FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
SURVIVING AND THRIVING – 9
September 21, 2013
Just when we thought our camino was done, there is a postscript. We went to Finisterre, on the West-most part of Galicia in Spain. The ancients thought this was the end of the earth. This is where there is a kilometer zero marker. So our lessons are not over. Here then are 7 more principles of “Surviving as a Servant Leader, and Even Thriving.”
Principle #57: Look to the tandem of Jesus and Mary in battling the enemy. In many parts of Galicia they have the cruzeido, a high stone cross, on one side with Jesus crucified and on the other side Mary. They are back to back on the cross. Ever see movies where the two heroes are surrounded by the enemy and they are back-to-back facing them? In the fall described in Genesis, God put enmity between the offsprings of the woman and the serpent. The woman is Mary, the new Eve. Her offspring will crush the head of the serpent. She as the Immaculate Conception is depicted as stepping on the serpent. Then in the heavenly war described in Revelation, the war is triggered when the ancient serpent tried to devour the son born of the woman, who was clothed with the sun. The serpent failed and pursued the woman and her child. The woman is Mary. In the ancient confrontation, as it still is today, the devil wars against Jesus and Mary. You as servant leader, also engaged in spiritual warfare, should have your life centered on Jesus, but also look to Mary as your intercessor, mediatrix and protector. Pray to Jesus, but also pray to Mary. March under the banner of the Lord, but also under the banner of Our Lady.
Principle #58: Be faithful to Peter and to the Church magisterium. In the Portes de Galicia in Muros (a port town), we went to the church of San Pedro. I went up to the church tower, which had 56 steps. We have had 56 principles, right? So going upward never ends, until we reach heaven! That is why we have 7 more principles now. Anyway, Peter is the pope, the head of our Roman Catholic Church, and the official teaching of the Church is the magisterium. The recent popes (John Paul II and Benedict XVI; Pope Francis is still on honeymoon with the secular media and the liberal establishment) have been the object of attacks by secular reproductive health forces, because they are out to destroy the Church, which is the only strong institution standing up for faith, family and life. But there is also an enemy within, those bishops, priests, nuns and laypeople who reject some key aspects of the authentic teaching of the church, as on contraception. As a servant leader, you must be faithful to the pope and to the Church magisterium (one of our Core Values is being a servant to the Church). You must defend them against attacks, coming both from without and from within the Church.
Principle #59: Never forget that the devil is a prowling lion waiting for someone to devour, especially a servant leader such as you, so always be on guard. We passed by the Carnota township, where they have the longest beach in Galicia (7 km). A local legend is that the devil walks the beach night and day. Well, why not? The nice beaches, especially in Europe, are associated with scantily-clad women, even nudity, with drinking and sex, or just with secular recreation. On such beaches, many are led to sin, or are just absorbed with worldly pleasure (not necessarily sinful). The wily devil uses direct allure to sin, such as lust and illicit sex, or distraction from spirituality by leading people to human pleasures and pursuits. So always be on guard. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, even when enjoying time on the beach with your family.
Principle #60: Know that your power comes from the Holy Spirit, who provides richly for your needs. We passed by Ezaro village, where there was a large waterfall with roaring waters (there was a small hydro electric plant). Downstream were huge rocks, and I clambered atop some of them. In your service you are not left to your own devices. Rather, since your work is Jesus’ own work, you are empowered by his Spirit. The power of the Spirit is like a roaring waterfall that generates electric power. The Spirit is sent by Jesus, who is the Rock you stand on, together with the earthly rock Jesus appoints, the pope, on whom you also stand. That is indeed electrifying power.
Principle #61: Your work does not end until you get to the end. Our camino was ended yesterday when we reached the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. But today there was more. Today we reached Finisterre, with its marker at Kilometer 0. Your work will not end until the end, since there will always be those who need to be evangelized and transformed up to the time of Jesus’ return. While you are strong and able, you give your all. When you are old or infirm or already at the departure lounge, you still give your all, serving in whatever way you can, even just with interceding for the mission.
Principle #62: You have been given the privilege to bring God’s life to people. At Finisterre, the coast is called Costa da Morte (Coast of Death). This was because there were many shipwrecks and deaths there. The evil one brings death, spiritual death. God’s work is to bring life, and we share in that work. You should realize how important your service is, how you can help spell the difference between death and life. Your heart must bleed when you see a brother not living the fullness of God’s life, or even teetering on spiritual death. You must rejoice when someone repents and is restored to God and is brought back to the Church. God’s work is salvation. Such is your work as well.
Principle #63: As part of CFC-FFL and its worldwide mission, your work is to be Christ’s witness to the ends of the earth. We reached Finisterre, which the ancients regarded as the end of the earth. You too are to bring the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ to all peoples and to all the lands. You might do actual mission to foreign countries. You might be in touch with relatives and friends in other nations by phone, email or social networks. You might post spiritual matters in Facebook. You pastor brethren who would also do these things. You intercede for our worldwide work. There are many ways by which you are able to actively be engaged in our worldwide mission. So go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.
You may not have thought of many of these principles when you accepted being a servant leader. Perhaps that is why you had such difficulties, and even thought at one point of giving up. But now I hope your perspective has changed. There will still be difficulties and challenges, but your greater understanding will help you endure, to survive and even thrive. You have been given a great privilege. How blessed you are, even as you become an instrument of blessing for many others that you care for.
Walk on, till the end.
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