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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


A young man who was here for a retreat few months ago was touched deeply by the Lord. He went back with renewed zeal. He wanted to serve the Lord. I remember him repeatedly asking me for prayers. That youthful zeal was written all over his face. Something the Church looks for in the youth of today. But I met him again recently and his face seemed to have a very different story to tell. Looking dejected, he said, "Father it is a futile task. The world is so perverted and spoilt that it pulls us in too." He was struggling in his fight with the world and the ways of the world. He who went out of this retreat centre with an idea of changing the world was falling prey to it. The desire for life and its comforts was pressurising him to do what he did not want to do. This does happen very often. Making a retreat in a centre is good. But then the real world lies outside. The real temptations and challenges begin outside where the ways of the world are more accepted than the ways of the Lord. Though many have the desire to lead a good and holy life, worldly temptations tend to defile us. Many of us instead of fighting this, end up getting defiled. We give up the fight too easily.

In 2 Maccabees we read about the persecutions that the Israelites had to undergo during the reign of Antiochus. He was a tyrant who lorded over them. They were being forced to do things that went against their faith. They were made to forsake Judaism. They were compelled to forsake the laws of their ancestors. Many Israelites gave into to the persecutions. They did not seem to have any other option. They were surrounded on all sides by people who were against them. But there were a few who stood strong. They would, at no cost, allow themselves to get defiled. In 2 Maccabees 6:27 we read "But Judas Maccabeus, with about nine others, got away to the wilderness, and kept himself and his companions alive in the mountains as wild animals do; they continued to live on what grew wild, so that they might not share in the defilement." These people were even ready to live in the wild and stay away from the comforts of a home in order to avoid defilement. They were ready to remain hungry and eat in the wilderness than defile themselves with what their faith taught them to be wrong. They refused to get defiled despite the situation around being threatening.

The world today is not conducive to live our faith. It would snuff out any bit of faith that we have. We live in a society that does not accept love and compassion as things to be proud of. The world has become a place where only those who are crooked can survive. The others either play along or are in the danger of being pushed out. The world tends to sideline them. Those who stand up for morals end up losing a lot. An elderly man who was going through a huge financial crunch came to me once and told me something that I will never forget. He worked in a senior post in a governmental organisation. He, being a staunch Catholic, believed that his post was a God-given gift and could never abuse it. People would always make fun of him for not taking any bribes. But he said that would be going against his faith. He was answerable to God for his actions. Today many in his family blame him saying that his children could have gotten better education if only he had done something that is considered normal by today's world. This man today struggles with a huge financial burden, but at least he can stand in the presence of his God with his head held up high.

In the same book of Maccabees chapter 6 verses 18-31 we read about a very brave and faithful man of God called Eleazar. The Israelites were being made to eat pork, which was considered unholy by them. They were forced to do it just so that they would be defiled. It was either obedience or death for them. Many gave into this sin only because of their love for life. Not many would defy the orders of the king. It is here that we see an old man stand up and fight for his faith and his beliefs. He refused to take the meat. He would be forced to put it into his mouth but he would then run up the rack and spit out the contents. The word describes this beautifully in verse 19 "But he, welcoming death with honour rather than life with pollution, went up to the rack of his own accord, spitting out the flesh, as all ought to go who have the courage to refuse things that it is not right to taste, even for the natural love of life." He decided to remain faithful though it was sure that he would have to lose his life because of this. Death for him was not important; being faithful was. The people who were in charge of the unlawful sacrifice, showed him some concern and asked him to pretend that he was eating unholy meat. But the man refused. In verse 24 "Such pretence is not worthy of our time of life," he said, "for many of the young might suppose that Eleazar in his ninetieth year had gone over to an alien religion, and through my pretence, for the sake of living a brief moment longer, they would be led astray because of me." This wise and holy man of God knew his priorities. This was one last chance to live. But he was ready to give up even life for the sake of his faith.

As is said there is a 'natural love for life' in human beings. There is this deep love for the things that make life comfortable. We at times are so desperately protecting this life. Our love for life at times is way beyond our love for our faith. The desire for life becomes more important to us than our faith in Him. The love for life and its worldly accessories are pulling us back into sin and into the desire for this world. Wealth, success, name, fame, acceptance, pleasure are all stealing us away from the truth of the Lord. We at times have a fear that we will lose out on the 'good' things of life. But we fail to realise that these good things are perishable. There is only one thing that will remain till the end and that is 'the faithfulness of God'. We in our desperate desire for life end up selling our soul to Satan, unknowingly. Satan camouflages the deadly poison of sin through all the seemingly harmless passions and comforts of life. But in the desire to get these and 'live' we end up dying to Christ. The Lord said in John 12:25, "those who love their life will lose it and those who hate their life will keep it for eternal life" Let us never love life to the extent that we cocoon it while ignoring the God who created it. The 'given' should never be more important than the 'Giver'.

The Lord Himself has shown us the way. He did not protect His life. He did not love His life more than He loved us. He gave up life and the comforts of life from the very beginning of His sojourn here till the very end. He gave it up so that we may have eternal life and life to its fullest. As the Word reminds us in John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life." Let not the natural love for life and its comforts, take us away from the love for God and His graces.

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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