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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

How would you like to be remembered?

- By Fr. Michael Payyapilly VC

I had all but forgotten about him. He was no more in the news. People were not discussing him anymore. No new incidents had taken place. And that is when all of a sudden the news of his death sprung up and he became a household name once again.

I am speaking of the world’s most wanted terrorist – Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden. Very unexpectedly on the 2nd of May (IST) the announcement of the death of Osama bin Laden was made. I got the first message on my mobile all the way from Australia. First I thought it was a hoax. Then I went and put on the television only to find the news channels all full of this news. There seemed to be relief and celebration all around the place. In the US people gathered around the White House and were celebrating like never before. Seeing them celebrate on television, was like seeing India celebrate after its Cricket World Cup win. Something that we do not see so often in the US. I opened my Facebook account and there everyone was putting up status messages showing relief and joy over the death of the world’s most wanted terrorist. ‘Revenge for Sept 11th’; ‘The devil is dead’; ‘We can now sleep in peace’; ‘A nasty burden is off this earth’. These were just some of the status messages that people had put up. The television, the newspapers, the social networking sites, had messages like this all over. For a minute I just sat there and it dawned on me, that it was so sad that a human being is dead and there is not one person who seems to regret his death. The whole world is celebrating his death. What a waste of a life! After living all these years on this earth, the world had nothing good to say about him. There is not anyone (no one would dare to) who is mourning his death. Usually death is a time of mourning and showing solidarity with the family of the deceased. But here a man has died and the whole world has rejoiced. The only thing I could think of was ‘what a waste of a life’.

The day before Osama’s death, the Church celebrated the Feast of the Divine Mercy. And it was an historic day for the Church as well as thousands gathered at St. Peter’s in Vatican, for the Beatification of one of the most loved Popes ever in the history of the Church – Pope John Paul II, the Great. Tears flowed freely as people watched the historic event. People recalled with love what he meant to them as a Pope. They spoke of the compassion of the man, the one who reached out to thousands of youth inspite of his frail body. Pope John Paul II for me is a personal favourite. From the time I was tiny I have heard only Pope John Paul II’s name during the Holy Eucharist. As a priest I did not get the benefit of uttering his name during the Holy Mass (he passed away in 2005, I got ordained in 2006). But there is still not a day when I do not recall him during the Holy Mass. There are still days when I nearly utter his name instead of Pope Benedict XVI. I loved the man. And so many others in this world, not only Catholics, loved the man. When he died, the Church and the world wept. When I went to his grave in Rome, I wept like a child. Years later, on the day he was beatified people still weep - tears of joy, at his beatification and also tears because we still miss him.

The contrast of these two events caught my attention. Just a day apart. According to US time, it was the very same day. But the stark difference in which the world reacted to two people. Both religious leaders. One man lived his life in violence and ended up being hated, the other lived his life in love and ended up being loved. One man is remembered for terror, the other is remembered for love. Thinking of the contrast of these two famous personalities and how the world remembers them, I could not but ask myself ‘after my death how would I like to be remembered?’

God has given us the gift of life and with these He has provided us additional blessings. How we handle and take care of these additional blessings is how people are going to remember us. Everyone who comes into our life, for however brief a time, will have memories of us. What kind of memories will we leave behind in their minds? Will it be blessed memories or painful ones? All of us are going to reach a day when we will bid adieu to this world. On that day how will people remember us? We do not have to look far. Start by looking into our own families.

Along with the gift of life He gave you, He might have given you the additional gift of a being a husband or a wife. How well have you lived that gift? How will your spouse remember you after your sojourn on this earth? Will you be leaving behind memories of love? Will your spouse truly shed a tear of sorrow or will there be a sense of relief in their mind? How will your spouse remember you? It all depends on how well you have lived your life as a spouse.

Along with the gift of life He gave you, he might have given you the additional gift of being a parent. How well have you lived that gift? Have you been a parent who has been there for your child? On the day you leave them, will your child have fond memories of a loving dad and a loving mom? What kind of memories will your children have on the day you pass away from this world? Will they shed a tear or will they heave a sigh of relief.

Along with the gift of life He gave you, he might have given you the additional gift of being a friend or a brother or a sister. How well have you lived that gift? On the day you leave this world, what memories will your siblings or your friends have of you?

We come into this world naked. After that we create a persona for ourselves through our words and actions. We are all given the freedom to create our own persona. How well we have developed that persona will be known on the final day of our life on this earth.  Based on this is how the world will remember us. God has given us freedom to choose the kind of life we want to lead. He in His mercy and love He gives us a lot of gifts. He gives us the gift of parents; gift of a spouse; gift of children; gift of brothers and sisters; gift of friends; gift of a job; gift of beauty and wealth. The number of gifts He has given us does not end. But what we do with the gift is left to us. The way we used these gifts is what the world is going to remember.

When Mary anointed the feet of Jesus in Mark 14:3 ff, many tried to stop her. Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her” What she has done will be remembered. This applies to everyone, good or bad. What we do will be what we are remembered for. Let this time not be a time of just rejoicing at the death of another human being. Let it be a time of introspection. An introspection by looking into the way we lead our lives and the way we have used or abused the gifts that God has given us. What kind of memories are we leaving back in this world? Let us be able to live lives as spouses, children, parents, brothers, sisters, friends in a manner worthy of the gift that God has given us. After we complete our journey on this earth, let not the earth feel that it has borne a burden, rather let it feel that it has carried a grace. Let not people around us feel that they have experienced a storm but rather let them feel that they have experienced compassion. Let every particle of sand around our grave be drenched with tears that people shed, rather than let it get polluted with breaths that are heaving a sigh of relief.

The choice is left up to us – How would I like to be remembered?

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.


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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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