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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous" (Rom 5:19) - Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

Monthly Reflections

The Wisdom of Life - In God I Trust - Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.

Psalm 62:5-8, "For God alone my soul awaits in silence; for my hope is in him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress. I shall not be shaken. On God rests my deliverance and my honour. My mighty rock, my refuge is my God. Trust in him at all times. O my people, pour out your hearts before him. God is a refuge for us."

Opening prayer:

O God, we come to You trusting in Your Love. You are our Rock - a mighty rock. You are a Refuge in whom we can always trust. O God, You will never let us down. We will never be shaken when we trust in You. You are our Security; you are our Future. We offer to You, O God, all the moments in our past when we thought we were alone because we did not realize that You would never leave us alone. We offer to you all the insecure moments of our past because we did not know You were our security. O God, now we come to You, to trust in Your Mercy and Compassion. We offer to You our whole life. Hold us close to You that we will never be shaken. Amen

Jesus' Relationship with God is Revealed

There is a significant passage in the Gospel of Luke Ch 2:41-51 which is the basis of my bible sharing this month - Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. When the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the company, they went a day's journey and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem seeking him. After three days, they found him in the temple - sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him wee amazed at his understanding and his answers. When they saw him, they were astonished. His mother asked him, "Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously. And he said to them, "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house? They did not understand the saying which he spoke to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them. And his mother kept all these things in her heart.

It was a law among the Jews, that all the male adults should attend the temple during the Passover feast, especially all the male adult Jews who lived within 15 miles of the city of Jerusalem. According to Jewish custom, it was that a boy would become an adult at the age of twelve. So this was the first Passover Feast of Jesus. They went for the festival. At the end of it, they were returning home to Nazareth. Usually the women started first in a caravan and walked slow - singing hymns and praises of God. The men started later together and they would walk faster. It was not till evening when they would come together in an encampment, would these two groups be meeting. When they met together, Joseph asked Mary where Jesus was. Joseph had thought Jesus was with Mary and Mary had imagined that Jesus was with Joseph. They understood the boy was missing!

They ran back to Jerusalem and found him in the temple. And Mary asked Jesus, "My son, why did you do this to us? Your father and I were looking for you anxiously?" (Luke 2:48). And here comes the answer of Jesus - the answer of Jesus is significant in that it reveals to us the relationship that Jesus had with God the Father. Jesus answered, "Why did you look for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house? In the answer of Jesus, very gently but definitely, Jesus was taking the name "Father" from Joseph and giving it to God - God is my Father. Of course, Joseph was only the foster father of Jesus. What is revealed to us is a unique relationship that Jesus had with God the Father.

There is more importance to this passage. According to Jewish custom, at the age of twelve, when manhood dawns on a boy he must be in his father's trade. By the time all education would be completed, and the boy would take over his father's trade. In other words, the boy must be in his father's house. And Jesus is very definitely making it clear that his father is God and his house is the temple of Jerusalem - the Father's house. This is the relationship maintained all through his life.

Doing The Will of the Father

In the bible we find it again and again, Jesus going up to pray, The gospel of Luke tells us so beautifully how Jesus taught the whole day, worked wonders, was with the people the whole day - but when evening came, he went to a lonely place to be alone with the Father. In John 4:34, Jesus said, "My food is to do the will of my Him who sent me and to accomplish His work." The work of Joseph was carpentry. Well, Jesus was a carpenter but that is not what he came for. He came to take up the work of the Father - the salvation of the world. And so at the right time, as the gospel tells us, "When the hour came, Jesus started off his public ministry, proclaiming to the people the great love of God the Father." He made it clear again and again that the one person he must please is the Father - God the Father. The one thing he was busy with was doing the Will of the Father. In John 17:4, Jesus said. "I glorify Thee on earth having accomplished the work which Thou gavest me to do. And again in John 17:16, Jesus said, "My teaching is not mine but His who sent me." The teachings of Jesus, the words of Jesus, the works of Jesus - they are all centred on the Father.

The one joy of Jesus was seeing the face of the Father! He went down to River Jordan in order to listen to the voice of the Father and the Father revealed himself, "This is my beloved son. In him, I am well pleased." And Jesus climbed up Mt. Tabor for the same experience of the intimate love from the Father. The Father revealed again, "This is my beloved son. Listen to him." In the gospel of John Chapter 12 - when Jesus was overwhelmed with the thought of the passion, crucifixion and death - Jesus said, "Father, I have glorified Thee. Glorify Thy Son." Jesus spoke of the grain of wheat that should fall down to the ground and die. Only then, it would bear fruit.

Jesus could see before him, the whole destructive process - all the suffering that he was to endure on Calvary and at that moment of distress, he turned to the Father. Again, before being betrayed by Judas, he went to the Father for the power - for the power of love to fill him. The power that would enable him to take up the cross - but first to accept the dry lips of Judas coming to his face - the kiss of betrayal. From then on, to be reviled, to be condemned, to be crucified! Before all that, he went to his Father, asking for power - the power to accomplish the Will of the Father. The one Jesus trusted to be with him always is the Father. The disciples were with him, but though Jesus loved them, though he was ready to give his life for them - the one whom Jesus trusted was the Father. In John 16:32, Jesus said, " All of you will abandon me but I am not alone. My Father is with me."

Our Lord's Unique Invitation

Our Lord is inviting us to this unique relationship of love and trust. When Jesus asked us in Luke Chapter 12 "to call the same God, My Father - Abba!" The Lord is inviting us to accept this special relationship of love and trust. The beauty of our life is to know that I have a God - a God who loves me and a God who cares for me to such an extent that even a hair on my head is all counted. He cares for me, He knows me; He is busy turning everything to my good. In order to know how much my God loves me and to turn to Him at all times, I need to trust in Him every moment of my life.

Of course, we have our dear ones to trust in; we have our near ones to be with us always. We trust them, we love them and we care for them. But all of us need to go through a spiritual process - a spiritual experience of rising above all these relationships - to reach a relationship of absolute love, of absolute trust in God. It is wisdom to know that God and God alone can be trusted ultimately.

But then it also gives us a great confidence - whoever abandons me, even the best, even the dearest, even the nearest, could forsake me. Yet, I am not alone - my Heavenly Father, my God is there for me. I can count on Him. As the psalmist says, "I will not be shaken whatever happens around me. Whoever goes wrong with me, I will not be shaken. My God is my father. It is in Him that I trust."

Absolute Trust in God

This experience of Jesus should give us the clue to the wisdom of life. Even if we love many people, when we count on them, even when we know that they would always be with us, yet the one person whom I can trust absolutely is my God. And He alone, to Him I go however busy I am, whoever I must be with, whatever time I must be spending with my dear ones, I shall never forget - my God is the Ultimate; my God is the Absolute. Whoever abandons me, it is He who stays by my side. Therefore, I find time to go to Him.

To this experience of being loved by my God, when that love fills my heart - even when I feel abandoned, when I feel let down, when I feel ignored by others, I will not be shaken. I will not be upset because my God is there for me. If God is there for me, as St. Paul is asking us, "Who can be against me?" Let this great experience of love and trust, strengthen us at all times.

Let us pray:
O God with the psalmist, I want to say, "In You, it is in You that I trust. You are my Rock - mighty rock. I will not be shaken because I built my life on You, my God. On the deep experience that You love me, that You will never abandon me - that Your Love will always be there in abundance for me. O God manifest Your Face to me so that I may know You are real - the really Real in my life.
Amen
 
Divine Updates

MAGNIFICAT in Bangalore

Celebrate an evening with our Lord in Bangalore at the 'Magnificat' on December 16, 2017. Services to be led by Fr Augustine Vallooran 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 2018 - December, 2018

Emmanuel Conference at DRC

Welcome to the season of blessings - mark this Advent with special retreats for discipleship, couples and children at the Divine Retreat Centre. A time to strengthen yourself in the Lord, before the end of the year. Led by Fr Augustine Vallooran and the Divine team.

Date: December 24 - 29, 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, 2018

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.

Date: May 27 - June 1, 2018

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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