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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

Come on, let us evangelise...

By Maneesha Jennifer Mathias

There was once a priest who had the habit of going for a walk every evening. It was during his daily walk one day that he heard the shrieks of birds in great distress. He moved in the direction from where cries were coming and saw a little boy holding a cage in his hands, which contained weak and almost dying birds. The boy was torturing them and taking delight from it. The priest was very disturbed by this and he walked to the boy and said, "I will give you as much money as you ask of me, but please set them free". The boy replied, "I have trapped them, I have taken the trouble to do that and so they are mine and you cannot tell me what to do with them". The priest begged, but the boy did not relent, finally the priest asked the boy to name a price so that he could buy the birds from him. The boy laughed loudly and said, "Father, you yourself told me that these birds will die anyway, and then why should you inconvenience yourself and pay for something that is not worth the price?"

The priest kept increasing the price until the boy could no longer say no and finally the cage and the birds were in the hands of the priest, who saved them.

Isn’t this what God has done for us? We were ensnared and trapped in a cage called ‘sin’ by the devil. He took delight by torturing us, but the Father in Heaven could not bear this and He asked the devil to set His children free...but the devil bargained with God and asked for a heavy price, the tears, the suffering, the passion and even the last drop of blood of His beloved Son Jesus. When Jesus heard this conversation between the Father and the devil, I believe He readily agreed - for that great is His love for you and me. He came down upon the earth to set you and me free - that was His only purpose. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (Rom 8:1, 2)

Such a great gift we have received from the Father and Son, the Father gave His only Son, yes His only Son. We often call ourselves the sons and daughter of God, so proudly when asked we say we are the ‘children of God’. But today we need to examine ourselves and see whether we actually are worthy to be called as His children. To be a child of God, we have to be like His only son.

When Jesus died for you and me, there were no guarantees that you and I will turn back from sin and live in union with Jesus. In spite of all this, He was willing to die a humiliating death on the cross. In our lives there are so many occasions when we feel let down or hurt by the people around us. Many times we cry out in anguish and ask "Lord- why me and why now?". We hate those people and feel kind of cursed that we have to live along with them. Wherever we go, at work, in the neighborhood, at church and even home there is someone who accuses us of things we have not done or unnecessarily breaks us. We often wonder should we bear with such people, and thus try to stay away from them as far as we possibly can.

I remember one such situation of my life. One day I was defamed in front of a crowd of people. I was very upset and angry. I believe the minute I got angry, the devil got room in my mind and I started getting very upset and eventually started weeping.

After spending awhile feeling sorry for myself and crying, suddenly a Word crossed my mind. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls. (Lk 21: 17-20)

Now I was truly shocked - if someone had said something to defame me, then the Lord had permitted it! Does this mean that the Lord is against me? Definitely not and that I was sure of.

I was totally upset that in moments of difficulty and trials I could not remain in faith. I did not rely on Him in adversity. I was blinded by sadness, anger and all such negative emotions - so blinded, that I could not see the hand of my God. I felt guilty and shameful that I had failed a test of faith. With deep sorrow in my heart, I went into the presence of the Lord to ask forgiveness and said, ‘Lord I should have waited for You to change everything for my good, I am so sorry that I cried, I never should have.’
And then what happened I can never forget, for I heard the voice of Jesus telling me “it is good that you cried’ and as I listened He said, ‘that’s why I got a chance to wipe those tears away, to gather you close and comfort you.”

If any pain and anger had been there, if the thoughts of revenge were still in me, that was the moment everything changed. I had hated the person who had defamed me and now I realised it was because of this very painful act that I received such comfort from my God. I now realised that this person was a ‘channel of God' - an instrument that He chose to give me a wonderful blessing.

But then what about them, don’t they need to be saved, how do we save these people?

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord. If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom12:19-21)

If your enemy is hungry…the Lord realised we were hungry and he broke Himself for us and also told us to break ourselves for others, giving them life. How can we do this? When people around us trouble us or hurt us, by tolerating it in silence with love and not retorting - we feed them when they are hungry. Even though they continue to hate, we must continue to love - this is the command of our God.

If your enemy is thirsty…yes thirsty and sometimes so thirsty that this person continues to break you…thirsting to destroy - so it seems. But in reality it is his soul, informing you how tortured he is by being a slave of the devil and how much he needs to be set free. The devil being his master uses him to torment you so that, you will hate him so much, thus taking you away from God. And now since you are filled with hatred and anger, even if you pray God cannot answer you, as sin is the great divide between God and man. By your endurance you gain souls…Give him to drink…continuously pray offering your pain and sufferings, and in doing so you will heap burning coals on their heads…you will be rewarded as the Heavens open and the Holy Spirit in the form of fire falls on their heads, changes them and brings them to God.

This is our mission on Earth as sons and daughters of God: to suffer with Christ…like Christ, beg God to forgive those who sin against us. Like Christ we suffer, offering our pains and sufferings - that will bring those who are slaves of the devil to God, to be His children.

When we cry, "Abba! Father!" it is that very Spirit that bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs - heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ — if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him (Rom 8:15-17)

Come on let’s evangelise...

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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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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