Monday, March 07, 2005

Journey of faith…on the way to Rome

I was in Luzern, Switzerland yesterday to attend the CFC Pre-Conference (for CFC Switzerland) for the preparation of the Mega-Conference in Rome this coming July. CFC Europe will be celebrating its 10th year anniversary.

I have been to many CFC events but I’m not really part of it. All my family here is part of the “community” and I just tag along because I want to see new places and because all my family is going. I was never forced into going but I came any way.

They have invited me many times to join but I was not ready to join. I had been part of the Youth for Christ, one of the many ministries of the CFC, in my college days but was disillusioned because it served to be a social clique rather than a spiritual group. The other ministries are Kids for Christ, Singles for Christ, Handmaids of the Lord (for women aged 42 and up, without husbands or widowed), Servants of the Lord (for men aged 42 and up, without wives or widowers), and Couples for Christ (for married couples).

All CFC ministries are designed to involve the whole family in prayer and worship. It is believed that a “family that prays together, stays together.” It is a Catholic group that seeks to evangelize and spread God’s love through community worship and volunteerism.

I had been putting off joining SFC because I wasn’t convinced that it would do anything for me and I’d just be part of the hypocrisy that was the YFC in college. But seeing the work the CFC has done here in Switzerland and in the Philippines, I am considering changing my mind.

A CFC gathering is usually composed of a praise fest which kicks off the gathering and closes it, and a talk in the middle. There can be many talks depending on the time allotted.

One of the most interesting talks I have ever encountered in the CFC was the talk given by Bro. Ansel yesterday. He used to be what he described as a “screaming faggot” but has made a commitment to change his ways and is now married with two children. It is always inspiring to hear talks like this because it takes a lot of faith and strength. He seems to be happy with his decision and has often cited God’s calling to him. That giving up the homosexual life is not as hard as humility.

I was particularly struck by his recounting a parable of the Cross. A man asked God, “How can I enter the kingdom of God?” He said, “Take up your cross and follow me.” And suddenly, a big wooden cross appeared before him. It was heavy. He then took up his cross and treaded the path towards God’s kingdom. As he walked and walked, the cross got heavier. He decided to chop off parts of it so that it can become lighter. He continued to walk and just as he thought the Lord wasn’t looking, he chopped off some more until he reached a deep ravine. Across it was God’s kingdom. He wondered and was puzzled how he could go to the other side. He asked God, “God, how do I get across?” God said, “Use the cross. It was perfectly measured to be put as a bridge to the other side. It is even balanced, that’s why there’s a horizontal bar.” The man was aghast, holding his horizontal bar, all that was left of his cross.

Bro. Ansel said, “We often short-change God because we want our burdens to be lighter.”

I guess, even if we don’t know it, God really knows better. Suffering is part of human life, but all suffering gains meaning if we look to Him. There is a reason for everything.

There is always the handy saying, “What doesn’t kill us will only make us stronger.” But I guess, we only get stronger because we have faith in Him. There is a passage in the letters of Paul, “Do not boast unless you boast of Him.”

Bro. Ansel concluded by saying, “We cannot really claim to own anything, except for our sins. For sin cannot come from God.”

As Easter Sunday approaches, I hope we can reflect on the Cross and the Passion of Jesus Christ, who died innocently to save us from our sins.

No comments: