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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

LET US START CLEANING UP - Rev. Fr. Michael Payyappilly V.C.

In India, we tend to be very critical about our transporting system. We find them substandard and never up to the mark and in many aspects, it is justified. On a more personal level, since childhood, I have always had a deep fascination for the Indian railways and love travelling by train. I get to see the great variety of Indian daily life in different forms. India is a vast country of one billion people from many different cultures. Hence travelling on a train enables me to meet and understand my fellow Indians from a variety of cultures!

Recently I was travelling back from Mumbai after my personal retreat at the Tabor Retreat Centre. The train’s starting point was New Delhi, the capital of India in the north and it was on its way to Ernakulam, Kerala in South India. Thus, by the time the train reached Mumbai, the train had already done a day’s travel. Many people did get off at Mumbai and by the time I boarded the train, my compartment was nearly empty. Slowly those from Mumbai started boarding at the various stations. For most of us commuters, who had got in from Mumbai, what really annoyed us were the litter and rubbish that was strewn all over the compartment. Obviously the previous occupants had made a huge mess and left the compartment dirty. It was so bad that the waste wrappings and food articles formed a second layer of flooring for the compartment. We could even call it a ‘new safety measure’ - a kind of a ‘double protection’. After all, our Indian Railways have been coming up with a lot of innovative ideas recently! We barely had place to put our feet on the floor. We were very upset and all of us were complaining, including me! I then observed what each one of us ended up doing. We would very carefully and quietly push aside a little rubbish with our feet and create a tiny clean space to put our feet on the floor. Everyone did the same. When one did it, he/she knew that we were pushing it away from our space and dumping it into the other’s space. But in a very dignified manner, all of us did the same. But the fact remained - though we thought we had accomplished something, by finding a little clean space for our feet - the rubbish remained there. None of us (including me) took the effort to get rid of the rubbish. We only pushed it away from our area of concern! But a few moments later, it would be just the same. The rubbish would all come back.

When we look at life, it is quite the same. We have rubbish all around us in the form of sin. And sin never seems to diminish! Over the years, it has just collected into huge lumps in our world. It just keeps growing, forming layers after layers and we grow along with it. It is not that we are agreeable with it. We do complain against it and we do speak of how it is all around us. We are upset about it. But slowly we end up being indifferent to it. We read in the Book of Genesis about Lot. In Chapter 19 we read about the depravity of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. The sin in these cities grew to such an extent that they had become wild. They were into every kind of act that was unacceptable to the Lord. Lot had invited two Angels into his house. He saw and understood them only as guests. But the people of these cities, with their perverted ideas tried to harm the guests. Lot was able to save them. He was a good man living amongst a nation that was deeply into sin. The next morning, the Angels warned him that he should go away to another city because the Lord was going to bring down sulfur and fire and destroy these sinful nations. But we find a surprising event happening here! Lot knew that the people were sinful and that the nation was covered in sin. But the Word tells us in Genesis 19:15 ff, "When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, "Get up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or else you will be consumed in the punishment of the city." But he lingered..."

Lot knew there was sin all around him. He experienced it the day before - yet he lingered on! He wanted to go on as he was. Many times, we are like Lot. We try to clean up only that which is near us. We think we have done our bit and then we just linger on. During my train journey, after the initial hue and cry, everyone learnt to adjust to the litter around us. It slowly ceased to be a big problem. This is what happens with sin in our society. In the beginning, certain sinful actions shock us and the society and then there is a huge hue and cry about it. But slowly we start ‘adjusting’ to them. And after sometime these things do not seem to be as big a problem as it was at first. Over the years, we get used to the ‘dirt’ we see around us. No more does news of murder shock us. No more does news of rape shock us. Child abuse, abortion, adultery is not even considered news but more a past-time for gossip. Indecent exposure, perversions, filth have all been made into necessities by modern day ‘psychologists’. Homosexuality is considered freedom of choice. Nothing is sin anymore for us. We have become used to it!

The most dangerous fact is that even the most conservative among us have started accepting these situations. We let it be. We move it away from our circles and then think that it has gone away. But let us remember that these same things will one day come back and haunt our lives and those of our families as well. If we remain quiet to sin that takes place around us, that same sin will one day penetrate into our lives. For those who believe that it is a sin, we have to speak out and say that we believe that it is a sin. Our silence can mean that we accept things and agree to what is happening around us! I was in a foreign country recently on an overseas preaching mission. When we spoke about sin and the different kinds of sin, there were people who came and told us not to do so. They said people would get offended as in these places they had legalized such actions. Just because a nation legalizes something that does not mean it ceases to be sinful. Even certain Church leaders and authorities have a problem when people speak openly against sin. They are scared the Catholic faithful will not be able to accept and will walk away from the Church. If that is the case, then let those people who are not happy walk away! The Lord would rather have followers who believe and accept His Word completely than those who would like only a part of what He gives. He does not want people who only accept things that they are comfortable with. In St. John’s Chapter 6, we read of Jesus speaking about giving His Flesh to eat and His Blood to drink. Many found it unacceptable. They rebelled. But Jesus never took back His statements! When they made the decision to abandon Him, He let them go. If they were not ready to accept what He taught, He was not going to please them.

It takes a huge collective effort to get rid of sin. Each one of us who believes in Jesus has a role to play. Today, many things have become acceptable and common because we have a tendency to become indifferent. We see it happening and we hear it happening. Yet, just because it is not in our homes, we tend to think that our part is safe. If something is stinking in the neighbour’s backyard, the stench will come into ours as well. We have stand up collectively to fight the layers of evil. It has grown over the years and it is going to take a bit of an effort. But we have to fight it together! We cannot use our churches and our prayer meetings to have a personal prayer experience only. It has to become the voice of Truth.

The Truth should be spoken - and spoken fearlessly!

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 - 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

Divine Retreat Schedules


English retreats are held every week from Sunday to Friday. Special retreats are conducted for priests, religious and laity as well. Come and experience the Lord and grow in Him.


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.


Retreats in Konkani, Kannada, Tamil, Hindi and Telugu

Every week, retreats are held in five different regional languages of India, apart from in the local language - Malayalam. The retreats are led by Vincentian priests and supported by powerfully anointed laity of God.

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