This weekend, I attended my first Committed Servants Weekend for the CFC – Singles for Family and Life. I’ve been in the community for more than 10 years, serving in the youth ministry and I’ve heard a lot of talks, done a lot of workshops, went on different missions, but this time, it was different. I remember my very first time attending the World Youth Congress as the only delegate of our cluster that time and just like this weekend, I am the only delegate of our chapter. In a mere coincidence (or not), that WYC is where I fully said my Yes to the Lord as we went on the stage, raise our hands, and sing “Fearless”.
This weekend is different in the sense that it is a more mature me hearing all those sessions, different in the sense where everyone in the session area are new faces to me, different in the sense where I have been discerning for something. I did not expect anything, what I just look forward before the event is that I will have another Jesus Christ experience, and indeed it was an experience like no other.
I attended a birthday celebration Friday evening and went to sleep over since it was an overnight event, with little sleep, I went ahead and had breakfast with them and did some errands and went on to my journey to Tagaytay. I did not know how to go to the venue, no one is replying to my messages and it seems that the information available online do not have any how to’s on going to the venue. I prayed. As I walked towards the terminal I asked the men who are in charge of the van terminal to Tagaytay, they said that there was a line for that and seeing it was a long line, I said to myself that I will definitely be late and perhaps miss the first session and be there before dinner. As I walk towards the end of the line, a brother shouted my name and shook my hand and said “Oh, Ranze, kanina ka pa namin inaantay”, my worry of not hearing the first session was gone, there in that moment I knew God is up to something. After a few minutes of waiting, we were inside the van and in a few hours, we were already at the venue.
A familiar face was in front out of all the faces I’m seeing that moment, the session had already started, but the good thing is, we were just in time to hear it. As I listen to Kuya Dylan, it was then that I realized that I grew so much in this community, as my first SHOUT master to that moment when I’m listening to the story of the Samaritan woman, it was like God giving me flashbacks of my very first intimate encounter with Him; and yes the title of the first session was The Encounter, and as I look into the program, right after the talk would be the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. I am always in awe of how peaceful and fulfilling it is whenever there would be a Eucharistic exposition, and just like any other exposition, it was a great encounter with the Lord where I am reminded that we will always go back to loving and to a quote from a previous WYC: “Saints are saints because they are radically in love with the Lord”.
Fast forward to the second day, my heart is already fulfilled with the two sessions on the first day, I asked God, “what more?”, my previous household servant prayed over me, I listened to a talk about how God is pursuing me, what more; and there He is again surprising me. People who were with me during conferences, know that when we pray the Holy Rosary, there are times that I feel drowsy, and having to pray the rosary while walking would not make me feel that way and that’s what we did! I pray the rosary, it’s just that because of lack of sleep, and the silence whenever we are in a conference makes me feel drowsy, but that activity reminded me of praying the rosary even more, praying actively not passively.
As we end the weekend, and listen to the session, I was reminded of all the things that God did in my life, from the struggles, victories, and everything in between. As I raise my hands in worship, tears fall out of joy as I answer yet another call from God in serving Him even more.
There are, for me, three takeaways from the CSW. One, our stories, our Christ stories is not yet ending, there is a lot more in stored for us. Second is that, God will meet us despite our sinful nature, shamefulness, God will meet us in our most convenient time. He will be there. Last is that, we just need to recognize God. Knowing that there is God might be different than recognizing God’s presence in our lives. Yes, we know that God exist but we still choose to do what the world tells us to do. Now, we need to recognize God. We need to recognize Him as He meets us in our failures, struggles, and sinfulness. As we recognize the Lord, we now are ready to tell everyone and be a witness to God’s greatness.
My story of my first encounter with the Lord may already be years ago, but my story with the Lord is not yet done. He is not done yet. As I go home, ride a bus, and relive the experience this weekend, I am excited and overjoyed on what else God is preparing me to do. I am ready, because He made me ready to let everyone else encounter Him through me.
(photo credits to CFC – Singles for Family and Life Facebook Page)