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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

“I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you" (Jn 13:34)

- Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

Divine Call Archives

Come be a fool

- By Fr. Michael Payyapilly VC

On the 1st of April, I got an early morning call. With my years of experience playing around with April Fool jokes, even in my sleep I knew that this call was a hoax. I picked it up and just as I thought, the person on the other side was so intent on trying to make a fool out of me. This trend carried on the whole day long. People seemed to get some kind of a pleasure trying to make me look like a fool. When I was a young boy all of us would try to outdo the other in making the other a fool. And all of us hated being made a fool off. This has been the case even as I grew up. But this 1st of April made me think a lot. April 1st is in a way a Festal day for everyone. Everyone, who follows the ‘foolishness’ of the Cross.

For the world, the Cross and the message of the Cross is foolishness. In 1 Corinthians 1:18 we read, “For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing”. For those who are influenced by the ways of the world, the Cross is nothing but foolishness. Just as the life of Jesus was considered foolish, even the Cross He carried, was considered foolish. In that case all of us who follow and believe in the message of the Cross are fools. The greetings of April 1st is not so bad after all. A few years back I was teaching in a school during my one year of regency. It is a year of practical training. Most of my students were non-Christians. They kept insisting on seeing the Chapel that was connected to our house. So one day I took all the students of my class to the Chapel. A young boy innocently asked me, “Brother where is your God?” Knowing that it would be difficult to give him an explanation of the Blessed Sacrament and Lord’s presence in it, I showed him the crucifix and told him, “That is an image of my God”. He looked at the Cross and the Lord hanging on it and with a sarcastic smile said, “That is your God?” For him, a non-Christian, it was utter foolishness. Ofcourse he was only a child. But for the world too, Jesus and the Cross are seen as being utter foolishness. In many western countries, they claim to have ‘outgrown’ Jesus and the Cross. In Australia, when one of our priests was collecting a bit of grass to make a crib for Christmas, a few locals who saw him collecting the grass asked him what he intends to do with it. When he told them his intention, they laughed and drinking their beer said, “You guys still believe in such things?” The world today seems to find Jesus and the message of the Cross as foolishness.

Two thousand years back Jesus and His Cross was scoffed at. They saw His Cross as being foolish. His life seemed a big waste. He lived in poverty, was called a blasphemer, and in the end, ended up on a Cross. For the world, it was a wasted life. Recently I has gone on a trip to the Holy Land. The one thing everyone was looking forward to, was the Way of the Cross. A few people prepared themselves by fasting the entire day. We were all ready to make that journey. We had a small speaker and a microphone so that the whole group could hear the prayers clearly. A few of the pilgrims started singing as we made the journey. After some time a local woman listening to us singing, started screaming and telling the pilgrims, “Not enough, not enough, sing louder, sing louder” And then she and the shopkeepers around started laughing. For her and the others watching, this whole journey was just a joke. I asked the guide about this and he replied, “Father, for the locals, you Christians are only a means of making money. What you do and the journey to Calvary that you make, is just a joke for them.” Two thousand years later, and still nothing has changed. People still see the life of Christ as a joke. The Cross He carried was a joke as well. People laughed at Him as He hung on that Cross. Nothing much has changed even after all these centuries.

When we believe and hold on to the message of the Cross, we turn into ‘fools for Christ’. Jesus was rejected because of the values He stood up for and for what He believed in. When we stand up for the values of the Lord, and what we believe in, we become fools for Christ. How many times in life we have had this experience. When we stand up for the values of the Lord people scoff at us. We look like losers to the world. Our lives look foolish to them. An elderly gentleman who came for the retreat here once told me, “Fr. Michael, it is not easy. But for the past so many years I have stood up for the values of Christ and held on to the teachings of the Lord. At times, when inspite, of holding on to the message of the Cross and the values of Jesus, brokenness comes in. And people look at the brokenness and have questioned my faith. They would laugh at me for holding on to the truth rather than just compromise a bit.” He continued, “Father, many have seen my life as a failure. They have spoken of my life as being utter foolishness. But father, I am so proud that I held on to the Lord and His values, even if for the world my life is a failure.” I felt so inspired by that elderly gentlemen. So many times in life when we hold onto the values of Christ, we lose out. We get rejected; we lose out on many of the worldly pleasures and comforts of this world. And when we lose out, people look at our lives as failures and foolishness. But during those moments, let us know that, the World saw His life as a failure and foolishness as well.

I have always seen the season of Lent as giving us, those who hold on to the ‘foolishness’ of the Cross, new hope and new strength when the world scoffs at us. We start Lent with Ash Wednesday and we end it towards Good Friday. Both these days have a very comforting message for those of us whose lives are looked at as foolishness and as failures. On Ash Wednesday, the priest, as he puts the ash on the forehead of the faithful, says, “Man you are dust and to dust you shall return”. In that statement there is a very deep message of hope. God is able to make complex human beings from something as simple as dust. Dust is considered as nothing. Using nothingness, God is able to make something so beautiful as you and me. In that statement there is so much of hope. When the world looks at the nothingness of our life and scoffs at us, we can hold onto the fact that through this very same nothingness, the Lord will bring in something beautiful. And then we have Good Friday. A day when the ‘foolishness’ of the Cross gives hope and salvation to human kind. Two days during lent that gives every faithful follower a very strong hope. The Resurrection of the Lord at the end of Lent, shows us, that what the world considers as foolishness will one day turn into glory. The world could see the brokenness of our life and say that it is a failure or that it is foolishness. But for us who hold on to the message of the Cross, the days of Lent gives us hope and confidence.

Let us never get bogged down during those moments when the world scoffs at us. Let us be proud to be fools for Christ. Let us never stay away from proclaiming Christ crucified. As St. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:22, “For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” For us, we don’t need signs and wisdom for we have the power of the Cross. Let us be able to hold our heads us high and let the world know that following His ways, we don’t mind being a fool for Christ. There is a song that is sung by a very anointed singer - Michael Card. It is a personal favourite of mine. It is called ‘God’s own Fool’ from his album ‘Scribbling in the Sand’. The lyrics sums up the whole idea:

Seems I've imagined Him all of my life

As the wisest of all of mankind

But if God's Holy wisdom is foolish to man

He must have seemed out of His mind

Even His family said He was mad

And the priest said a demon's to blame

But, God in the form of this angry young man

Could not have seemed perfectly sane


We in our foolishness thought we were wise

He played the fool and He opened our eyes

We in our weakness believed we were strong

He became helpless to show we were wrong

So we follow God's own Fool

For only the foolish can tell

Believe the unbelievable, come be a fool as well

So come lose your life for a carpenter's son

For a madman who died for a dream

And You'll have the faith His first followers had

And you'll feel the weight of the beam

So surrender the hunger to say you must know

Find the courage to say I believe

For the power of paradox opens your eyes

And blinds those who say they can see


So we follow God's own Fool

For only the foolish can tell

Believe the unbelievable, come be a fool as well


Divine Updates


Divine comes to Chennai with the 'Magnificat on March 10, 2018. Fr. Jacob Arimpur VC will lead the services. With special sessions for children.

Venue: Stella Maris College, Cathedral Road

MAGNIFICAT in Bangalore

Celebrate an evening with our Lord in Bangalore at the 'Magnificat' on March 17, 2018. Services to be led by Fr Jacob Arimpur VC. All are welcome. Music by Glen and Teresa La'Rive.

Venue: St. Joseph's Boys' School Chapel, Museum Road, Bangalore

38th 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 20 - 25, 2018

Kannada Convention 2018

Divine Retreat Centre will conduct our annual Kannada convention in May, 2018 The convention will be blessed by the vibrant preaching of many anointed servants of God. Please come.

Date: May 6 - May 11, 2018

Konkani Convention - Kuttumb Utsov 2018

Divine Retreat Centre's annual Konkani Convention will be held at the centre. The convention will be led by Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC, Director. Talks to focus mainly on the renewal of the family. All are welcome.

Date: April 22 - April 27, 2018

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, 2018

Hindi Convention Ojas 2018

The Divine Retreat Centre will conduct our eighth Hindi convention, in 2018. Two retreats will be held simultaneously on the campus; one for adults and another for couples and youth. All are welcome.

Date: May 27 - June 1, 2018

Divine Retreats in Australia

Fr. Michael Payyapilly will lead several special retreats across Australia - in Brisbane, Hobart, Sydney and Melbourne. Please bring your family and friends. Hear the Word and be refreshed. 

Date: February 19 - March 4, 2018

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. Mathew Elavumkal, 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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