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A Private International Association of the Faithful of Pontifical Right


Monday, February 13, 2017

THE COLD weather in Baguio failed to dampen the fire in the hearts of more than  2,000  members  of the Metro Manila Mission Core who attended the annual weekend retreat.

The  retreat,  held  last January 20 to 22, had the theme “Strong and Faithful.”   The  theme  is  based on CFC’s theme for 2017: “Stand Firm in the Faith”, anchored on 1 Corinthians 16:13-14  -  “Be  on your guard,  stand  firm  in  the faith,  be  courageous,  be strong. Your  every  act should be done with love.” 

The theme “Strong and Faithful” was reinforced by the army boot camp stage design and the precisionlike pacing of all the talks and sharings.  The  entire weekend’s talks were knit together  into  a cohesive whole  through  a  couple (Manny and Ditas Garcia) who not  only  presented the prologue and epilogue or  the  introduction and the summary of the talks, but  who  also  connected one talk with another.

Talk  1,  given  by  Shok Ariola,  spoke  of  “A  New Springtime.”   The  talk, meant  to  inspire,  urged the  participants  to  recognize in  themselves  a newness in Christ through the  power  of  the  Holy Spirit, to engage in deeper introspection with eyes of faith,  and  to reveal  and remind  themselves  that Jesus  Christ  is  the  same yesterday,  today  and  tomorrow. 

Shok exhorted everyone not to lose sight of values which he embodied in the acronym  SPRING  which either enhance or obstruct the  newness  of  spirit:   a Sense of wonder; the power of  Pride  to rule  in  our hearts; the Release of our own  strength;  Intimacy with God; our tendency to downplay Newness within us;  and Gratefulness.   He ended  by  encouraging everyone  to  continue  to cling to Christ.

Bong Arjonillo presented  Talk  2;  “Keep  Alert.” The  talk presented the ideals  of  marriage  based on St. Paul’s definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8,  identified  hot-button issues  that  disrupt  the harmony and peace in the home and listed the ways couples can keep alert and thus  keep  conjugal  love alive.   The  issues  he presented  found  resonance in the couples present and led them to the realization that indeed, they have to be  alert  to  the  signs and obstacles to a harmonious and  Spirit-filled  married life.

Talk  3  was  all  about how  to  “Stand  Firm  in the Faith.” Jimmy Ilagan defined what is authentic faith  and  described  Jesus as  the model  of  faithfulness. He also enumerated some ways by which every Christian  can  stand  firm in the faith.

Jimmy  defined  faith as  believing  in  God  by listening and seeing Him move in our lives. He also emphasized that standing firm  in the  faith  means denying ourselves, taking up  our  crosses  daily and following Jesus.

Joe  Yamamoto  tackled one  of  the  verses  in  the CFC  theme  – “Be  Strong and Courageous.” The talk aimed to inspire everyone to confront the issues they need to overcome. These issues are our own Jordan River, and like Joshua, we all need to cross it. The talk also gave instructions on  how  to  live  out  the marks of a true follower of Christ. Joe likened everyone to a soldier of Christ who needs  to  be  strong and courageous in countering  evils  in  the world through a virtuous life.

Talk  5  was  “Exuberant  Love,”  described  by Lito Tayag as supernatural love that comes from above,  a  gift  from  God. Exuberant love is the fruit of  deep  prayer  and  conversion.

Lito  stated  that  the greatest  obstacle  to achieving exuberant love is  our  own  self  and  our sinfulness,  weaknesses and  wrong habits.   Obstacles  also  include  the evils of the world and the machinations of the evil one.   Lito  offered  great hope  when  he affirmed that  in  countering  our own  weaknesses  and  the world, we are never alone because  we  have  access to the power of the Holy Spirit who guides us to our true destination- heaven. (Z. A. Gimenez)


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