Villegas to Asian families: ‘Keep your hearts on fire for God’

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MANILA, May 15, 2014 – The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Tuesday urged Christian families in Asia to keep the fervor in their hearts and rekindle their zealousness of faith, so they may be “signs and symbols of hope for the rest of the families in the world.”
“We pray that every Christian family in Asia, every Christian family in the Philippines, will be a family of fire for the Lord. It is a family that is zealous for the Lord, constantly looking for the Lord, restless without the Lord,” Villegas added.

Being lights of hope

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, in a mass opening the Asian Conference of the Family (ACF), stressed the importance of putting God at the center of family life, noting that it is only through Him that families may truly be “lights of hope” to others.

A crucifix is led out in procession after the celebration of the holy mass at the Asian Conference of the Family (ACF), which has been ongoing from May 13 to 16, 2014. (Photo: CBCP News)

“You have heard it time and again that we can only create fire if we ourselves are on fire,” Villegas said in his homily during the Conference for Educators and Catechists held at the Paco Catholic School auditorium.

The prelate urged the faithful to seek Christ, not because of favors or fear of hell, but “because there is fervor in our hearts, there is fire in our hearts and our soul is thirsting for the living God.”

“I hope you are here, formators of families here and in Asia, because you have been touched by the fire of Jesus. Having been touched by the fire of Jesus, we cannot but share the same fire, the same zeal that we have received and experienced from the Lord,” Villegas said.

‘Only obedience can save’

The CBCP president also noted the importance of obedience, saying that it is only through this virtue that the faithful may find the Lord.

“You want to find God? Obey? Why must we obey? Because love is obedient and it is by love and obedience that Christ saved us from sin, in the same way that it was the disobedience of our parents that brought us judgment and damnation,” he said.

“We obey whom we love…because love is obedient and only obedience can save. Only obedience can reverse the curse of sin that is in us,” he added.

The ACF, running from May 13 to 16, gathers thousands of religious, educators, lay faithful, and politicians all over Asia to tackle the present-day situation of the human family.

Among the key people who graced the convention is Bishop John Laffitte, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family; Papal Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto; several bishops from different Asian countries; Filipino lawmakers; and other public officials are also present. (Jennifer Orillaza)

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