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The Real Meaning Of Love More
By Joe Tale, CFC Chairman

When the IC emerged from our September 2014 annual retreat with a new theme—Love More—taken from John 21:15-17, we did not fully anticipate what the theme would require from all of us in community.

We knew that Love More emerged from Jesus’ question to Peter: “Do you love me more than these?” We knew that Jesus asked this same ques-tion three times and Peter’s reply of “Yes, Lord” each time elicited Jesus’s response of “Feed my sheep”. We knew that Jesus was giving Peter three chances to negate the three instances of his betrayal. What we didn’t know then was how far our own understanding of “Feed my sheep” would take us or how much would be expected of us.

As we began to internalize the theme “Love More,” we realized all of us in community are being asked by the Lord to do so much more than we ever did in our entire 33 year history. It was humbling to realize that even as we took pride in our many accomplishments—128 countries and 7 territories, new programs and ministries, our Vatican recognition, testimonials from clergy all over the world—we have actually not done enough. There are 195 countries in the world and we have presence in only 128! There are hundreds of millions of people who don’t know Christ in the world and we brag about our million members. There are millions of children everywhere who do not have the benefit of education and we take pride in the thousands we are sponsoring. There are ten million OFWs and we have not even touched the tip of the iceberg in terms of the families they have left behind.

We also realized that Jesus’ question to Peter, “Do you love me more than these?” takes on special significance when applied to our personal and community life. As we began to look at the implications of this question in relation to loving more, we saw that indeed, we needed to take a second and third look at the obstacles to our service to the Lord. These include our careers, our desires and dreams, our friendships, our hobbies and interests, even the sins and resentments we continue to harbor in our hearts.

It was overwhelming to think about the ramifi-cations of Love More. We thought that since all of us in community are already geared to loving a wider spectrum than simply our families, it would be quite easy to expand our horizons and love more people. We thought it simply meant expressing our love more to those we already love. But God is actually asking us to show that we love Him more by sacrificing more, serving more, doing more,loving even the unlovable.

More and more we realized that it wasn’t that simple. It became clear that indeed, we have done too little and we will continue to do little things in little arenas if we do not ascribe to Loving More in the very real sense that God intends for us.

We are awed and grateful that Pope Francis, at the Mass he celebrated at the Manila Cathedral, used the very same Bible verse that our theme is anchored onJohn 21:15-17as the Gospel reading. We are humbled that our theme is attuned to the spirit that moves in our Church leaders. Indeed, Pope Francis’ entire papal visit had Love More as recurring themewhen he stopped to kiss the children, when he met with the poor, when he embraced the old nuns and priests, when he refused to back away from his commitment to go to Tacloban even in the face of the typhoon, donning a yellow raincoat over his vestments in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands who stood in the rain. 

I salute all the CFC volunteers who, through their very humble contributions, helped in the preparations and conduct of this papal visit. There were more than 22,000 CFC volunteers, some who acted as human shield along the papal route, some who labored for weeks prior to the event as part of the CBCP organizing committees, some who served in the media center, seeing nothing but their computers all day long, knowing that they would never even see the Pope in person. We are proud of you and of the way you showed the true spirit of volunteerism and servanthood.

On a somber note, I also salute the 44 Special Action Force members of the Philippine National Police who lost their lives in an encounter with the MILF. They showed what love of country is all about, what gallantry and nobility truly mean. It is very sad to know that three of the Fallen 44 were members of the Singles for Christ: Police Senior Inspector Ryan B. Pabalinas (who had gotten married and whose wife spoke on behalf of all the widows and families), Police Senior Inspector Gebnat G. Tabdi, and Police Inspector Rennie Tayrus. One of the 44, Russel B. Bilog, Police Officer 1, was the brother of our CFC leader in Cuomo, Italy.

This incident has caused us to resolve to do more for the men and women in uniform. CFC will extend assistance to the families of our fallen breth-ren. But we will also intensify our efforts to bring God’s message to the military schools and camps. 

As we begin the second month of 2015, let our resolve to love more grow stronger, even if we know that loving more could lead to great sacrifices, a lot of work and many difficult challenges ahead. With our great God showing the way, we also know that we can look forward to the great joy that loving more will bring.
Added on Saturday, February 14, 2015



 

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