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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC
"I dwell with the crushed and the dejected“ (Is 57:15)

- Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

Divine Call Archives

"For My Thoughts Are Not Your Thoughts, Neither Are Your Ways My Ways," Declares the Lord (Isaiah 55:8) - Agnes Chew, Hong Kong

I have often felt ill-equipped for those areas that I have been called to serve. However, through my short experience of serving God, God has always demonstrated that His ways are not our ways. God speaks to us through St. Paul, "My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak." (2 Corinthians 12:9). God is continually teaching us how to put our faith and trust in Him, despite what we think of our suitability for the job which we are called to do for Him!

I was part of a team of two coordinators who had recently arranged an open-air music concert for evangelisation. Being of the type who has little inclination to even attend a music concert, I was an unlikely instrument for this project.

The idea to arrange an evangelisation music concert targeted at young people, arose out of the annual crowd evangelisation exercise that our prayer movement hold every year. Initially, this idea was not well received as our prayer group members were mostly in their middle-age. Luckily, the President of our prayer group thought it was a good idea, and we proceeded.

Little did we know that we would have major difficulties ahead. After booking our venue and lining up talented and enthusiastic performing groups, we were told by the higher hierarchy of our prayer movement not to proceed, citing technical reasons. We were undaunted, postponed the concert to another date, and looked for another suitable organisation under which name we can stage the concert.

In the meantime, I wrote an email to a close and trusted friend who was serving the Lord full-time in Divine Retreat Centre, for inspiration on the concert theme. As I read the answer which came through SMS, I knew beyond a shadow of doubt, this concert was not my idea but His!

The concert theme revealed by the SMS was: "Emmanuel-God is with us. Sing out to God with JOY!" Immediately after the SMS, my friend called me long distance from India - she told me that her heart suddenly leapt with the supernatural joy of the Lord as she read my email. Caught by total surprise, and overwhelmed, she had to call me as written words were inadequate. I was elated! This meant no turning back and abandoning project.

To prevent this article from becoming too long, let me summarise some of the ways in which God did His part in this project:

  1. God brought us to a priest (Fr. Anthony who trusted us from the start after meeting us!) who was heading a faith organisation under which name we could arrange the concert.
  2. The Lord brought in talented performing groups and free professional stage managers who were all devout Catholics, having extensive experience in events of this sort.
  3. The Lord provided all the beautiful artwork for stage, poster, flyers, badges and so forth for free through my creative sister, Lucy in Singapore.v
  4. The Lord provided two concert theme songs with vibrant lively music to appeal to the youth - and yet powerful prayers in themselves - composed by a talented musician in Divine Retreat Centre, India.
  5. The Lord brought in strong spiritual support and physical help from many members of our prayer movement which was integral to our concert.

A "strange" interesting thing happened when I reached home one evening, after a meeting with the Assistant Stage Manager during which I promised her that I would put the song lyrics on banners to promote greater audience participation. I wondered to myself, "How do I contact a banner company?" When I switched on my PC, the only new email in my Inbox, was one saying "EZ banner only $59/- cheapest in Hong Kong…" I was reminded yet again that my working partner was my Almighty God Himself!

So far, preparations had run smoothly. Although this was the first time that we were arranging such an event, we felt no particular stress. Then about two weeks before the event, one of the scheduled speakers, a priest contacted me suddenly and said he was called away at short notice to an assignment in Macau. Panic-stricken, we tried to get a substitute speaker. But it was too late. The talk could not be scrapped. It was a precious topic – "Divine Exchange".

My stress increased manifold when it finally dawned upon me - I would have to be the one delivering the talk! But God was indeed very kind. About a month before, I gave a short talk on the same topic to a small group of teenagers in a secondary school. I was very much encouraged by their reception of this topic. Instead of their usual chattering, everyone was listening attentively. I felt it was because the topic was a personal message of Jesus - powerful and direct but full of tenderness. This talk was, in fact, a mini rehearsal for me.

During the week before the concert, I had to participate in a trade show. During the slack hours, I logged into the Internet without any specific intention to look for anything. Somehow I got to John Piper's website and started to read some of his inspiring articles. The thrust of the articles I read was to preach what is precious and true and to exult in the Word. "Hey!" I thought to myself, now it seems the Lord is telling me how to do it. It confirmed the topic which I was to share – it was indeed precious and true - and I was reminded not to deliver it like a dry subject matter but direct from the heart.

On the day before the event, my printing machine refused to print my script. Coincidentally, Bell, my friend who was to be my Cantonese translator had the same printer problem. My husband bought a new printer and I printed out 3 copies.

God manifested again His great kindness - despite feeling stressed, I was able to get a very good sleep the night before the event.

The day dawned cool and breezy! All our previous concerns regarding the hot weather evaporated. The Lord again did His part. Everything ran smoothly. I delivered my talk on Divine Exchange in English followed simultaneously with translation into Cantonese by Bell who did a very good job.

After I finished my talk, a prayer group member came up to me and conveyed the remarks of a young visiting priest from Canada, Fr. Joseph. Fr. Joseph said it was a good topic for conversion and if there were any Catholics there who wanted Confession, he was ready to listen! A close and trusted non-Catholic friend, Christina who was at the concert came up to say it was a good topic with good delivery!

The feedback on the concert was very encouraging. Only God knows how many hearts He touched during the concert! One thing we know for sure - we sowed seeds which other people will add water and sunlight. As for the growth of the seeds, we trust our Lord, the Faithful One, to do His part, as He has always unfailingly demonstrated.

Yet again the Lord demonstrated in this project, that His ways are not our ways and despite what we think of our ineptness or lack of relevant experience, or unsuitability, His Glory can always shine through us - poor instruments - provided we are able to place our faith and trust in Him. All we have to do is to do our part to the best of our ability and the Lord will do the rest! Praise the Lord always!

 
Divine Updates

39th National Youth Retreat

Our annual National Youth Retreat will be held at the Divine Retreat Centre. Come and let the word of God refresh you. Simultaneous retreats for couples, children and Bible nursery to be held. Contact Divine Youth for more details.

Date: May 19 - 24, 2019

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 2018 - December, 2018

Retreats in Divine Retreat Centre, UK

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.

Dates: Jan - Dec, 2019

POWER 2019 at Divine Retreat Centre

DRC is back with the highlight of the year: the 14th International Youth Conference - POWER 2019. The very best international preachers and gospel bands will be here to lead us into worship. Be there to experience a totally different atmosphere of prayer. A Couples' Retreat and a Kids' Retreat will be held simultaneously. Don't miss it.

Date: July 21 - July 26, 2019

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Inner healing retreats, growth retreats, couples' retreats and youth retreats in Malayalam, are led by Fr. Joshi Kochukudiattil, Fr. Mathew Naickomparambil and Fr. Binoy Chackanikunnel.

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