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Divine Call

The one who speaks face to face -
By Fr John Puthenpurackal VC

The first chapter of the Gospel of Luke is a testimony of unusual and uncommon happenings. Human disposition and feelings of discomfort, fear, doubt, dread and so forth give way to divine dispositions of peace, faith, courage and joy. Questions raised to God and the responses from heaven above, praise and worship all flow in together to raise our hearts in awe and to open up new horizons of faith for us.

Mother Mary truly is the central figure of this chapter. Before the mysterious plans of God, a discomfited Mary is first being given courage by the angel, “Do not be afraid, Mary” (Luke 1:30). When the plans of God are revealed, becoming discomfited is quite natural. This is because the Lord desires a complete paradigm shift from a life led in following worldly thoughts and ways. A stammering Moses, a young Jeremiah, Isaiah of unclean lips, the fishermen Andrew and Peter, a tax collector Matthew were all emboldened by the Lord. Conceiving the Son of the Almighty is a thing incomprehensible to the human mind. That is why Mary asks, “How can this be?” The response she receives is this: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” This was not like the anointing or enlightenment that the prophets of the Old Testament had received, nor like what the Apostles had experienced in the New Testament. The Holy Spirit is making as His own Mary’s life, taking it up completely. Mary is being possessed by the Holy Spirit. At the same time, Mary’s freedom is not being negated. So she responds, “Let it be with me according to your Word” (Luke 1:38). She agrees to the plan of God. God performs the act of creation through the Word. “'Let there be light'; and there was light” (Gen 1:3). The sky, earth, oceans and the rest of creation are similarly brought into existence through the Word. Mary being a free human being, it was necessary for her to say, “Let it be with me according to your Word.” The Word thus fulfilled is Jesus Christ.

Even though God’s plans have a mysterious nature, our Lord is a God of revelations. In the book of Exodus we read of how intimate His relationship and communication was with Israelites and Moses: “Thus the Lord used to speak Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend” (Exod 33:11). In Jeremiah 33:3, we read, "Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known." To Mary’s questions, the answers given by the angel are revelations. Being human, Joseph was bewildered before the Lord’s plans, and behold comes a God with revelations. “But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit'. She will bear a Son, and you are to name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins'” (Matt. 1:20-21). Here Joseph’s faith also increases and he makes as his own the strength to fulfil the Lord’s plans. In spite of being a priest, Zachariah stood confounded before the mysterious plans of God. Then accompanied by signs, God reveals His intervention (Luke 1:8-20).

Near Damascus, Lord’s great light jolts Saul out of his high station on the horse back to the ground (Acts 9). Later the Lord reveals His plans through Ananias, ”The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the Righteous one and hear His own voice’’ (Acts 22:14). Through baptism Paul is born and he begins proclaiming the revealed plans of God. St Paul writes of how the Spirit helps us to pray discerning the mind of God, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very spirit intercede with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God’’ (Rom 8:26-27).

“The whole world lies under the power of the evil one” (1 Jn. 5:19). John’s lament is an indication of the influence that evil can have over us. It is not always easy to discern the Lord’s plans, because we are usually led by human calculations and judgments. Coupled with that, being in a state of enslavement to evil inspirations, this ‘discernment’ becomes cumbersome. In the little prayer taught by Jesus, ‘Our Father…’ the pleas such as ‘May Your will be done’, ‘lead us not into temptation’, reveal that it is this truth that we comprehend. To be able to discern the Lord’s plans beyond common proclivity and human ways of thinking and to be led by it, the Lord Himself helps us. St. Paul says, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” (1 Cor. 15:10).

The angel greets Mary thus, “Hail Mary! Full of grace!” Fullness of grace truly is the foundation of everything. Let us pray that like our Mother, we too may be filled with grace.

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Divine Updates

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

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Date: 28 July - 2 Aug 2019

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Fr. Augustine Vallooran and team will lead several special retreats across the US - in California, Florida, Texas, Ohio and Maryland. Please bring your family and friends. Hear the Word and be refreshed.?

Date: August 2-18, 2019

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Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby to hold retreats throughout 2019. For bookings, email Fr Roni George, Director - or Hurry, as admission is limited.

Date: January 2019 - December, 2019

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Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC, along with Glen and Teresa La'Rive, will lead an inner healing retreat at the Shrine of St Jude Catholic Church, Rockville, Maryland. Please be there.

Dates: August 16-18, 2019

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Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

The Son of God came down to the world to give us life and life in the full (Jn 10:10). The favourite title, He took for Himself is, "I am the Good Shepherd"

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Lord Jesus, today we bring to You every place on earth that is facing bad weather right now. Son of God who commanded the winds and the waves, please have mercy on our world. We specially pray for those affected right now by earthquakes, hurricanes, bad weather, power and water supply disruptions. A prayer of mercy for those who are travelling or stuck at strange places, unable to reach home and for their loved ones far away. Let Your protection keep us safe, Jesus. Amen

Divine Call

The one who speaks face to face

By Fr John Puthenpurackal VC

Is it wrong to intercede to saints

By Fr Joseph Edattu VC

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