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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

We will not be defeated

By Fr. Michael Payyapilly VC

I remember a retreat I attended here at the Divine Retreat Centre in the year 1996. It was one of the first youth retreats. It was called Power Evangelization at that time. There was a huge crowd of youth. I was doing my final year of graduation. It was lovely praising God with people your own age.

On the second day I started noticing a young boy around my age sitting and weeping and praying. I saw him do that on several occasions. I also saw a young woman pray with him with the same intensity. Anyone could understand that there was something wrong. In the dormitory he was just a few beds away from mine and so one day as I saw him weeping and praying I went up to him and asked him if anything was wrong. He looked at me and was happy to share the brokenness of his life and family. His mother had left the family when he was barely seven years old. She had gone away with someone else. His father did not take it well and started drinking a lot. The situation in the house was getting worse as the years passed by. With the bouts of drinking that his father had, they were not able to save much. His sister had to stop her education though she was the brilliant one in the family. He was allowed to continue his education as he was the male and everyone thought that his education was more important than the girl’s. His father’s drinking bouts had led the company to even think of dismissing him. The father was attending the Malayalam retreat. They still did not have a house of their own. He kept weeping and said that there is nothing positive that he could hold on to. I promised him prayers as I could do nothing else.

The next day there was a preacher who spoke about God not giving up on us and God will never allow us to be defeated. This talk had a major impact on this young boy. After that I found him more cheerful and he would keep telling me that the Lord will never allow him or his family to be defeated. I did not know if I actually believed him, as his family seemed too broken for a revival. At the end of the retreat we exchanged addresses and promised to keep in touch. A month later I got a letter from this boy. The letter started with the words “God will not allow us to be defeated”. In the letter he spoke about the miracles taking place in his life. His father who was an alcoholic for the past many years, had for the past 30 days not touched even a drop of alcohol. The company was pleased with this and have given him a permanent job. His sister who had to stop her education was now back in college. He ended the letter again with the words ‘God will not allow us to be defeated’. Six months or so later I got another letter from him. Again he started the letter with the words ‘God will not allow us to be defeated’. He then went on to describe that his mother who had left the family more than 10 years ago, recently came back home after all these years and now they are a complete family once again. He ended his letter saying once again ‘God will not us to be defeated’.

This incident has stayed with me for long. The confidence with which that young man would keep saying that God will not allow him or his family to be defeated was what caught my attention. He had come to a realisation of a wonderful truth. We could face big situations that are difficult for us, maybe even impossible situations, but God will not allow us to be defeated.

In the Bible we read about David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. The Israelites and the Philistines had always had an enmity between them. Many wars were fought between the two. But in 1 Samuel 17 we read about the giant who rose up amongst the Philistines challenging the Israelites. Goliath was a man who stood six cubits and a span ie nearly 9-10 ft. He was so huge than he would wear a helmet of bronze and he was armed with a coat of mail whose weight was five thousands shekels of bronze. He had greaves of bronze on his legs and a javelin of bronze on his shoulders (1 Sam 17:4-6). He stood amongst the Philistines and challenged the Israelites. The Israelites knew that they stood no chance. The giant in front of them was too big.

That is when we see David enter the scene. David was only doing an errand and bringing lunch to his brothers who were in the army. He saw the giant. He could see that Israel was in fear. He heard that there was a promise made by the king that if anyone felled the giant they would be given wealth and the king’s daughter in marriage. David was only a boy but he took up the challenge. He bravely said, “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Sam 17:26) The brothers of David tried to push him back home but he would not go. He openly challenged the giant in front of him. King Saul heard of this challenge and he called David. When he saw David, he was not very impressed. He knew that David would not survive and so he clothed David with a helmet of bronze and made him wear his own coat of mail and gave him a huge sword. David was not able to take even two steps forward. He pulled out the protection that Saul gave him. Saul gave him a protection of this world. But David depended on God. He took his sling and put five stones into his shepherds bag and he went to face his giant. When Goliath saw David come with a sling he looked at him with disdain. But David did not need swords to slay his giant, he did it with the power of God. Using his sling he took one stone and slung it. The stone sunk into the head of the giant. The giant fell.

We all have giants in life. Giants that we sometimes feel are too big to face. These giants are of this world and they look too powerful. Sometimes we feel dejected thinking that the battle is already lost. But remember that God used a little boy David and made him fell the giant. People around David thought that the sword and the helmet of bronze will protect him that is why they made him wear King Saul’s helmet and coat. Sometimes we try to clothe ourselves with the things of the world when we face our giants. But the Lord promises us that He will be our strength. Maybe when we go and face our giants in life with the strength of the Lord, the world looks at us with disdain. They think that we cannot do much. But know that there is no giant too big in our life which cannot be pulled down in the power of God. We could be facing the giants of broken relationships. Maybe the giants of pain and suffering. Maybe the giants of impossible situations. But we should always remember that there is no giant too big for God.

God will not allow us to be defeated. He will not allow our family to be defeated. Times can be tough but let us hold strong. Even when the world looks at us with disdain, as Goliath looked at David with disdain, let us always know that in the power of God, we will triumph. David had taken five stones in his pocket. Maybe he did not believe much in his capabilities and so took five of them for safety. But when the hand of God was directing his, David needed only one stone to fell his giant. When the hand of God will guide us, we will not miss a shot. The giants of our life can look very big and they can seem very tough, but they cannot defeat us because our Lord will not allow us or our families to be defeated. If God has said “I am your God and you are my peoples” it means that He has made a covenant with us. A covenant that we might break in our arrogance but He never will break His covenant. He will help us fight our giants and we will prevail. Let us not fear or run away from the giants of our life. Let us face it knowing that God is by our side.

 
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

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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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