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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

"This is My Commandment: Love One Another As I Love You" - Maneesha Mathias

Love it was that made us
And it was love that saved us,
Love was God's plan when He made man
But only when we love all men can we partake of God's love.

A very beautiful hymn with very expressive lyrics...

'Love' is a word that man often uses today. But what does one actually mean when one says I love - does man really know to love?

The word love is described very beautifully in the Holy Bible - "No one has a greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." (John 15:13) Here love means sacrifice. At the Last Supper, Jesus said, "Do this in memory of Me." (John 22:19) - an invitation to all of us to do as He did - that is to love as He loved.

We all know that the Love of God is unconditional but ours in comparison leaves a lot to be desired. We can never love fully because we cannot understand the great love of God. Neither can we understand what Jesus really meant when He said, "Do this in memory of Me."

When God the Father sent His Son into this world, He never said, "if you will come back to me totally, then I will send my Son to this world to die for your sins." He sent His Son to die for us without making any such deal with us. His Love for us is eternal. His Love for us does not increase when we are good nor does it decrease when we are bad. This is because His Love for us is everlasting, never-ending and withstands everything! He is patient and waits for us to come back as Jesus explained in The Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32).

A number of years back, I was facing massive problems in my life. My problems had now become such a mountain and it was clear to me that I had reached a dead end. The future was bleak and it seemed impossible that things could improve – T thought I would never smile again. At this low point in my life, I received a telephone call telling me even the last effort had resulted in a failure. I was totally devastated! I did not know what to do. All doors had closed for me and I sat down and began to weep. After weeping for a long while, I knew I could not continue in this manner any more and crying would not help either. Just to divert my thoughts, I took a book in my hands and began to read 15 minutes later I realized could not remember a thing of what I had read. At that moment, I heard a gentle male voice telling me, "Go to Potta". Being alone in the house with my baby daughter, I thought I must have imagined it and went back to reading. Yet again I heard the same voice and the same words, "Go to Potta". I have lived a very sheltered life and could not think of going to Potta (Divine) alone with my daughter. With my husband being out of station, my options were few but the intent to "Go to Potta" was real. I asked my cousin and she readily agreed. Within a day of receiving this wonderful invitation, I was in the Divine Retreat Centre! The retreat was real experience - my thoughts began to change, vision showed me that Jesus was with me and I had nothing to fear. I left this place a changed person! The problems were still there but I had nothing to fear because Jesus had promised "I will fight for you." Problems that at one time where impossible to face now became easy to face.

There was something wonderful I realized from this incident and that is this - I was far away from my God, running away from Him, if He ever made me feel His presence I just told Him stay out of my life and lived the way it pleased me even if it meant hurting Him, crucifying Him. I did not care, but in my need it was HE who pulled me out of my misery.

"Come to me heedfully, listen, that you may have life. I will renew with you the everlasting covenant. (Isaiah 55:3) God is patient and kind - His Love for us never-ending. This is definitely love! My God loved me when I was far away from Him. When I was hurting Him, He still waited for me patiently to turn back to Him. And when I was in trouble, He lifted me out of my trouble and comforted me at His bosom. This definitely is love - when I was bad, He was good to me! What does my God expect from me in return? "So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little. (Luke 8:47) As much as we have received from the Lord, the Lord expects us to love. Thus He says love as I have loved you. How can we love like Jesus? What manner of love will please Him?

It is a common human practice that when somebody does us good, we too will do them good. But if someone hurts us, do we not go out of our way to hurt them? In the Gospel of Mathew 5:46, Jesus says, "For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same?" In doing this, Jesus compares us to the tax collectors who were a condemned lot in those times. By so doing, we also become condemned.

When somebody hurt me, I used to think about the hurtful incident over and over again and every time I thought about it, I became very angry and my pain got worse! The more I thought about it, the more negative I began to feel and I started getting angry with myself for not having handled the situation in a better way. I used to think to myself, "I should have said this or that" and so on and so forth. This made me think negatively and I became depressed and vengeful. If I had a chance, I spoke badly about the person defaming them totally. Then one day I read a Word that really pierced my heart, Genesis 9:6, "If anyone sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; For in the image of God has man been made." Was defaming someone as bad as killing, a murder?

What actually happens when we keep the hurt is we actually give room to the devil and when we think of the hurt, the devil starts taking control. We think and then we think again and the more we think then we are so vengeful that firstly, we lose the Kingdom of God - "Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him (1 John 3:15). Secondly, we shed the blood of the person, "Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but not as many as by the tongue." (Sirach 28:18) and finally, we become slaves of the devil - "Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness." (1 John 2:9)

When we live in vengeance, then the devil has complete power over us making us diabolic and instruments of destruction. As you shed the blood of another so also will yours be shed, as you defame someone so also you will be defamed! When we see the repercussions of anger, vengeance and hate, I believe it is so much better to love. By loving we help one another. Instead of getting angry, it is better to understand the person, and then you will feel the compassion leading you to forgiveness and prayer. This is what Jesus did when He said, "Father forgive them for they do not know what they do!" (Luke 23:34)

May He teach us to love as He has loved and still loves us for evermore!

 
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

Divine Retreat Schedules

ENGLISH RETREATS

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.

MALAYALAM RETREATS

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.

OTHER LANGUAGES

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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