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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC
"I dwell with the crushed and the dejected“ (Is 57:15)

- Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

Monthly Reflections

Behold, I Make All Things New (Rev. 21:5) - Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.

It is the dawn of another New Year. Hence, a moment of transition. We are witnessing the passing of the old year and the ushering in of the New Year. One could look at this change-over as part of the inevitable time conditioning of the human situation. As human beings, we had a past, we will have a future and we are living in the present. The years have rolled by. We welcome a New Year and very soon the New Year becomes old. And we move on towards the tomb. But indeed, it is not so. This moment of transition should be a moment of salvation, a moment of God-experience.

That is what the Word of God is telling us in the book of Revelation: "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a great voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall Be his people, and God Himself will be with them; He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.' And He who sat upon the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new' " (Rev. 21:1-5).

Indeed, this is a moment when God makes all things new. We need to wait for the intervention of God in our lives. Every New Year is a salvific moment of God's intervention. God comes into our lives to make the former things pass away, making all things new. Hence, there are two promises given to us at this historical moment of our lives: the going of the old and the coming of the new.

"The former things have passed away" (Rev. 21:1-5)

Unfortunately, there is a tendency in every one of us to hold on to the past. Even when God is making the past go away, we do not want to let it go. Obstinately, we cling on to the past. We want to live in the past and therefore, we miss the new reality that God is bringing into our lives. I believe, there are two things we often hold on to. The feeling of frustration is the number one: we had many plans, dreams, and hopes; nevertheless, nothing much is achieved. When we look to the past, we feel depressed that we could not reach anywhere. Moreover, we did many things the wrong way. We blame ourselves for it all and we slip into guilt and despair.

Thus, there are many people who look to the past with regret and grief. In this moment of change-over, we should know how God looks at our past. God tells us that He does not remember our past. "For I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more" (Jer.31:34). All that went wrong with my past, I need to leave it in the hands of my Lord. I need to let God take care of my past. I trust in the mercy of my God for I know He will forgive me. This compassion of our God was revealed to us in Jesus Christ.

"Do not let the sun go down on your anger" (Eph.4:26)

Then there is another negative feeling - the feeling of anger. There are people who are very bitter when they look to the past. Bitter, because others let them down. They were hurt, they were insulted, they were humiliated. They blame others for everything that went wrong with them in the past. We blame a lot of people for many things that we regret today about. The more we blame, the more angry we become.

Anger ferments within us and becomes hatred; hatred gives way to revenge and enmity. That is why St. Paul tells us, "Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger" (Eph. 4:26). We are, in fact, giving opportunity for Satan to enter into our lives when we keep anger and hatred in our hearts. We become possessed by all the evil powers of despair, anger and revenge. We lose all the beauty of living.

We need to look to the past and deliberately forget because that is what God wants us to do. In the book of Isaiah, we are told: "Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" (Isa.43: 18-19). And again, "Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them" (Isa.42: 9). That is what God is. And this is the salvific activity of God.

Our God is not a God of the past. He is a God of the future, a God who is always doing new things in our lives. That is why we need to let go of the past and hold on to God and proceed towards the new things that God is going to do in us. And we shall begin to hope in Him for a brighter future.

"Have love for one another" (Jn.13:35)

The second promise of God is the promise to make everything new for us. "Behold I make all things new." That is the promise for every New Year - God intervening into our lives and making everything new. Many of our plans of the past year that we could not fulfill will be fulfilled this year. Many of the dreams that could not come true will come true this year. For God is there for us. God's mighty presence is promised to every one of us. In this New Year, we need to take a beautiful challenge from the Lord, a challenge put before us by the Pope, John Paul II.

As we know the 1st of January, the New Year's Day, has been declared by Pope John Paul II as World Peace Day. A motto has been given to us, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Rom.12: 22). A great challenge, perhaps a challenge the world has not understood. That is why there is no peace in the world today. And there is no joy in the hearts of men and women today. All the unrest and anger, evil and frustration is caused by unforgiveness in all the areas of life. Even among developed nations, there is the primitive jungle law of overcoming evil with evil, hatred with hatred, overcoming weapon with weapon and bomb with bomb.

In short, it is the ancient law of overcoming darkness with darkness. And we know very well that darkness will never be dispelled by darkness. More darkness will only make the existing darkness thicker. But unfortunately, this primitive law of vengeance is ruling the world today. We, who have known Jesus Christ, need to take up this challenge of overcoming evil with good in our own personal lives and in all areas of life.

Remember Mother Teresa's words, "Peace begins with a smile." When someone comes to me, grim-faced, abusing me, threatening me, what do I do? I give a smile of love. That smile will dispel even the thickest darkness of hatred in the other. If every human being learns this principle, there will be a lot of faces smiling around us. Those smiles will take away all the sadness from the faces of people and all the darkness from the nations of the world. Gandhiji said, "In our midst, the primitive law of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth prevails. Soon every one will become toothless and blind!"

That is what seems to be happening everywhere. Hence, the challenge given to us by the Lord Himself. Overcome evil with good. Let us think of every person who has hurt us, humiliated us, and insulted us, betrayed us and run away from us. When Jesus thought of the people who insulted Him, and betrayed Him, those of His own who ran away from Him, and denied Him, what did He do? He got up from His seat, a seat of authority and removed His mantle, the mantle of a teacher. He then put on the dress of a humble servant and knelt at the feet of Simon Peter who denied Him and at the feet of Judas who betrayed Him. He knelt at the feet of every disciple who ran away from Him, and washed their feet.

That is the law of Jesus, "I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him" (Jn.13:15-16).We need to come down from the throne of pride and arrogance and become humble, believing that humility is stronger than pride, love is stronger than hatred, light is stronger than darkness. That is the style of living the New Year should bring before us. And there will be peace in our hearts, in our families, and all over the world.

Let us pray:
O God, in the New Year, at this moment of transition, we understand this is the moment of your intervention. We offer to you O God everything that makes us sad and upset; everything that makes us desperate; all the plans unfulfilled, all the dreams not realized. We offer them all to you. In the New Year, let your Holy Spirit take over to make us new creations in You.
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39th National Youth Retreat

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Date: May 19 - 24, 2019

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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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DRC is back with the highlight of the year: the 14th International Youth Conference - POWER 2019. The very best international preachers and gospel bands will be here to lead us into worship. Be there to experience a totally different atmosphere of prayer. A Couples' Retreat and a Kids' Retreat will be held simultaneously. Don't miss it.

Date: July 21 - July 26, 2019

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