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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

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Forever a child of God

By Fr. Michael Payyapilly VC

Recently I overheard a mother, who had brought her young teenage son for a retreat, say to a priest, “I don’t know what to do with this boy, Father. We have given him so many chances, but he does not learn from it. I can’t believe that he is my son. He acts like the son of the devil!” That was surprising coming from a mother. What struck me was the statement ‘He acts like the son of the devil’. It got me thinking if a human being can ever become a ‘son of the devil’. When people are upset I have heard them use this phrase often. But is this possible?

The bible tells us in Genesis 1:26 “Let us create human beings in our image and likeness”. So creation of anything was done only by God. Human beings will always remain God’s creation. And creation is a beautiful act which Satan is not capable of. Even when the snake, as is told in Genesis, gets a chance to bring in evil, even there he is not able to create. He can only inject evil in one who has already been created. He did not create Adam or Eve. When evil set into their lives it was because he injected evil into them. But he was not able to create evil. Therefore the concept of the ‘son of a devil’ is not possible.

Why am I referring to this? Satan time and again afflicts us with his evil thoughts and ideas and leads us away from God. When that happens and we fall into sin, at times we are so disappointed with our failures to live a holy life that we have a tendency to feel that we are rejected by God and have lost our sonship. The feeling that we have lost everything can bring in a lot of guilt and guilt can be very deceptive. Guilt can lead us to depressive thoughts and give us the feeling that we have been rejected by our Lord. A feeling that we have lost everything.

In the parable of the prodigal son, in Luke chapter 15, we read about the father and his two sons. The younger son demanded the share of the property from his father and walked away. It was a foolish choice. The son thought that happiness lay in property. He failed to realise that true happiness lay with the father and not the wealth the father had. He made a wrong choice and walked away from the father. Later the shine of the wealth died out and he was left in his mess. But instead of going home he would walk around trying to get a hold of his life but found himself being sucked into a greater mess. Ultimately he thinks of going back home to be a servant. He thought that because of his sins and having gone away from the father he would have lost his sonship and so he chose to don the role of a slave. But as he came home, his father embraced him and called the servants to give this son everything that indicates the sonship – the ring, the sandals and the cloak. For the father, the son would always remain a son. Just because the son left the father’s side and made wrong choices he was not going to lose his sonship because that was given him by the father. Only the father had the right to take away that sonship from him. In the parable when the prodigal son goes away from the father, he is not called prodigal boy/man. He is still called the prodigal son. Going away from the father and becoming a prodigal was the son’s choice. But his sonship was the father’s choice. And the father was not ready to change that choice even if the son walked far away from him.

There is a prodigal streak in our lives. We make a lot many wrong choices in life and walk away from God our heavenly Father. We fail to realise that true joy and happiness is found not in what the Father has given us but in the Father Himself. And so we chose the Father’s property rather than choosing the Father. Our wrong choices lead us away from our Father. Many of us do not like to commit sins but the attraction of sin gets too much for us and we make wrong choices and choose to become prodigals. Satan injects his poison in us and this brings in guilt. When we are filled with guilt of having made the wrong choices, it leads us into depressive thoughts that maybe, we are rejected by our Father and that we have lost our sonship. And with these negative thoughts, Satan tries to make us believe that we have lost everything. But the fact remains that however far we go from the Father, we will always remain His sons and daughters. That will never change. We as sons and daughters don’t have the right to change who we are. To be a son or daughter of God the Father, is the core of our being. It is impossible for us to change that, in spite of our wrong choices. Wherever we go and whatever we do, we will always be called sons and daughters of God. Just because I made wrong choices and let evil into my life, that cannot make me a ‘child of the devil’. My wrong and foolish choices can make me a prodigal but it cannot cease to make me a son/daughter.

I have come across many people especially youngsters who come and make good retreats in the centre and have an amazing experience with God. But a few weeks or months after the retreat, the moment they listen to the voice of Satan and end up making wrong choices, they feel depressed and try to stay away from prayer and the Lord, thinking to themselves that they have lost everything. It is so difficult to get that thought out of their minds that they have lost nothing. The sonship is still on. That cannot be changed. Not once in the parable of the prodigal son, does the term ‘Father’ get exchanged for ‘Master’ or the term ‘son’ get exchanged for ‘slave’. The son is ready to degrade himself for the sake of survival, but the Father is not ready to degrade the son for anything. The son is too precious to the father. We might be ready to degrade ourselves for our survival but never will the Father be ready to allow that to happen. We are too precious to Him. And there is no greater sign of that than Jesus’ death on the cross. A son/daughter will always remain a son/daughter of the Father.

 
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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

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