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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

You were called to freedom" (Gal 5:13) - Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

 

Divine Call

How to resolve a conflict?

By Fr. Jacob Arimpur VC

There is a conflict recorded in the book of Genesis. It took place between Abram and his nephew Lot. The way this problem was solved is the subject of our reflection. Just like Abram, there are times in life when conflicts and troubles arise. How we deal with those conflicts and troubles reveals more about our characters than we want to admit. Because what you are when the pressure is on is what you really are! Let’s take some time to look into this episode and notice some aspects of this story that speak to our lives.

The bone of contention was the grazing ground for their flocks and herds. Whenever the focus of life is on self, individual right, or to the things of this world, strife is bound to happen. How Abram and Lot responded to this crisis says a lot about the character of each. If you want to know the true character of any person, just see how they respond in a time of crisis or conflict!

A TENDER PROPOSAL

Abram displays a loving, gracious spirit when he deals with Lot. He gives a two-fold reason as to why they should live in peace. By the way, his reasons for them are still valid for us even today!

  1. They were brethren – They should love and respect one another! Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn. 13:35). However, it is never right, regardless of the reason. There is nothing so important that it should be allowed to tear up the work of the Lord in His Church. He cannot bless in an atmosphere of discord and trouble. The best course of action is to forgive.
  2. The heathen were watching – The Canaanites were living around them at the time. This presented a dual problem in the face of the conflict. First, it placed both Abram and Lot in danger. If these warlike people saw an opportunity to attack them and take their possessions they would. Second, they would evaluate their religion by the effect it had on their life. The same problems confront us in our day! When we fight, Satan has a heyday in the church and scatters the flock. When we fight, the world sees our lack of love, tenderness and forgiveness and concludes that we are no better off then they are, and that this “Jesus business” means nothing!

Abram willingly gave up his rights as the elder of the family. He could have chosen first, but he yielded to Lot. He willingly placed Lot’s happiness, wishes and rights ahead of his own. This is not something that we see often, but this is what believers are supposed to do. “Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4). “We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not please ourselves” (Rom.15:1).

How could Abram so easily give up the best of the land to Lot?

Abram knew that his cause was safe with God! The Lord had already promised to give him ‘all’ the land (Gen. 12:7). When a believer’s faith truly rests in the Lord, then they can afford to hold their possessions and their rights very loosely. After all, it is God, not they, who look after their interests. “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God” (Rom. 8:28). Abram did not get mad, bitter or puffed up when he did not get his way. He simply did everything in his power to work out the problem. That is the way of Christ and the will of God!

A TRAGIC PLAN

  1. Lot lived by sight – Lot made his decision based upon what his eyes told him. He claimed the land that appeared best for raising flocks and herds. He did not consult with the Lord, he just looked until he saw what pleased him and that is what he chose. He gratified his flesh! He did just what Eve did in the Garden (Gen. 3:1-6). It is a dangerous thing to live to fulfil the appetites and lusts of the flesh. Yet, anytime we cease to walk by faith in the Lord God and go after our own path, we are walking by sight.
  2. Lot lived for himself – Lot’s choice demonstrated a total lack of regard for the needs of Abram. Evidently, he didn’t respect Abram at all. Lot lived to please one person and that person was Lot. He was selfish to the core. He is a perfect description of many in our day. Everything is about “my rights”, “my wants”, “my life”, “my way”, etc. This is not a way of life that is pleasing to the Lord. You live life like that and you will always be mad at somebody over something. You will always have your feelings hurt about some issue or the other.

If you had to be honest and compare yourself to one or the other of these men, which would it be? Abram, who took last place so that another could go first? Or, Lot, who grabbed all he could for himself without regard for anyone else? Some have problems with being self-centred. Others may have trouble forgiving. What ever the issue is God is showing the way to resolve your problem with the other because God cannot bless you and use you for Hid glory until this is taken care of. “When you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift” (Matt. 5:23-24).

 

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Divine Updates

MAGNIFICAT in Bangalore

Celebrate an evening with our Lord in Bangalore at the 'Magnificat' on August 12, 2017. Services to be led by Fr Jacob Arimpur VC. All are welcome.

Venue: St. Joseph's Boys' School Chapel, Museum Road, Bangalore

Retreats at the Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby, Sydney

Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby to hold retreats throughout 2017. For bookings, email Fr Roni George, Director - drcsydney@gmail.com. Hurry, as admission is limited.

Date: January 2017 - December, 2017

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Divine Retreat Centre, Ramsgate UK, has announced several English and Malayalam language retreats to be led by Fr. George Panackal VC and Fr. Joseph Edattu VC. All are welcome.

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Date: Sep 3 - Sep 8, 2017

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