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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

I have come to set the earth on fire" (Lk 12:49) - Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

Monthly Reflections

“I have come to set the earth on fire" (Lk 12:49)

- Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Rev. Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

The tone of the Power 2017 was set by the message of Pope Francis to the young people. "Dear Young People, do not be afraid of the future. Dare to dream big. Keep joy alive, a sign of a young heart that has encountered the Lord." The youth who had come from the different parts of the country and from many countries of the world seemed to have a fire in their heart to encounter Jesus as the Lord and Saviour of their life. Though they looked rather casual and non-caring as they walked into the retreat centre campus, as the retreat progressed, the search for a deeper relationship with the Lord was very evident. The absolute silence with which they were  listening to the talks, the intensity of concentration with which they were taking part in the Eucharistic adoration, the sincere openness with which they approached the counselling session, and the eagerness with which they prepared for the Confessions - everything pointed out to this extraordinary yearning for a God-experience.

“The love of God has been poured out into our hearts” (Rom 5:5)

St John speaks about the encounter Andrew and he had with Jesus. Jesus invited them, "Come and see" (Jn 1:39). The three years of their life with Jesus brought them to a great commitment to the Lord, to the extent that they were ready to die for the Lord. The talks and the testimonies were focused on challenging every one of the participants to commit their lives to Jesus. They were made to stand before the question of Jesus to Simon Peter, "Do you love me more than everything else?" Some of them were shaken up by this question, others were embarrassed because of their sinful past. Still others were frightened to respond but as the days went by, everyone was gripped by the great love with which they felt held by the Lord and the assurance given to them that the Holy Spirit of God will continue to change them. Chamathka from Sri Lanka gave this testimony, "The word of God which I received gave me the courage to forgive my family and others around me and to start loving them. Specially God gave me the strength to forget my past which I was holding on to. This retreat opened up to me what is really love which is the love of God."

Those who felt that they were failed by others and defeated by strong resentments got the power to forgive everyone when they experienced the mercy and compassion of the Lord. For a long time they had thought that they were condemned to live with the negativities of their past. When the Lord took away that burden from their heart, they felt the joy of being loved. Anjali, a teenager from Mumbai testifies, "It feels good to be free from all the burden which I was carrying for so many years." Ajay from Chennai gave his testimony, "After four years, my heart is smiling because I became a new person."

“He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col 1:13)

For many of the youngsters, the Confession and the Counselling experiences marked a remarkable change in their lives. Theresa from Bangalore expresses the intensity of her experience, "I have got freedom from my past life. I have changed a lot and experienced God from close. Jesus healed my anger issues." Jinoy expresses his great joy, "After eight to ten years, I had an honest Confession and after that I enjoyed my conversation with God." Prajwal from Bangalore testifies, "I felt a fire burning in my chest. I saw Jesus sitting in the confessional." Dr Denise from Goa speaks of her marvellous experience, "The most special and fulfilling moment of the retreat would be the moment that I felt a heavy weight on my chest was lifted. I feel light and free."

This liberating encounter with the Lord led many of the participants to make life transforming decisions for the future. Once they met the Lord, they could not live a worldly life. They were deeply convinced that the ways of the flesh would deprive them of living life to the fullest. I remember a young man who confided with me his retreat experience. He was an engineer, working with a government department. He was married three years ago, living with his wife and a baby. Before marriage he had an affair with a girl who was his classmate at college. After the college, for some reason she opted to get married with a richer friend. He felt very humiliated and defeated. This girl after two years of her marriage felt miserable that rejected. Her husband who was a businessman did not have time for her.  She felt excluded from his world. In her frustration and agony, she turned to this ex-boyfriend for a sympathetic ear. Though he listened to her, he had no sympathy for her. He was polite and at the same time whenever she came to him, he felt a terrible anger against her. His rage and revenge led him to a lustful relationship with her. In fact he was married by then. He came for the retreat with this heavy baggage of guilt and hatred. He went for Confession. He found the priest very kind and compassionate. At the same time, the priest challenged him to come out of this ugly relationship, cutting it off completely. The priest also told him that it was his mission to tell this college mate to live with her husband and pray for him, that he may take the marriage seriously. This man was happy to be forgiven and freed of the burden of guilt but at the same time the challenge set before him was intimidating. He was struggling. During the inner healing adoration, the Lord gave him the grace and the power to accept the will of God. He wept his heart out. And once he made up his mind, he became very peaceful and courageous to take up this mission boldly.

“If we live, we live for the Lord” (Rom 14:8)

By a special providence of God, the sharing of the word of God by the preachers led the participants to look to the future with great hope. Many of the young people who had lost their orientation in life received a new vision. They decided to enthrone God as king of their lives. Agnes from Goa testifies, "I have decided to allow Jesus to take control of my life and to stop living in fear and doubt, trusting in Jesus. In spite of my failures in the past I am convinced that my surrender will be accepted by Jesus." Nathania from Goa declares, "I have learnt to make God the centre of my life and to be strong in my Christian life."

During the Eucharistic Adoration there was a vision message that seven young men were chosen to become priests and three young girls were called to religious life. There was an enthusiastic applause from the gathering of the youngsters. Later youngsters came to priests and preachers to tell them of their earnest desire to give their life to Jesus. A young man came to me saying that for a long time he was getting a desire in his heart to join the seminary to become a priest, but he was always resisting it. For one thing, he was a top scorer in the college and his future in the world looked very bright for him. Secondly, he had very close friends and even felt a special affection to a girl whom at times he even thought of marrying. During the retreat he was deeply filled with the love for the Lord. He got the confirmation of his call to consecrated life. Once he made the decision, he was extremely happy and to give up his worldly ambitions was not at all an irksome task for him.

“He binds up their wounds” (Ps 147:3)

The power of God's love flowed into the participants effecting even the transformation in their body. The gospels tell us that those who gathered around Jesus felt the healing power of the Lord flowing into them. The woman with haemorrhages felt that power when she reached out and touched the garment of Jesus (Mk 5:29). The man with dropsy felt liberated (Lk 14:4). The paralysed man at Bethesda felt it in his joints (Jn 5:9). Bartimaeus felt it in his eyes (Mk 10:52). The healing of the sick was an integral part of the ministry of Jesus. Through these miraculous healing, the saving mission of Jesus was realised and manifested. St Luke tells us that St John the Baptist sent his disciples to Jesus to enquire of Him whether He was truly the Messiah. As the disciples approached Jesus, the Lord was healing many people of their diseases and casting out evil spirits and granted sight to the many who were blind.

Jesus said to the disciples of John the Baptist, "Go and tell John, what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them" (Lk 7:18-22). Jesus showed these miraculous healing as the clear evidence of His being the Saviour of the world sent by the Father. Wherever the word of God is preached and Jesus is accepted as the Messiah, miraculous healing does take place. Raghu from Chennai testifies, "My severe neck pain disappeared after a healing session and my heart feels light." Vijaya from Bangalore joyfully expresses, "I got rid of my breathing problem which I was suffering from for the past twenty three years." Antony from Karnataka testifies that he was healed of his severe back pain. In fact during the retreat when people were invited to share their testimonies, there was a very eager response from the youngsters to come forward and share the personal touch of Jesus healing their body.

At the end of the retreat, all returned home with great memories of God's love. Darsela from Sri Lanka writes of his overwhelming experience, "This retreat is the best gift ever that I have had in my life. This is the turning point of my life. The feeling of being loved by the Almighty God is awesome. I know I am special to Jesus my Lord."

This joyous event of their life has charged many with a mission to spread this message to those around them. Mahesh from Goa has this testimony, "This retreat is one of the greatest experiences for me. In my life, I want to spread the message to my friends that I have a friend called Jesus and without Him, my life is empty. He is my saviour." This new found fullness of life has brought forth a new great joy in the hearts of the young people. The words of Pope Francis are truly prophetic, "Keep joy alive, a sign of a young heart that has encountered the Lord." The Pope challenges the youth, "Dear young people, you are the hope of the Church." Looking at the bright faces of the young men and women returning home after the retreat, I would dare affirm, the hope of the Church is truly bright.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, your love is a fire. We thank you for the marvellous experience of your love during the Power Conference. You have swept across the hearts of the youth, purified them from the burdens of sin and grief, moulded them in your glorious goodness, that they shine as lights in this world for your glory. Lord, we pray, protect them that though they are in the world they may always find the strength of your word to be not caught in the current of the worldly desires. May the seed sown at this retreat give them comfort and power in their lonely and difficult moments. May the joy you have flooded them with spread as a healing fire across their families, friends and to the ends of the earth. Lord Jesus, may your name be praised across this world by the lives of your chosen ones. Amen.

 
Divine Updates

MAGNIFICAT in Chennai

Divine comes to Chennai with the 'Magnificat on October 21,2017. Fr. Jacob Arimpur VC will lead the services. Music by Worship Culture. With special sessions for children.

Venue: Stella Maris College, Cathedral Road

MAGNIFICAT in Bangalore

Celebrate an evening with our Lord in Bangalore at the 'Magnificat' on October 14, 2017. Services to be led by Fr Jacob Arimpur VC. All are welcome.

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

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 2017 - December, 2017

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, 2017

Divine Mercy Mega Convention

Answer God's call and experience His burning love for you. A three-day convention to be led by Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC and team at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Bangalore. Please spread the word.

Dates: October 27, 28 & 29, 2017

Divine Retreat Schedules

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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.

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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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