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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC
"Life in all its fullness“(John. 10,10)

- Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

Monthly Reflections

"THE LIVING GOD IS AMONG YOU" - Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

The test of our faith is in the quality of our living, the zest for life, the zeal to meet our challenges and the hope in our trials. We often confine faith to the superficialities of our religious obligations and our religion becomes a dead set of codes and rituals. What the Scripture, on the other hand, is trying to get through to us is that God is alive. His hands are not short that He cannot reach out to us. His ears are not deaf that He cannot hear us. All He needs is our turning to Him in faith that is true and bold.

A highly educated young man came to meet me. What was surprising was that in spite of his many impressive academic qualifications, he was stranded without a job. He said he had tried in many places. And every time he would go right up to the final stage but he could never clear the interview. And this, he admitted, was because he was of a very nervous temperament. He went on to confide that even the daily challenges of life and usual little problems unnerved him. He did profess faith in God. He prayed and went to church regularly. Yet his heart was hounded by fear.

I told him clearly that faith in God and fear could not go together. Perfect faith will cast out all fear because where there is faith, there is great power - the power to overcome all fear and negativity. St. Paul tells us, the Gospel "is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith." (Romans 1:16) The purpose of faith is to give us the courage to face life's situations. But this depends on what our faith is oriented to. So we need to ask ourselves whether we believe that God is always present for us. If I know God is the Almighty, that He loves me and that He is my dear Father who is by my side always, then I will never fear anything!

"He Trains My Hands For War" (2 Samuel 22:35)

The Bible describes for us the towering value of such faith in a real combat. This is perhaps the strangest war ever recorded for it was between two most unmatched individuals – a little shepherd boy who had no training in warfare named David, and Goliath, the heavily armoured giant warrior of the Philistines before whom entire armies trembled. The Philistines and Israelites had lined up for war on either side of the valley of E'lah (1 Samuel 17). And the Philistines sent up their champion giant Goliath, who, ridiculing the Israelites, challenged them to send someone to fight him. He boldly declared that if the Israelites did overpower him, the Philistines would subject themselves to Israel and if not, the Israelites must surrender to them. His fearful appearance, his arrogant threats and claims were so intimidating that the army of Saul trembled in fear and would not even respond to the challenge. Every time Saul's army would muster up their courage and go up to the battle lines, this giant would come out and issue the same threats and the Israelites would run for cover. On one such day, David, the youngest son of Jesse who was taking care of the sheep at home, was sent by his father to carry some food provisions for his three elder brothers who were on the battle lines. It so happened that while he was there, the giant again came out and roared his threats. And David saw the entire army of Saul fleeing from the battle front. David was incensed and questioned everyone how this pagan could ridicule the armies of the living God. Where others saw the great, insurmountable challenge, David was ever conscious of the greater power they had in God. His reasoning being that as they belonged to God and the strength of God was there, it was sure to bring them victory.

David was confident about routing the enemy. The news of this reached King Saul who summoned him. However when King Saul saw that David was but a boy, King Saul dissuaded him, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth." (1 Samuel 17:33) But David would not accept it and declared that since Goliath had dared to defy the people who belonged to the living God, he would not be spared. Recalling how God had helped him in the past to fight the wild animals, David assured the king that so also would the Lord according to His faithfulness and power deliver him from the giant. Inspired by the boy's faith, Saul blessed him and offered him the king's own armour which was too big and heavy for the shepherd boy to carry.

Instead, David went into the battlefield with his armour of faith – a staff, five pebbles and his sling. Goliath was enraged at his mean weapons and flung insults, confident of crushing the flimsy little boy who dared to come to war with him. But David charged into the battle field declaring his faith statement, "You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied… the battle is the Lord's and he will give you into our hand." (1 Samuel 17:45,47)

As the Philistine drew near, David put a stone into his slingshot, took aim and let it fly though the air. The stone hit Goliath right on his forehead, bringing him to the ground. Goliath was dead and the Philistines were routed. The faith of David was well founded – for he founded it on the Lord God whose power is supreme and whose faithful love never ceases.

"The Lord Is My Banner" (Exodus 17:15)

What no other soldier in the trained army of Saul had even imagined and where indeed the entire army had failed, David, a simple shepherd boy won. His grand victory is recalled and celebrated generation after generation to this day. What was the difference with David? Everyone else saw the problem that was indeed overwhelming by human estimations. But for David the reality was his God. His repeated declaration was, "My God is a living God." For David, the presence of God was a reality. God was not some inaccessible power lost somewhere in the distant horizon. God was living and present and operating in the here and now. And the reason for this presence was because of His great love and desire to be among His people. This assurance of God is what we see repeated throughout the scriptures, "I will live in them and move among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." (2 Corinthians 6:16)

This strong, unwavering faith in the tangible, living, loving presence of God releases great power to us. This power dispels every shade of fear or doubt. Each time we confess with our mouth and heart that our God is a living God, we infuse great power into our being. It is by declaring our faith that our lives will be transformed by God's mighty standards of glory. We see such a transformation in the life of Simon Peter. At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked His disciples what the others thought of Him. Many of the disciples gave different answers. Then Jesus would ask them what they themselves had found in Him. To this, it was Simon Peter who alone would confess, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matthew 16:16) This declaration would gain for Peter an eternal blessing, as Jesus said, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:17-18) Wherever there is faith, there is power! The gates of hell and even the most formidable forces of evil cannot prevail against such who have deep faith in the living God.

"Thou Art A Hiding Place For Me: (Psalm 32:7)

Man has never lived in greater insecurity as today. It is a deathly culture that surrounds us. People are dogged by the rat race. It is the rule of the jungle that prevails. It is about the survival of the fittest and the "destroy or be destroyed" belief system. Hence, people are turning into nervous wrecks, driven by hatred, manipulation, and other negative tensions. The human person is fearful of everything.

It is then to our age, more than ever before, that the call of the Lord is most urgent and relevant!

In spite of the great advances in technology, man has only become a most miserable slave to his circumstances and fears. And this is because he has no time for God. When one has no time for God, naturally the faith level remains dwarfed. The only sure way to overcome our fears and the demands of our situations is to build a relationship with God. As our faith is deepened in the real Presence of God in all of our circumstances, we will journey to freedom and confidence that brings victory. When I am convinced that there is a God who cares for me, anxiety and fear is quenched. As the psalmist affirms, "Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people, from this time on and for evermore." (Psalm 125:1-2)

 
Divine Updates

Retreats and Healing Masses in Sydney

Divine Australia invites you to healing Masses and retreats to be held across various venues in New South Wales, Sydney. To be led by Fr Augustine Vallooran VC. For details, email Fr Roni George, Director, Divine Australia - drcsydney@gmail.com.

Date: 2 - 7 October, 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

Divine Retreats in Adelaide, Melbourne & Canberra

Divine healing Masses and retreats to be held across various venues in Australia. Masses to be offered by Fr Augustine Vallooran VC. Praise and worship by Glen and Teresa La'Rive.

Date: 22 September - October 1, 2018

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