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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

God's messengers and His messages

By Fr. Michael Payyapilly VC

A couple of years ago, a young girl was brought to the retreat centre as she was preparing to go to college. Her mother brought her to my room to be prayed over. The girl asked me for prayers and said that she wanted to study in a particular college. She kept asking me to pray and let her know if this college was the right choice. When she kept insisting I realised that there was something that she was looking for. I asked her if the course she wanted was available in that college. She replied in the negative. Then I asked her why she wanted to go there in that case. Then she came out with the truth. She said, “Father, my boyfriend is going to that college.” Her mother looked at me helplessly. I prayed for her and told her that her intention for going to this college was wrong and that need not be God’s will. She compelled me to pray for her again. Again I told her that that need not be God’s will. She walked away very upset. By the end of the retreat, she had met nearly three priests here and all of them listening to her reason said that that need not be from God. She left this place very upset.

A few months later I remember coming across this girl in another retreat centre. She seemed very cheerful and came and met me and was praising the director of the centre to the skies. When I met the director I asked him how he managed to make this girl happy. He smiled at me and said, “This girl came here for a retreat a few months ago. She was preparing to enter college. She came and asked me if the college she was choosing was the right one. I prayed and told her that her intentions were wrong and so the choice is wrong. She kept asking me to pray for her. I prayed and said the same thing. In the end I was so fed up that I told her that the college she has chosen is the right one. She went away very happy.” He told me, “She wanted to hear something that was already in her mind and until she got that she would never be happy. So I gave it to her”. She did not want to hear the message of the Lord but she wanted to hear what pleased her.

Many times this is what happens in our lives. We end up desiring to hear the message we want rather than the message the Lord has for us. The Lord always has a message for us but how receptive are we to His message and His messengers? In the Bible we read about King David. David was a nice king. But he did commit a sin, the sin of adultery with Bathsheba which ultimately led into the murder of her husband. After getting her husband killed, David smoothly gets married to her. He acts as though nothing happened. But then in 2 Samuel 12 we read how prophet Nathan is sent by the Lord with a message. He comes to David and in the form of a story condemns the act of David. The moment Nathan reveals David’s mistake, David’s reacts. In 2 Samuel 12:13 David says to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” He was so prompt in accepting his mistake. He did not try to find excuses but humbly accepted the message and the messenger of God. That accepting of the message and messenger of God is what actually saved David from destruction. The message that Nathan gave him was not very pleasant. Maybe it was something that David did not want to hear. It was a message that pointed a finger of condemnation at him. True he did not enjoy that message but he knew it was from God and he humbly accepted that message.

We read about a similar incident in the life of King Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20. Hezekiah was a very good king. He was faithful to God and always kept His commandments. But in Chapter 20, we read that Hezekiah falls sick and the prophet Isaiah tells him, “Thus says the Lord: set your house in order for you shall die; you shall not recover.” (2 Sam 1). The moment Hezekiah hears this he does not argue trying to prove his innocence. Rather his first action is that of repentance and accepting the message of the Lord. This action of his helps him get his life back. He accepts the message and the messenger of the Lord. Logically speaking he could have asked Isaiah why he is being condemned. He was living a good life and it all seems unfair. Maybe this was not the message that Hezekiah expected to hear after all those years of faithfulness. If he wanted he could have asked Isaiah about this or even justified himself but he chooses to accept the message and the messenger. This brings him a few extra years from the Lord.

But in stark contrast we read about King Saul. King Saul was like David. He was given everything as a gift from God. But time and again he would go against the Lord. In 1 Samuel 15 we read that he is going out to war against the Amalekites. God tells him that when God gives him the victory he is to destroy the land completely. The Lord says that he should not leave anything behind. But after the Lord gives him the victory Saul disobeys. He keeps aside the good portion of the cattle and the wealth. The Lord is furious with him and sends Samuel to Saul with a message. Samuel comes to Saul and corrects him with the message of the Lord. But the way Saul reacts to this message is arrogant. In 1 Samuel 15:20 we read Saul’s reaction, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, I have gone on the mission that the Lord sent me, I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.” Though he had disobeyed the Lord, here we see him justifying his actions and rejecting the message and the messenger of God. This message that Samuel came with, did not particularly please Saul and so he rejected it. It was a message that accused him and he could not accept that. So he rejected it. This is something that happens very often in the life of the Saul. He was warned many times but Saul would always justify his actions and reject the message. That is why we see Saul dying a miserable death. Saul’s was a sad story of one losing the grace because he rejected the message and messenger of the Lord.

In our lives when God sends messages and messengers; how do we react to them? How receptive are we to them? At every point in our life the Lord sends us messages through his messengers. These messengers could be in the form of the simple people around us. The Lord could be sending us messages through our own parents or maybe our spouses or our children or anyone around us. How receptive are we to the message they carry for us from God? Many times these messengers don’t seem very impressive. Maybe they don’t even seem very qualified. They might be younger than us or lesser qualified than us but that does not matter to the Lord. He needs to get a message across to us and He uses the messengers He chooses. How humble are we to accept the message and the messenger? In Galatians 2 we read of Paul condemning Peter when Peter tries to avoid the Gentiles. Paul stands up and condemns Peter for it. Peter could have thought to himself that he is the head of the Church and Paul is only a relatively newcomer. He could have brushed aside the words of Paul. But humbly he accepts his mistake and the message from God. This helps Peter grow in his ministry. Let us have the desire to be humble and accept the messages that the Lord sends through His messengers, though this might not be very appealing to our hearts.

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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