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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

"Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it" (Lk 11:28) - Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

Divine Call Archives

Spiritual obesity

By Sheen Thomas

Time and again we come across too self-conscious people who make statements such as, “I am too fat”, “I don’t look good” or worse still, “Am I ok?”. These are nothing but their expressions of fear, comparing their own status in society with the set trends and standards of the times. Apart from being wishful thinking, these attitudes that cause an individual to be self-critical, is the very kind of spiritual Narcissism that we wilfully neglect, merely because we have unknowingly hit a roadblock in the journey to heaven in our kind of narrow path. This rebellion within, can range in magnitude and duration purely depending on the extent of emotional bonding we have to the darkened light we carry/cherish within us. What exactly is this rebellion? Is this what demands enhanced spiritual warfare on oneself or is it the transitory phase in spiritual adolescence which we eventually overcome usually with surprising grief?  (Though The Lord allowed it with great love for your unending joy…think about it! )

Spiritual rebellion begins with disobedience. The often straying sheep, hard of hearing what the Spirit speaks to those who have ears, face the brunt of the turbulent tides of this darkness. Disobedience to self is the beginning, followed by disobedience to others including God. An individual who has tasted and seen how good the Lord is, is clear in his/her motives to serve Him. Soon after an encounter with God in our lives, we usually end up promising ourselves (if not the Lord) that we will never betray Him. It’s a promise we make to ourselves. Later on in life, any deviations in it in any form arrive from a counter theory rooted in a convenient and wilful negligence of this taste of an encounter with God. Not that we, the victim lack knowledge of and about the kingdom but that we find that this knowledge doesn’t support us to acquire in righteousness, those plans, dreams and secret ambitions which we should have given up after experiencing the Lord. This is where ‘spiritual obesity’ sets in. In fact it comes for all of us who have not yet given up those old plans, dreams and secret ambitions.

Neglect of what we have or lack of use of what is already ours, is basically storing up of what we don’t intend to use. Where are those talents that the Lord gave us? Did we use or put them aside? As followers of “Him who emptied Himself to the point of death on the cross”, are the pearls of the heavens so worthless to us that we should subject them to an exchange to keep alive our selfish greed? We are called to store up in heaven and not on earth especially in us, within us, for us. Spiritual fruits, gifts, charisms and powers are meant for our fellow brothers and sisters. In furthering the frontiers of our personal ambitions, we bring to halt the very purpose of these spiritual pearls handed over to us in love. Neglect of any scale and proportion grieves the Holy Spirit. He won’t be able to administer to us. We gradually grow cold to the warm love of the Lord. Life becomes spiritually uneventful with nothing much to rejoice about or look forward to. We don’t find reason to laugh and be joyful about. We end up losing our joy.

The scriptures clearly speak about the narrow path which is the only way, the only gate through which we enter into the heavenly realm the green pastures that the Lord has prepared for us as individuals and also as a community. There are no second options for thinking Christians; (for the Kingdom cannot be held captive in mortal thought process, nor accounted for in scales of human measurement) therefore it’s all about obedience in humility. Are the kingdom fundamentals being too harsh and brutal on us, the willingly faithful ones? Not at all, for the Lord knows it, in fact He just didn’t put it in scripture form but He did it when He walked the earth and showed that it was possible for man. Therefore the Lord cries out to His sheep saying, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”(Mt 11:29)

His prime concern is the salvation for all souls. Seeking and saving the Lost is the order of the day. Hence the Lord states in Jn 5:17 “My father is still working, and I also am working”. The Trinity is working on us 24x7. And we, as His imitators, are called to work on them - the lost sheep. In this great work those who stop gathering with Him are withering, putting aside their tools, their gifts and charisms. The litmus test is this: have you kept the joy of the Lord by doing His will? If not, then you are sadly obese in spirit. Get back your Joy, get up and go work in the vineyard. Use faith to give up the fear of how bad you might be as a man or woman in the kingdom. Jesus doesn’t think so. Should you ?

 
Divine Updates

38th 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 20 - 25, 2018

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

Konkani Convention - Kuttumb Utsov 2018

Divine Retreat Centre's annual Konkani Convention will be held at the centre. The convention will be led by Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC, Director. Talks to focus mainly on the renewal of the family. All are welcome.

Date: April 22 - April 27, 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

Tamil Convention in DRC

Answer God's call and experience His burning love for you. Our 12th Tamil Convention will be held at our DRC campus this year. The convention will include 4 simultaneous retreats - for priests & religious, for couples, for youth and for children. Please spread the word.

Dates: 29th April - 4th May, 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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