The Lord has been very good to us this year with the gift of life, health, family and community. In our Christian life, through our community in CFC, we have serve and attended a lot of teachings, formation and conferences, not to mention series of one on one session.
What have all these activities done to us? Did it made us more loving?
If I may ask, how many Sunday masses you have already attended since you have memory? This is not even counting the weekday masses you have attended. What did these masses did to you? Did it transform you? Have you become a better person?
I am asking these questions, because it is important for us to know that service should be transformative or else it is useless and meaningless. When we do service, it should change us for good. It cannot be that we are not change when we are in the service of God, or else it is but a show or for personal fulfillment. Then it is no service at all.
Service changes us, and not just the person we are serving. Service is selfless, it therefore connotes an exchange of selflessness and therefore transformative.
It is in growing in holiness while serving the Lord through our community that we become more attune with God. This is what we call the growth in personal relationship with Him. We can listen to Him and we can know if He is the one talking because we have grown deeper in our friendship with Him. Every time we have decision to make, big or small, it is easy to discern Gods will for us.
So, one thing I hope every one of us is growing is in the area of discernment. Overly used word but very important and crucial in our stage of life. SFC is a discernment age. In this stage of our life, we are more concern about our vocation, career and even faith. We ask, what job will I take, am I for married life, religious vocation or single blessedness, and or we ask, why am I feeling lonely and incomplete, where am I going, what am I going to do?
I remember one time I felt so inspired while was praying that after I finished I walked back home feeling so high admiring at the tress and grass on the side. I asked the Lord, “Lord, is this you inspiring me or satan deceiving me?” Remember satan is the father of deception and lies. (If you want to know more about this, I highly recommend to read the Spiritual Exercises/Discernment of Saint Ignatius)
There is a need for a closer and deeper relationship with Jesus so that in our discernment we will truly hear the Lord and not someone else.
It is only in a relationship that has taken root can we know if Jesus is the one talking to us.
Only in a genuine relationship can we truly know each other.
Only if we are anchored in this relationship with Jesus can we truly “Love More’ than what we can imagine.
We have so many teachings on “Love More” this year. So, have we loved more? In loving more, have we grown deeper in our relationship with the Lord? So that in our discernment we can truly hear the right voice and therefore make the right decision?
After loving more, our challenge is to love beyond. Loving beyond is to be discerning and discernment becomes fruitful only if we have a deeper relationship with Jesus.
Decision with God is discernment while decision without God is forecasting. If we decide without God we are like forecasting weather, errors abound.
All of us are here because at some point someone ask us to lead and we discerned and decided to be leaders. I hope so.
Why are we serving? Why are we planning? Why did I say yes to this?
1. Some say, it is a distraction “good distraction” from work routine.
2. Others say it’s finding fulfillment, a deeper meaning of life and existence.
3. Others still say, they genuinely want to have a deeper relationship with Jesus and put His teaching into practice in their lives.
These are all of course in our point of view. But in Gods point of view, He had always been seeking us out, extending His love to us, saying “Only in me can you truly find joy and meaning in life.”
So no matter what our reasons of serving, or planning or just being here; be it a distraction from work, a fulfillment or a genuine desire for relationship with Jesus is but our response to a God who loves us deeply and cares for us passionately. Then our service becomes more of an excuse for us to grow in this relationship that finds its fulfillment and fullness in Christ.
Rejoice Pray Give Thanks
This deeply rooted relationship with Jesus is very evident the Letter of Saint Pauls’ to the Philippians 4:4-7.
Saint Paul was imprisoned when he wrote this. Yet in this same letter, the joy of Saint Paul was so evident even while he was in prison. He exhorted them to rejoice! Have no anxiety but instead ask God with thanksgiving! Then you will have peace in your heart, he said.
Only a man with deep relationship with Jesus can have a joyful attitude while in prison. I would say this is because He knows Jesus! He knows that everything He said He will do and that suffering will not have the last say. Jesus will!
He knows he will never be where God is not, because if he looks at his past, he was never been where God was not.
That is why, wherever we are or will be: whether in prison, in work or out of work, in agony, in breakups or breakthroughs, and or in dilemma over some decision to make, we are never be where God is not. Because if we look back at our own lives, we where never been where God was not.
Therefore we are joyful in whatever circumstances we are in.
What does the Letter to the Philippians 4:4-7 means to you personally and as a community?