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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

“His love is perfected in us" (1 Jn 4:12) - Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

Divine Call Archives

In pursuit of happiness

By Maria Sangeetha

We are all looking for a guarantee for happiness. Every path we pursue, every decision we make, be it big or small, is towards ensuring happiness. We have formed certain expectations for ourselves, from others, and of our situations. And obviously as long as we live on this earth all things and all people don’t rise up to these expectations. And when we are thus let down we can get slightly disappointed or we can even become totally disillusioned and walk away from people and situations that are God-ordained in our life. We have seen enough to know there is no easy or sure formula for happiness. Christian life while promising us the sure crown of the fullness of life is also about striving through the narrow path. Yet with every little setback a wave of fear surges that that our hopes are shattered. We give up. We are fearful of the future. We lose interest in life.

There are young people who because of broken expectations questioned God, goodness and life. They could not see beyond their tragedies. It is to such desperate people that the Risen Lord appeared and offered the blessing of peace, “Peace be with you” (Jn. 20:19,21). When we come face to face with the limitations within us and the sad unchanging facts about things around us, we lose our peace. The Risen Lord offers us peace by which we shall see everything afresh in God’s light and here lies our restoration and glory.

“We had hoped” (Lk. 24:21)

This was the complaint of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. They had held grand hopes. They staked all they had on the basis of these hopes. And now their hopes were shattered with the death of their Master. Their dreams had overnight been turned into smoke. There was no trace of hope. For them as it were for Simon Peter and the other disciples the death of Jesus was a colossal mistake. There was nothing at all that seemed right. The death of Jesus was the tragedy of all tragedies – the death of God Himself. This is the greatest loss one could incur. And for the disciples the cost was great. They had given up everything in life – their families, their professions, their securities and the acceptance of their own people to follow Jesus.

How did those bereaved by the death of Jesus cope with the loss? The loss of their Master also meant the loss of all that they had in life and all that meant life for them over those 3 years. Were they restored to life, peace and reconciliation? And the fact is they were. Additionally they were no longer mere followers of Jesus but missionaries of salvation. Their life and mission would touch all generations to come to the ends of the earth just as Jesus commissioned them to. Their days were filled with love and joy that everyone was drawn to share their faith.

This mighty transformation was accomplished by the Risen Lord who enjoined them to wait in prayer, “Stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high” (Lk. 24:49). He knew His own words would not suffice. The Holy Spirit would have to inscribe it in their hearts. “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth” (Jn. 16:12,13). At Pentecost when they waited in prayer they were anointed by the Holy Spirit and their lives were turned upside down. The fearful were made bold. They spoke in new languages to proclaim salvation and to turn the world upside down. They were now known as the “men who have turned the world upside down” (Ac. 17:6).

“Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears” (Hb. 5:7)

Even Jesus was not shielded from the agony of pain. He Himself had to go through the journey of reconciliation. Jesus knew the Cross was His mission. The Father had sent Him with one purpose – to gain salvation for all of mankind. And this was not going to be accomplished during those comfortable moments of fellowship or glorious moments when He preach those beautiful sermons and performed those marvellous wonders. Salvation was to be worked out only through the agony of the Cross. Jesus knew this very well and spoke about it to His disciples and others quite frequently. Yet when he reached the threshold of the Passion, the gospels describe He was disturbed and grieved and sorrowful unto death, sweating tears of blood. His agony was great. But Jesus waited in prayer till He received the comfort and power of the Holy Spirit. The anointing Jesus received bestowed on Him a super amazing tenacity to go through the entire excruciatingly long and extreme suffering with complete and life giving grace and goodness that left everyone in awe declaring “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Mt. 27:54)

“Your sorrow will turn into joy” (Jn. 16:20)

Most of us are slaves to what has gone wrong in our past and we are focused on all that’s lacking in our present. As a result of this the little faith we have in God’s goodness is naturally eroded and we are too fragile for life. The Lord God who transforms night into day effortlessly seeks to remind us daily we never need to despair. In the beginning of times when there was darkness and primordial chaos God sent forth His Spirit. As the Spirit hovered over the chaos the Word was sent and an ordered creation filled with light, colour and perfection was established.

Jesus said, “Is not this why you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God?” It is not that our situations are wrong or that we are created with wrong orientations. When the Lord pours out His Spirit on us we shall receive a word and a vision of His love and sovereign presence. Peace and restoration come with the realisation that God who is all loving is determined to fulfil his plan for my welfare. Only when we are thus reconciled can we cooperate with God and move forward and achieve the fulfilment of God’s plan for us. We are not meant to remain in the prisons of fear and grief. We have a mission waiting for us. And the seed of this mission is in my waiting in prayer. When I receive the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word that banishes darkness I shall be restored to life and glory.

 
Divine Updates

MAGNIFICAT in Bangalore

Celebrate an evening with our Lord in Bangalore at the 'Magnificat' on January 20, 2018. Services to be led by Fr Augustine Vallooran VC. All are welcome. Music by Glen and Teresa La'Rive.

Venue: St. Joseph's Boys' School Chapel, Museum Road, Bangalore

Kannada Convention 2018

Divine Retreat Centre will conduct our annual Kannada convention in May, 2018 The convention will be blessed by the vibrant preaching of many anointed servants of God. Please come.

Date: May 6 - May 11, 2018

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, 2018

Hindi Convention Ojas 2018

The Divine Retreat Centre will conduct our eighth Hindi convention, in 2018. Two retreats will be held simultaneously on the campus; one for adults and another for couples and youth. All are welcome.

Date: May 27 - June 1, 2018

National Bible Convention in Potta

Answer God's call and experience His burning love for you. A five-day convention to be led by Fr. Fr Mathew Naikomparampil, Fr George Panackal, Fr Mathew Elavumkal, Fr Xavier Khan Vattayil, Fr Dominic Valamanal and other stalwarts in Charismatic ministry. Please spread the word.

Dates: February 7 - 11, 2018

Divine Retreat Schedules

ENGLISH RETREATS

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. Mathew Elavumkal, 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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