that came from having been formed in the third stage as CFC-FFL. But throughout the third stage, the weeds and the wheat were being sown in CFC-FFL. There was restoration, but the infidelities persisted. One result is that our evangelization stalled, even as God continued to use us.

So again the question: could God be pointing us to another direction in this crossroad? Should we simply have gone on with our third stage? Well, we are now moving strongly into the fourth stage. As we saw in Isaiah 49:6, it is too little to be raised as CFC and to be restored as CFC-FFL. How then does the work become light to the nations so that Jesus’ salvation may reach to the ends of the earth? It is when the Church herself takes on the work. For us, that translates to doing work on behalf and in the name of the Church.

What needs to happen? The Church needs to mainstream Catholic lay evangelization. It has to be a conscious goal and persistent effort for every Catholic to meet Christ, live Christ and share Christ. This is the Live Christ, Share Christ (LCSC) movement.

 



[1] Review the book “Witnesses to the Ends of the Earth,” particularly Chapter 16 on “Threats to the Work.”

[2] Read the book “Forty Days of Lamentations.”

[3] LNP was part of an international ecumenical umbrella of covenant communities called The Sword of the Spirit.

[4] With a paper of instruction to that end.

[5] In the second stage, although a CFC member served in his/her parish, we still looked to him/her doing service in CFC.

[6] He is a member of the International Theological Commission of the Vatican.

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