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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

"Going to War" (cf Deuteronomy:20ff) - By Agnes Chew, Hong Kong

"I long to be honoured in the Most Holy Sacrament but I find nobody to satisfy my most ardent desires," lamented Jesus to St. Margaret Mary.

Every First Friday evening during the Communion of Reparation Overnight Prayer Vigil (which is an overnight prayer vigil in front of the exposed Blessed Sacrament), as a coordinator of the Alliance of the Two Hearts prayer group, I am usually the one to start off the reading / reflection of the first Office of the Nine Offices of the Sacred Heart. The above first line is part of my reading and one that makes an indelible impression in my heart. Month after month, as I read this line to my group members, my conviction that we should do something concrete about this ardent desire of Jesus grows stronger and stronger.

The first Office is that of the Worshipper, and the Scripture reading for this office is taken from Chapter 6 of the Gospel of John on the Bread of Life. Besides enthronement of the Two Hearts in Homes, our prayer group has to hold the above-mentioned First Friday overnight Eucharistic prayer vigil of which one of the required elements is the reading and reflection of the Nine Offices of the Sacred Heart as revealed to St. Margaret Mary. We started this First Friday overnight Eucharistic adoration about two years ago.

My group members including myself have each received immense graces from Eucharistic Jesus during the hours we spent in the Real Presence of Jesus in the most Blessed Sacrament. One member was healed from bodily ailments affecting her back. Her prayer for the conversion of her mother who had stopped practising her Catholic faith for over fifty years was answered! Through the hours spent with Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration during First Friday nights, each member is led into deeper prayer life, growing recognition and acceptance of God's will and lives that are more focused on God. Once we are more focused on the Lord, we are led into greater awareness of the pains and concerns of the Sacred Heart. The graces emanating from our Eucharistic Adoration include the undertaking of a few Eucharistic-centred apostolate activities.

In July 2009, we started a small procession from one church to another, praying the Rosary aloud while walking along the way and carrying a small statue of Mother Mary. The pilgrimage takes about two hours. This pilgrimage was offered to the Lord for the intention of obtaining the grace of a lively devotion to the Blessed Sacrament in priests, religious and faithful. This was made in reparation to the Sacred Heart so wounded by indifference and ingratitude of humankind to His love in the Blessed Sacrament. Since then, the first pilgrimage started off subsequent pilgrimages every month taking place on a special feast day of our Lady. Our group is usually small - most of the time below twenty members.

Our first pilgrimage went off very well without a hitch. Our members were very enthusiastic about the healthy and holy walk which was enhanced by lush greenery, cool and shady paths and chirping birds along the way. Praise the Lord for the good start! However, the second pilgrimage was really an unexpected surprise. It was good that none of us knew what laid ahead of us! During the second pilgrimage, after climbing a long flight of steps when we were ascending uphill, one of the group members developed breathlessness and difficulty in breathing. She looked really ill. The rest of the members were shocked, unprepared and not expecting anything like this to happen. After she was put into a comfortable position, the rest of us hung around helplessly, praying for her. Luckily, her husband was with us! Both of them are doctors. The medical prognosis was that she just needed a rest. A taxi was hailed to take them home, accompanied by another member. We heaved a sigh of great relief and while still feeling worried, we continued with the delayed procession. Later, we found out that our member fully recovered after a short rest.

Shortly into the next leg of the journey, another member had to quit the procession as she had to leave for an appointment scheduled to take place at the time our procession was supposed to end. As our procession was delayed, she was running short of time and was unable to complete the pilgrimage. We were walking through a track of a side road which was used mostly by joggers. It was mostly a one-way passage for a few passing vehicles with few exits to the main road. Another member had to help this quitting member to look for an exit. Our group had initially more than ten members. By now, we had been reduced by five! An air of discouragement hung heavily overhead like an ominous dark cloud threatening to burst into torrential rain at any time!

Yet there was more to come! Further down the journey, one the members of the group slipped on a slippery pavement. Although she did not sustain any injuries, she was mildly shaken and also had to quit before the end of the pilgrimage to go home to treat her ankle.

By this time, the remaining members were easily discouraged. Suddenly, one member remembered she had to go home to do some errand. When a taxi appeared around the corner, she grabbed it and was off in a flash! Sorely tested by fatigue and discouragement, some remaining members debated on whether we should take another shorter and easier route to another church although this route was not new and was already trekked in our first pilgrimage with no problems. One member who is very fit physically took up this suggestion immediately and walked by herself to this suggested destination - not knowing that the suggestion was eventually not taken up by the members. The number of our initial group was now reduced by seven. We were then down to half our initial size.

Worried minds were by then working overtime. Another desperate suggestion was thrown up – that we should take a taxi to our original destination! By this time, my heart was laughing at ourselves and our situation. The writing was on the wall - our well intentioned pilgrimage was fast turning into something else. It was fast becoming a black comedy!

All knew that taking a taxi will be the demise of this pilgrimage. There were some among us who were very keen to complete the pilgrimage and really disliked the idea of taking a taxi but there were no arguments. Although we were buffeted with so many setbacks, all through the pilgrimage I knew the Lord and His Mother were with us. At the road junction where we would need to decide on whether to walk or to take a cab to ascend to our final destination, everyone agreed to walk! Praise the Lord and His Mother! The cloud of discouragement evaporated and everyone joked and laughed. The pilgrimage was finally accomplished and we celebrated with a nice lunch at a good restaurant. Everyone was happy to have completed the pilgrimage.

When I came home after the lunch and sat down in front of my computer to do some work, I found my Bible open at Deuteronomy Chapter 20: Going to War. Since the title looked interesting, I started to read it.

"When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them because the LORD your God who brought you up out of Egypt will be with you." (Deuteronomy 20:1)

Indeed the Lord was with us! And yes, it did seem like we were going to war! It was a war waged not in the battlefield of the earth but on a supernatural plane where friends of Christ ascend to through their love for the Eucharist, their prayers and sacrifices and fought alongside with angels against a war called indifference and ingratitude to Christ's love in the Blessed Sacrament!

The officers shall say to the army: "Has anyone built a new house and not dedicated it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else may dedicate it. 6 Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else enjoy it. 7 Has anyone become pledged to a woman and not married her? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else marry her." 8 Then the officers shall add, "Is any man afraid or fainthearted? Let him go home so that his brothers will not become disheartened too." 9 (Deuteronomy 20:5-8)

As I read the above verses, the significance of the passage dawned quickly upon me and I burst out laughing! Funnily enough, it did seem that we had several ‘deserters' from our ‘army' although it was hardly through any fault of theirs! Despite the many discouragements the Lord enabled us to accomplish the pilgrimage albeit at a smaller number than our original size. Throughout the pilgrimage, Our Lord and His Mother were with us and taught us the important virtues of courage and perseverance in the midst of trials. A good soldier of the Lord's army has to be fighting fit and needs to have perseverance right to the end. Indeed, those who endured to the last managed to complete the pilgrimage.

None of us was deterred by the discouragements in the second pilgrimage. The Lord was exceeding kind in permitting all the setbacks and discouragements to happen only in the second pilgrimage after the successful first one. The following pilgrimages were smooth. None of the incidents that happened on our second pilgrimage took place anymore. Somehow, the weather was always fine even when it was forecast to be bad the day before. Group members and I look forward to our monthly pilgrimages because we believe that we are making an impact on this war against the indifference and coldness to the Lord's love in the Blessed Sacrament. If it were not so, why were we tested the way we had been on our second pilgrimage? To Eucharistic Jesus be all love and glory!!

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

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