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A Private International Association of the Faithful of Pontifical Right


Spirituality of the heart
Thursday, January 18, 2018

Relating and tying together the Rekindle Conference of the previous weekend with the Solemn Charge Retreat scheduled on January 19 to 21, 2018, IC member and Pastoral Formation Office Director Rouquel Ponte directed the CFC Mission Core towards one’s identity and the spirituality of one’s heart.


Ponte narrated, “Famous American novelist Mark Twain once said, ‘The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.’ St. Catherine of Sienna likewise shared, ‘Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.’ Picking up from these famous quotes, I believe that understanding life and its purpose should be personal.” He added, “Being in CFC, we must add a missionary dimension to understanding life and its purpose.”


Understanding one’s purpose is quite pertinent to CFC’s theme for 2018. Why? Because as  the shining light of Christ is the one given to the community, CFC is privileged to carry it, not only in our each person’s current reality but beyond, even to the ends of the earth.

He began with the story of St. John the Baptist who asked Jesus, “Who are you? Are you the Messiah? Are you the one who was prophesized? Are you the one who’s going to set us free?” These questions play an important part in realizing one’s purpose, meaning, direction, and even one’s own identity.


Defining spirituality

Ponte described spirituality as the attention to the life of the spirit in the people and in contemplating the unspeakable beauty of the Lord.

“Spirituality is not about what we do, but who we are, and who we will become as we live our lives,” he added. He also emphasized that it is important that one’s identity be based on the calling that the Lord has given in baptism, because that is something that cannot be taken away from anyone.

As for leaders in Couples for Christ, the role of every person or one’s service can change and may even be taken away, but Ponte reminded the congregation with one truth that is constant: “Our being sons and daughters of God will remain because God continues to love us.”

Spirituality therefore, looks at life by seeking to experience and understand the movements of one’s own heart and the heart of Jesus. In order to elaborate the spirituality of one’s heart, Ponte first explained and shared the three steps to truth according to St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

  • discovering the truth about oneself, which begins with the virtue of humility;
  • moving through compassion, which St. Bernard describes as the lens through which one discovers the truth about others;
  • resting in the silence of attentive wordless prayer, where one opens oneself to God’s truth—truth about ourselves, about others, about God, with which we are lifted to see what is out of sight.

Ponte shared, “It is always with this truth and compassion that we must view our other significant relationships. Otherwise, when biases and prejudice set in, then we are put off track. So it’s important that charity resides in our hearts when we relate and we try to seek what is the truth about others.”


St. Bernard recommends wordless prayer today as it is in silence that will open to the heart of God’s presence whether felt or unfelt,” he added. “St. Bernard alludes an expanded heart, a heart that is given itself to the love of God. It is an overflowing heart because God’s love by nature gives itself away. It’s not seeking for one’s own benefit but its intent is to always give it away,” Ponte shared.


“We may say a loving heart is a generous heart because we human beings love imperfectly and so our identity as children of love, as generous givers of God’s love to others, will always remain imperfect,” Ponte described. He added, “But if we persevere and grow in grace and in love, and in our identity as children of God, then overtime, we will move from imperfection towards God’s perfection.”


Formation in Our Journey of Faith

Formation in one’s journey of faith begins with grace, centers on conversion and transformation, and eventually, leads to holiness. Part of the challenge of formation is learning to be patient with the process.

Ponte revealed, “Beginning with God’s grace which we receive in our baptism, and in our renewal movement, CFC, we realize that grace of being loved by the Lord, and the beautiful experience. Because of this grace and one’s openness to allow grace to work, then conversion and transformation happens.”

“No matter where we are in our stage of life, God continues to transform us and offer His great love for us,” he added. Ponte continued, “The end goal of that is sanctification, enjoying heaven here on earth and eventually in the life eternal.”


This ongoing conversion is an essential element in spirituality. It is important that this kind of holiness is really a quest, an aim and a goal in our day to day life, moving towards the future. Ponte further shared how CFC can be transformed in relation to the CFC Core Values: Pro-God, Pro-Family and Pro-Poor. In his session last January 13, CFC Chairman Melo Villaroman Jr., translated these values thus:


     C-hrist our purpose, mover and center

     H-ome (Family as our special gift and calling)

     R-espect for life

     I-nternational Missions

     S-erving the least

     T-ransformation to holiness is a journey (of faith)

“When you put all of these together, it is a beautiful way of illustrating what CFC is all about based on its core values,” Ponte underscored.


The Movements of the Heart

Ponte believes that the movements of the hearts help the faithful grow in a spirituality that allows the grace of God to transform and help in the journey to holiness.


He pointed four points that allow a person’s heart to grow:


  • Encounters with God or God-experience, where one experience scriptures, sacraments, prayer and meditation through other people. Ponte reminded, “It is important to be aware when God wants to have an encounter with us, so let us be attentive and have a discerning heart.”
  • Deepening our intimacy and friendship with God - a reminder that God’s love is unconditional and we are loved because God chose to love us.
  • Conversion and transformation through accepting God’s love
  • Transformation that impacts our relationships


He continued to remind everyone that the greatest gifts of the Spirituality of the Heart is that it integrates three things: Life and Thoughts; Life in Scripture; Life and Reflection.


“We only grow by taking up our cross and following the Lord because this is the way to discipleship,” Ponte reiterates. He continued to remind CFC that life is a series of long ‘letting go’ events and what is important is to be prepared, to wait until the Lord comes to transform every person’s life.

“For transformation to happen and for us to be instruments of salvation and transformation, we need deepen our relationship with the Lord,” he said. At the end of his talk, Ponte reminded everyone of this year’s CFC Theme: Rekindle the Gift… Fulfill Your Ministry.


“Rekindle the gift God offered, accept it, open it, use it and share it. Fulfill your ministry by shining bright the light of Christ, to transform and grow in holiness,” Ponte recapped.


“I believe that when we progress from offering towards sharing in the celebration, then we are truly ready in the mission of 2018 and onwards,” he added. He ended his talk with a quote from Evangelii Gaudium: “…all of us are called to mature in our work as evangelizers, We want to have a better training (Formation), a deepening love (A heart of God and God’s People), and a clearer witness to the Gospel (A Life of Holiness).

Ponte hoped that for the days to come, the Pastoral Formation Office may continue to contribute to the journey of faith of Couples for Christ in forming the minds, the hands and the hearts of every one. (Andrelene Veloso)




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