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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

IT'S OUR CHOICE - By Rev. Fr. Michael Payyapilly V.C.

For people residing in India, especially those residing in the south of India, the snow is very fascinating. Since we get to experience only the hot and humid climate in our own states, the thought of a place which is cold and snowing is really something special. That is why Kashmir was such a loved destination for so many years till the problems began. Now, they say the Indians are all flocking to Switzerland to experience the snowy mountains. When I had gone to Switzerland last year, I found that in some places they had instruction boards written only in Hindi. A clear indication of how many Indians flock to the snowy peaks. Recently I was in Australia for a few retreats. It was the month of July and they were going through their winter. Being a typical Indian, I too was looking forward to seeing some snow during their winter. But I was disappointed when I was told that they have snow only right on top of the mountain peaks. But being adamant, I kept eating their brains and ultimately they decided to take me to Mt. Baw Baw. The name sounded funny to me, but for someone so desperate to see and feel some snow, that was not a problem. On the one free day I had, we began our long trip to Mt. Baw Baw. In Australia, they like using the Global Positioning System, also known as the GPS, a lot when they drive. It is a tiny little device in the car that shows us the way to our destination. A device that actually helps make our brains more lazy. It was a long two and a half hour trip to Mt. Baw Baw. As we approached closer to the mountain, I kept looking out for traces of snow. The GPS showed us that we were only 5 kms from Mt. Baw Baw. I was getting excited at the prospect of seeing a bit of snow. But we kept going further and the GPS started showing that we were now 7 kms away from Mt. Baw Baw! A little later it showed that we are 10 km away from the mountain peak!! And as we went on, we realised we were now 21 kms from Mt. Baw Baw. We stopped the car because we realised that we had missed a turn somewhere. The GPS showed that we have to go forward to reach our destination, but deep within we knew we had missed a turn somewhere. We had to make a choice, of listening to the GPS or listening to our inner voice that asked us to turn back. We decided to make that turn back, not knowing, if we were making the right decision. We turned back and made our way back from where we came. And 15 kms later, we found a tiny little turn that we were supposed to make and did not. We drove into that turn and there barely 20 meters ahead of us, both the sides of the road were covered with snow. As we went up, the whole place was covered with snow. The little Indian within me was relishing the experience. At the same time, I could not but think of what we would have missed if we had listened to the GPS and went forward rather than acknowledge that we made a mistake and turned back.

That incident reminded me how similar a journey is our life. As children, as youth, as spouses, as parents, we are all cruising along. Today’s life is fast and we barely have time to breathe. Not many of us can dream to afford time to think. And in this mad rush, quite naturally, we miss a turn here and there. And quite often when we realise it, it is already too late. Sometimes after realising it, the world still tells us to go on cruising. At such moments, each one of us has a choice. A choice to listen to the world and cruise on or to listen to our inner voice prompted by God and turn back. Turning back at times is very humiliating. It involves acknowledging the fact that we made a mistake and we missed a turn. But it is so necessary, if we want to experience the gift the Lord has in store for us. Small little turns when they are overlooked can make us miss the whole beauty of life and more so it can make us lose the chance to see the face of God. In this mad rush of competitions and career successes we fail to take the right turns that lead us to the face of our Lord. When we cruise along with our careers and successes, we fail to take the ‘right turns’ into the Church for Mass on a Sunday. We are too busy. And the world is still cheering us on in the wrong direction. Or at times, we fail to take the ‘right turns’ into our own solitude with the Lord in prayer.

Many of us might have already missed the ‘turns’. If we have realised it, now we have two choices – to listen to the world and cruise on, or humbly turn back and take the right turn back into the embrace of Christ. The choice is always ours. But when we make that choice, let it not happen that one day we regret the choices we have made by failing to go back. In the Book of Prophet Jonah, Jonah was sent to the land of Nineveh to give a declaration about an impending disaster that would befall the nation that was living in sin and godlessness. When the people heard the news of the coming destruction, they had a choice – they could either go on without a care in the world by justifying their actions, or they could humble themselves and turn back. The people of Nineveh chose to turn back. It changed their destiny. They got to experience the tremendous mercy of God. When Jesus was put to trial, Pilate, had the Lord in front of him. His wife gave him a warning, that he should not harm the man. Pilate knew he had to make a choice. He chose to go on ‘cruising’. The world told him that it was okay to crucify him. He went on with the judgement. If only the man had turned back, knowing that he was making a mistake, it would have changed his life. He would not have seen just an ‘accused’ in front of him but he would have been blessed to see the face of God. In our journey of life, have we missed the right turns? If so are we going to listen to the world and keep going on like as though everything is all right? Or are we ready to humble ourselves and turn back to see the face of God? The choice is ours.

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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