In the CFC Pearl Book, Jimmy Santiago wrote about CFC themes as prophecies. These prophecies are what inspire and guide the entire global Couples for Christ family in the formation of God’s CFC army. These themes are prayed upon fervently and meditated on by the members of the International Council and their spouses, with the global family praying with them during the entire weekend exercise.
And so, from August 12 to 14, 2022, the CFC International Council once again went on a discernment weekend to ask the Lord for His marching orders for the community for 2023. And the global family of Couples for Christ rejoices as the CFC IC announced in a letter released on August 15, 2022 its theme for 2023: CHRIST HEALS! PICK UP YOUR MAT AND GO! This theme is anchored on Mark 2:10-11:
“But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”— he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”
As in previous years, the International Council and their spouses went into deep prayer and reflection in order to more clearly hear the whispers of the Spirit. They began with the Holy Mass followed by the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and an hourly vigil that started at 9:00 PM Friday, August 12, and ended at 6:00 AM the following day, Saturday, with another Holy Mass and recollection given by Fr. Jhonatan Letada, SVD. Fr. Letada for provided the spiritual framework that greatly aided the CFC IC in their meditation and prayers.
From the beginning of the discernment exercises, the CFC IC felt a very strong sense that the 2022 theme, Christ Heals!, should continue to be the community’s rousing call, with the pandemic still looming over the world, and the threat of monkey pox, dengue, and other diseases. However, forgiveness was one major element emphasized in the 2023 theme.
“For God to forgive our sins, as emphasized in our 2022 theme, we need to embrace our reciprocal responsibility to also forgive,” the CFC IC wrote.
“Rise, pick up your mats and go!” is a clear call to action for the community to leave comfort zones, pick up the mat of woundedness, and have faith and a complete trust in God that CFC will receive the grace to overcome challenges and obstacles.
The CFC IC exhorts, “The Lord is giving us another year to live out this plan—to effect God’s healing power through us, to allow ourselves to be used for His plan to heal the world. Let us not squander this time we are given. Let us go forth, and like the paralytic weighed down by his affliction, let us throw off our own paralysis of neglect, inaction, and apathy, and indeed RISE and GO!”
This is not the first time that CFC has been urged by the Lord to use a theme for the second straight year. In 2019, the Spirit drove a strong sense for the community to continue with the 2018 theme “Rekindle the Gift. Fulfill Your Ministry”, but with a specific call to “Live as Children of Light”. (CFC Communications)