Ongoing Formation with the Minister:  To CHOOSE


Catechetical Foundation of the Archdiocese of Manila (CFAM) catechists once again gathered to listen to the reflection of our very own minister, Fr. Carlo Magno Marcelo as he shares with us his reflection on the book Let Us Dream by Pope Francis.  

The talk started with a review of the last 2 month’s ongoing formation and headed on to the second part of the talk entitled To Choose

Fr. Carlo reminded us of the basic foundations that we are loved by God, we are called to be people of service and solidarity and we need a healthy capacity for silent reflection or prayer. 

According to Fr. Carlo, all true values are non-negotiable like the Beatitudes of Jesus which is the grammar of the Kingdom, the Catholic Social Teaching, the preferential option for the poor, the common good, the universal destination of goods, solidarity, subsidiarity.

How do we apply these to our choices?  The answer is through the Discernment of Spirits

What is discernment?  Discernment is to think through our decisions and actions. Not simply through rational calculation but by listening to His Spirit where we recognize God’s motives, invitation and will. It should be clear to us that we do not choose what is wrong or immoral but we discern among the good options.

The Spirit shows us new things which the Church calls "signs of the times."  Discerning the signs of the times allows us to make sense of change. So, we listen to the voice of the Good and the Bad Spirit.

Where the Spirit is present, there is always a movement toward unity but never toward uniformity. The Spirit always preserves the legitimate plurality of different groups and points of view, reconciling them in their diversity. 

In his talk, the minister asked the catechists to take note of the words: unity, not uniformity, plurality, reconciliation and diversity. He also cautioned us that if a group or person were to insist that their way is the only way of reading a sign, that would be a warning light.

To dream of a different future, we need to choose fraternity over individualism as our organizing principle.  Fraternity is a sense of belonging to each other and to the whole of humanity.

The Pope, in his book, Let Us Dream reinvigorates the practice of synodality. From the Greek word syn-odos or “walking together.”  He believes that “differences are expressed and polished until you reach a harmony that enables us to move forward on the same path."

Being aware of the support of the Holy Father in the practice of synodality, Fr. Carlo leaves us with these questions: How can we live synodality more in CFAM? What is the level of fraternity in CFAM? Do we give ample space for discernment? We are also reminded to examine our tools like the grappolo, our processes like ongoing formation, soulmustahan and individual consultations.