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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

“I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you" (Jn 13:34)

- Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

Monthly Reflections

“I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you" (Jn 13:34)

Rev. Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

The British physicist Isaac Newton enunciated the law that determines movements: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. He ascribed this principle to the movements in material things. The behaviour of animals is also, by and large, covered by this principle. If one irritates a dog, the animal will come charging at him. If one behaves affectionately to it, it will also be amiable. Unfortunately this principle of action-reaction often dictates the pattern of human behaviour as well. We tend to associate with people who encourage and support us. On the other hand, we avoid those who don't seem agreeable. As a result, hatred and violence, conflicts and war are perpetuated both in the personal level and in society at large.

"He does not punish us according to our sins" (Ps 103:10)

Jesus has enunciated another law for human behaviour. He called it the 'New Commandment', "Love one another as I have loved you" (Jn 13:34). He wants us to deal with others as He has dealt with us. Mercy and grace has always been His response to the insolence of the sinful man. The gospels give us evident instances revealing the inner fire of the salvific love in Him that directed His behaviour. Talking to Nicodemus, Jesus clarified the very purpose of His coming to the world. He was sent by the Father to make sure that no one was lost. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). He was determined that no one who comes to Him believing in Him should be lost. The way they dealt with Him was not the criterion for Him to deal with them. His words and actions were not mere mindless reactions but pointedly positive responses in line with the mission he had to save everyone.

This mystery was clearly expressed during the Last Supper. While sitting with His apostles for the Passover meal, He got up from the chair of authority, put aside his mantle of a teacher and put on the garb of humble service. He proceeded to kneel at the feet of His disciples, washing each ones feet without a word. When he knelt at the feet of Simon  Peter with the basin of water and began to wash it, Peter was overwhelmed. When he felt the cool water flowing down his feet he remonstrated, saying, "You shall never wash my feet” (Jn 13:8). The response of Jesus is very striking, "Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” It is crucial to understand the meaning of the Lord's utterance here. Ever since Jesus called Simon Peter, he had been part of the life of Jesus. But by the sin of denials, that privilege will be lost to him as sin cuts man off from God. Jesus did not want Simon Peter to be disconnected from Him in anyway, even though Simon would deny Him. For this reason Jesus was washing away the sin of Simon even before the sin was committed. It's very pertinent to understand therefore that the washing of the feet rather than being a mere act of humble service, was more a decisive act of salvation. Jesus was saving Simon from sin as it was His purpose of incarnation, that is, to make sure that no one was lost. Jesus repeated this salvific action with every other disciple, that though they would reject the Lord and run away from Him, their sin would not determine their destiny and disconnect them from Jesus.

“Everyone who loves is begotten by God” (1 Jn 4:7)

After having revealed this great mystery of love that governs His actions, Jesus insists that this same mystery of love should be the guiding force in our way of relating to everyone else. "You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you" (Jn 13:13-15). The purpose that Jesus came to the world for should be adopted by every disciple. That's what He chose His disciples for. When He called Simon Peter, He declared His intention, "I will make you fishers of men" (Mat 4:19). The mission of salvation for which Jesus was born on this earth should be accepted by all those who follow Him as the purpose of their lives.

When Jesus gives forgiving love as the New Commandment for His disciples (Jn 13:34), He intends to tell everyone that when they are hurt they need to go and get reconciled and thus effect salvation in the life of that person. The disciple is not permitted to react to hurts by harbouring anger and hatred. Their response shall be to go to them and be humble before them as Jesus was at the washing of the feet and make sure thus that the other's sin is erased. Jesus is dismissing, once and for all, the pattern of action-reaction from human relationships. I deal with the other not as the other deals with me but as Jesus shows me by example.

I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world (John 12:47)

In the life of Jesus, we see manifest many instances where the Lord teaches us this new style of relationship. In the gospel of John, we read how the Samaritan woman talks to Jesus with indifference and arrogance (Jn 4). Jesus however was driven by the fire in His heart to make sure she is saved. Jesus saw in her a divine child whom God had sent for Him to rescue. The mercy of Jesus was so clear through His words that He gained her confidence to reveal to her the futility of her sinfulness. It became such a liberating experience for her that she rushed to proclaim that Jesus is the saviour of humankind.

Though the good thief on the cross had challenged the crucified Lord and despised Him initially, the way Jesus responded in grace and love saw a transformation in the thief's attitude (Lk 23:42). He turned acknowledging his unworthiness and seeking paradise and he was saved.

The centurion who directed the soldiers in their atrocities against the Lord was overwhelmed by the sacrificial love of Jesus expressed in the prayer forgiving everyone (Lk 23:34). He confessed at the foot of the cross that Jesus was the Son of God.  “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Mat 27:54).

The gospels tell us that Jesus cried aloud and offered His spirit (Mat 27:50). At first this may sound to us as the lament of agony. Scripture scholars however tell us that the word used is that which is designated to describe a cry of victory. The Roman generals leading the troops from the front would cry aloud for all the soldiers right to the rear end to hear that the war has been won. This is the term selected by the gospel writers to describe the cry of Jesus. Jesus was assuring His Father that the mission was accomplished. Already at the Last Supper Jesus had prayed to the Father, "While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled" (Jn 17:12). No one whom the Father had sent to Him is lost. By the paschal mystery He has saved everyone who has turned to Him.

“Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good” (Rom 12:21)

During a retreat, a certain man came to me. He was visibly disturbed. He said he was in the process of appealing for a divorce. He confessed that at the same time he was getting very distressed thinking of what he was heading for. He shared how at one time they were deeply in love with each other. She was a school teacher. One day he noticed in her mobile phone an exchange of message worded in very intimate terms. He questioned her about it. She explained that the person she sent the message to was a co-worker. She described that this was a working relationship and that he was so helpful to her. But the husband wasn't convinced why a professional relationship should express itself with such endearment. She tried to explain to him that there was nothing sinful in this relationship and that she was regretting the careless words used in the communication.  However much she tried to explain he became all the more irritated and even furious. It ended up in an ugly fight. She felt very rejected and hurt and she left to her parents home. Now they were living separate for over three years. Neither made an effort to contact the other. There was no communication between the two.

I told him that whatever happened between them was the design of satan to separate them. The two of them fell into that sinful trap. God had brought them together and now they had cooperated with the enemy of God. I explained to him that it was an urgent mission that he does everything to save the marriage. He found this unreasonable and argued that it was she who sent an imprudent message and finally walked out of his life and therefore it was her responsibility to return and apologise. I pointed out to him that his thinking was conformed to that of the way of the world. The way of  the Lord is different. Even when Simon Peter denied Him, and the other apostles deserted Him, it was He who took the initiative to become humble in washing their feet and cleansing them of their sin. Jesus was deeply committed to His mission to save. The one commandment Jesus has given us is to follow Him in this way of forgiving love.

This man continued to express that he was very deeply hurt by all that happened and that it was her arrogance that caused the separation. I explained to him that when we are on a mission to save, we don't bother to judge anyone. I explained that God was waiting for him to follow His word and that this God will not abandon him. I prayed with him. The Holy Spirit moved his heart and he was able to feel the power of the Spirit changing his attitudes. He took up the mission to save the marriage. He went to her house and invited her for a retreat. The two of them made the retreat together and accepted each other, forgetting all the hurts of the past.

It is reconciling love that saves relationships. The evil design of satan is to bring conflict and disturb relationships. This was the first temptation. When satan entered into paradise and succeeded to make the humans rebel against God, the first thing that Adam did was to blame the wife. When God asked why he disobeyed, he cited his wife as the cause. This is a pattern of what happens in all relationships. Hence the warning of St Paul, "Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity" (Eph 4:26,27). There could be disturbing issues in relationships. Everyone is warned that such disturbances should not ferment into anger, separation and divisions. Hence the lesson from the Last Supper. Even when Jesus was hurt by the disciples, he did not allow the hurt feeling to cause a division. He took the initiative to wash away every strain of rancour and grief. This is the new commandment that the Lord has given us His disciples.


Lord Jesus we are living in a broken world, in the midst of strained relationships. We are not able to understand and accept others and we are quick to get hurt, angry and depressed. We have failed to act according to your word and example. Give us the grace to accept into our heart the new commandment of forgiving love that you have given us. Anoint us with your Holy Spirit of love to be ambassadors of reconciliation that we may be able to bring about your kingdom in this world. Let the whole world know that we are your disciples by our love for each other. Amen

Divine Updates


Divine comes to Chennai with the 'Magnificat on March 10, 2018. Fr. Jacob Arimpur VC will lead the services. With special sessions for children.

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Celebrate an evening with our Lord in Bangalore at the 'Magnificat' on March 17, 2018. Services to be led by Fr Jacob Arimpur VC. All are welcome. Music by Glen and Teresa La'Rive.

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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.

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Retreats at the Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby, Sydney

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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.

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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.

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Divine Retreats in Australia

Fr. Michael Payyapilly will lead several special retreats across Australia - in Brisbane, Hobart, Sydney and Melbourne. Please bring your family and friends. Hear the Word and be refreshed. 

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Divine Retreat Schedules


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.


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.


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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