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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

"The Young…You Are Strong" (1 John 2:14) - Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.

Jesus was passing by. He crossed the path of two young men who heard him being referred to as the "Lamb of God". The curiosity of these men was aroused and they walked behind him not sure for what. They felt a faint stirring in their soul that soon became a wave spreading all over. Overcome by the sensation that gripped them - they asked, "Teacher, where are you staying?" The answer came readily, "Come and see!" They went and saw and stayed with him (John 1:35-42) and they became his disciples. "Come and see" - the invitation from Jesus is open to every young man and woman even today, the invitation to come and be with him.

"Whom do you seek?" (John 20:15)

Youth is a time of search, a time when the young want something "different", something "more"! They embody an air of eagerness and the readiness to try anything - a zest for life that is tangibly vibrant. They are not satisfied with the life lived around them and the world as it appears before them. Precisely, therefore, uncertainty grips their heart and mind making them very vulnerable. Past experiences, present circumstances and future expectancies make them a well spring of strong emotions often raising their temperamental graphs high, higher than what they can handle and others can understand. It is their vulnerability that has to be protected from harmful influences. Consumerist greed and sexual licentiousness have ushered in a culture of death suffocating the youth today, as late Pope John Paul II has warned - False lights are flashed all over, determined to lead the young away from God. What indeed is the "different" and the "more" that the Youth are reaching out for? I remember clearly what a few youngsters had shared with me as being their experiences during and immediately after the youth retreats.

"I have seen the Lord" (John 20:18)

Maria, a graduate in graphic designing is employed in an advertising firm. Many Gospel verses had impressed her during the retreat. In her morning prayer these words would come alive to her, giving new meaning and orientation to her life, filling her with a lot of joy. One morning as she switched on the computer, the picture of Jesus appeared on her screen. It had always been there to remind her of Christ who to her was only a famous man in history a "plastic Jesus", who lived, taught and died as part of world history. That day she looked more closely at the picture and to her great amazement and fear it appeared alive and moving towards her. Soon she realized that she was not the one looking at him, rather it was he looking at her and whispering to her, "It is I! Do not be afraid". After that moment of ecstatic vision, her life has never been the same. God who till then was a mere historical figure fossilized in statues and pictures was now a living Lord whose presence she could experience tangibly, wherever she went. It changed her whole outlook on life- what mattered to her now was not the world and its achievements but the Lord, the creator of the world and the master of her life leading her at all times. "To do his will at every moment is the mission of my life," she affirmed.

"Do not fear; only believe" (Luke 8:50)

Raymond is a college student. The Youth retreat was an all transforming experience for him. Accepting Jesus as the Lord of his life was a personal choice of his heart. It gave a clearer direction to his life. He went back to the hostel after the retreat. His friends were happy to see him. They all went out to the sea shore for a walk. They laughed, talked and made fun of each other. At one point one of them cracked a very obscene joke and the laughter that followed was thundering. Narrating the incident to me later Raymond said, "The joke sent shock waves down my spine. I wondered whether I should laugh or not? To laugh would mean that I too enjoy the joke". He said to himself that he would not join the laughter, since Jesus would not approve of that dirty joke. He decided that he did not want any impurity entering his heart. His one determination in life now was to please Jesus even if that meant displeasing everybody else. St. Paul's words came alive to him. "Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ?" (Galatians 1:10) His stony silence surprised the others. They enquired why he was not joining in the laughter. He responded, "Laughing at what? There is no joke here. What you said is an impurity. It does not amuse me." Raymond refused to be enslaved by peer pressure, or conform passively to other's thoughts and behaviour patterns. He stood up for Jesus, the Lord of his life. "Do not be afraid to live in a way contrary to fashionable opinions and ways of life in conflict with God's law." The late Pope John Paul II challenged the Youth. Real freedom is daring to be different when it comes to standing up for the truth.

"To the least of my brethren…" (Mathew 25:40)

Johnsy was a nursing student. The misery of human pain always had a nauseating effect on her. She could not stand the stench of the wounds and the painful cries of the patients. She had almost decided to quit her profession she was trained for. That is when she had come for the retreat- all through the retreat she continued to ask the question why human beings had to endure such terrible pain. During a healing session the crucified Jesus came vivid in her vision and she heard the word whispered to her heart, "When you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me." (Mathew 25:40) She felt a flame searing her mind and body melting away all her emotional distress and remoulding her. After the retreat she returned to the same profession for now she could see the face of Jesus reflected on every sick, sad and dying patient. In every groan coming from a suffering brother or sister she was now able to hear the painful cry of the Lord who is so tangibly present amidst all human misery. Nursing care became a joyous celebration of God - service for her.

"Arise, shine" (Isaiah 60:1)

Youth is the spring time of human life. Singing along with the birds and blooming like flowers, the young are always racing with the wind to reach the unattainable star. Their course, however, is to be guided and the star is to be named - The Church is the guiding way and Jesus is the star, "the true light that enlightens every man." (John 1:9). As Pope John Paul II exhorts the Youth, "Only the truth, which is Jesus Christ, is capable of enlightening reason, purifying the heart and shaping human freedom."

It therefore falls to every elder in the Christian family and the society in which one lives, especially parents and all mature believers in Christ to share the awesome responsibility of helping the youth around them grow to be effective and powerful witnesses for our Lord. "Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity." (1 Timothy 4:12)

As for the youth it is time they realised their full potential and take up their role of being members in the army of Christ, spreading the Love of Jesus in all those places where His Light has not penetrated and His Touch has not been felt. "Do not say, 'I am only a youth'; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak" (Jeremiah 1:7). So let us labour to make use of this large untapped resource within reach for use to spread the Kingdom of God - the Kingdom of love, joy peace and righteousness and make the world a better place to live in.

Let us pray:
O Lord Jesus, bless and protect our youth - who are our future.
May they be Your Light and Hope to the world.
Guide them to be Your witnesses to all - to share Your Love, Joy and Peace.
O Thank you Lord for our youth! Amen.
Divine Updates

39th National Youth Retreat

Our annual National Youth Retreat will be held at the Divine Retreat Centre. Come and let the word of God refresh you. Simultaneous retreats for couples, children and Bible nursery to be held. Contact Divine Youth for more details.

Date: May 19 - 24, 2019

Retreats at the Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby, Sydney

Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby to hold retreats throughout 2017. For bookings, email Fr Roni George, Director - Hurry, as admission is limited.

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.

Dates: Jan - Dec, 2019

POWER 2019 at Divine Retreat Centre

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

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. Joshi Kochukudiattil, 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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