A reflection on the book El Camino de Santiago
By Dylan Reyes, CFC FFL Fulltime Worker
A mentor once told me that it is important to embrace the heart and mind of your community’s founder. I think he is right, it is really crucial for every community member to have at least a fragment of the heart and mind of the founder so that the charism and the work that God has planted on the founder and the community that God raised will continue.
That is why reading this book has been very beneficial for me. I love reading Tito Frank’s books about servant-leadership. It gives me an overview of his leadership style and it inspires me to follow his example so that I too can be the leader God wants me to be in our community. Yet, while reading the book, it also made me realized how far I am from the ideal servant that God can use to further His kingdom. This realization has made me more convicted to improve and to continue to grow in servant-leadership. Let me share to you my top ten struggles in servant-leadership and how the principles in “El Camino” has challenged me to move forward.
Struggle Number 1: I can be onion-skinned at times
I grow up in the community filled with love and joy. I was mentored by couple coordinator who I look up to and leaders who I admire. Their love and encouragement allows me to be the servant that I am today. I remember that they usually say that ‘don’t focus on me rather focus on the Lord because I can hurt and disappoint you”. When I heard it for the first time, I thought that it will be impossible for such good people to hurt and disappoint me but through the years I learned that they are right. Our leaders can hurt us, especially those whom we are really close. But we just need to focus on the Lord and choose not to be affected because it is the Lord whom you serve and not our leaders.
Struggle Number 2: I forget that Everyone has a Long Way to Go
My second struggle is connected with my wrong notion that when you are in the community you are already with the company of holy people. Through the years I have learned that when you are in a community you are with the company of people striving to be holy. The operative word there is “STRIVING”! All of us in the community is trying our best to be Holy and because we are still here on earth then there is a big chance that we will fall. I realized that I need to be merciful and understanding as a leader because all of us are struggling. I should not be judgmental of others because for all I know my failure in growing in holiness might be the cause of other peoples hurts in the community.
Struggle Number 3: Sometimes I just want to serve when I feel it
Principle number 12 says that we are to serve in or out of season. I will admit that once you grow old in service this will be a difficult principle to follow. You see when I started serving I am in the company of good friends. People who I grew up in community; that is why it is easier to serve but as I grew old most of my friends are serving in different ministries already. We are in different services, doing different things and we are facing our challenges apart from each other. That is why frustration and desperation can get the best of me at times. This principle reminded me that God gave me my friends and the moments we shared in community as a fuel for me to go when the goings get tough. I should focus in serving God and that is a call that I most respond everyday because I love the Lord.
Struggle Number 4: I failed to be grateful for the little joys that God gave me
I tend to focus on the big victories and see God’s faithfulness and goodness only on these events. This is the reason why when I don’t have these experiences I felt like God has left me alone in my service. What I fail to realize is that He is constantly affirming me and encouraging me through the little joys that He is giving me. That is why I should train myself to see God’s little blessing and be grateful to Him so that I can continue to be passionate in His service.
Struggle Number 5: Sometimes the lure of the world attracts me
Principle number 30 reminds us that the path to holiness is narrow and the path to damnation is wide. It is hard to follow the Lord especially if everything in this world is telling you not to follow Him. There are times where my personal ambitions and desires has distracted me from doing my real goal and that is to be with the Lord. This principle inspired me to just continue on my path even if it is hard and difficult because in the end my real price is the Lord.
Struggle Number 6: I get absorbed in my rest
Serving the Lord is fun but it can be hard and difficult also. That is why there are times where you will aspire to find some rest. I too desire to have some rest after a long mission or after serving in various events. There is nothing wrong in this desire and to long for a much deserve rest but the struggle that I have is that I tend to enjoy so much of my rest that it make it hard for me to go back serving again. This principle reminded me that rest should be a relief and not a trap. To think that you need more and more rest is not anymore a blessing from God but a temptation from the evil one. So rest but look forward in serving again.
Struggle Number 7: I tend to focus only in the good work of the Lord in our community.
Before the split I tend to see that our work in CFC is the only real good work that God is doing in the Church. I usually belittle the work of other ministries and communities because in my mind they cant be compared to the bigger work that our community is doing. But the split in 2007 changes me. That makes me realize that you cannot belittle the work of the HS in the different groups in the Church. But I must admit that it still continue to be a struggle for me especially now that God is blessing again the work of our hands. That is why instead of focusing on the work, I focus to the one who blesses the work in the Church and that is the Lord.
Struggle Number 8: I forget that suffering and pains can be a blessing
I don’t what to experience suffering and pain! I do everything just to avoid it. But I realized that the only way to grow in holiness and be closer to the Lord is through the way of the cross and that path is filled with suffering and pain. As I look back in my life in community, I realized that those who have given me greater victories and the experieces where I endure much suffering and pain. That is why I need to embrace pain and suffering with joy because only in embracing it can I grow to be the person God wants me to be.
Struggle Number 9: Always put Mama Mary in a special spot in your life
Servant-leadership is hard but when you have a mother that that cares of you and encourages you then it will not be as hard as it seems. Through the years I tend not to give special devotion to Mama Mary but as I look back as well I realize that Mama Mary has always been part of my journey. She is always there in all of my challenges and victories. She is a mother who really cares and that is why I decided to grow in my devotion to her.
Struggle Number 10: Be Pure
God uses everyone but how effectively He can use you depends on your cooperation to Him. I can never be a good instrument of God if I continue to fail in purity. To be pure means there should be nothing in me that is not of God. This is a real struggle because it is easy to be contaminated through the temptations that the world is throwing at us. But to focus on the Lord is to be pure for Him!
Servant leadership is a tough call but it is a call that God has given us and a call that God is willing to equip us in order to respond. I pray that God will continue to bless me so that I can be the servant leader He wants me to be.