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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

I have come to set the earth on fire" (Lk 12:49) - Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

Monthly Reflections

You Are Precious To Me - Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.

"I keep the Lord always before me because he is at my right hand. I shall not be moved. Therefore I shall be glad and my soul rejoices. My body also dwells secure O God, I trust in You." (Psalm 16:8-9)

You are always at my right hand. I hold on to You, My God. You are my salvation, my protection. Never leave me alone. Let Your Love always fill my heart that I will always be able to love everyone at all times. Let Your Presence always guard me and guide my path. Amen

Jesus – The True Vine

Let us meditate on the following bible passage for our reflection this month: "I am the true vine and my father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit, he takes away and every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes, that it will bear more fruit. You are already made clean by that word I have spoken to you. Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit for apart from me, you can do nothing." (John 15:1-5)

Christianity – An Experience of Love

There is often a great misunderstanding of what is the nature of Christian spirituality, of Christian living. Christianity is often misinterpreted as a religion of a lot of prohibitions and commandments, do’s and don’ts. You do this or you don’t do this and the misunderstanding is this – if we obey all these commands and prohibitions, we will be able to please God. There is something very wrong here. It is true that we need commandments and there are commandments. There are prohibitions and things that we need to be doing and things we should not be doing. But then the essence of Christianity is a deep experience – an experience of Love. The Love of my God, a God who loved me so much that He sent His only Son to die for me, that I might live forever. The Love of Jesus, the Son of God, who came down, took upon Himself all my sins and paid the price of my sins. The love of the Holy Spirit, who lives within me, is effecting my salvation all the time. This deep experience of intimate relationship with my God is an experience of love that will flow out of my heart as love in which everyone around me is loved. I can feel a concern in my heart for everyone around me and that concern is what love is. I can feel it in my heart and that is the essence of Christian religion. A religion that enables me to experience God close to my heart - in the root of my being.

The Promise of My God

In the Gospel passage above, Jesus is saying it so beautifully, "I am the true vine and you are the branches. You abide in me and I will abide in you." There is an invitation and a promise here. An invitation to remain close to Jesus – to abide in Jesus, to remain one with him, and to experience the intimacy of His Presence to me. It is an offer that He will be close to me; that He will never be far away from me. I will be able to feel His touch at every moment of my life. In fact, a lot of things go wrong with us and often we are sad, often we are angry, and often we are desperate. In all such negative moments of my life, My God is promising me that He will be there close to my heart as my comfort and my consolation. This experience of love, of being one with my God is what Christianity means – an invitation and a promise of my God.

Jesus and Me – An Intimate Love

In fact, Jesus said it not only here but many a time, He repeats this sort of an idea. There are many similes, little similes that Jesus uses to explain what he wants to be for us. For example, Jesus said, "I am the Living Bread." Jesus - the bread. What is bread? What is bread used for? Bread is to be eaten, I eat the loaf of bread and the bread enters me and becomes my energy. Energy flows into my muscles, into my body and becomes a part of me. Bread is not something kept away from me and looked at. No! Bread is eaten, bread is enjoyed, and bread is experienced as my strength and as my joy.

Jesus also said, "I am the Living Water." Water! Water becomes my water when I drink it. It becomes a cooling sensation within me quenching my thirst. That is what water is and Jesus wants to flow within my body and within my heart – as a soothing experience of love.

And Jesus said, "I am the Way, I am the Truth, I am the Life." The "Way" is for me to walk along – to walk along so that I may reach where I want to go. "Truth" is what enlightens me – truth is what enters into my brain as my knowledge and fills in my heart and "Life" is what is within me giving me life. All these little similes explain to me what Jesus wants to be for me. He wants to be a part of me and He wants me to be a part of Him – to be intimately related to Him.

To Be One With Jesus

Jesus said, I am a branch of Jesus and Jesus keeps me close to him as a vine keeps the branch close to it. His invitation is, "You be one with me." I am sure you have seen vineyards; vines that grow up steady and strong and spreads out all over the place and there are many branches coming up out of the main stem and they spread out far and wide. But then no matter how wide they spread, however far a branch spreads, a branch is always connected and united to the main stem. So intimately that whatever happens to the branch is relayed to the main stem and from the main stem, everything flows into the branch. There is such a vital connection between the branch and the vine – that is what Jesus wants me to be with Him – to be One with Him! And that is what Jesus wants to be with me – being One with me in a relationship of love.

Thus, I should know at every moment of my life, whether I am sad, whether I am tempted, whether I commit a sin, whether I am angry with someone, whether I fail in my attempts and I slip into a little depression – every such moment in my life, my God is not far away from me. My God is closer to me than I to myself. My God is intimately related to me, concerned about me. His love flows into my heart – to comfort, to console me. For example, I am sad as something went wrong – often when something goes wrong with me, the one thing I feel is loneliness. I failed and I would imagine if I had succeeded, everyone would have come to me to congratulate me and to appreciate me but now I am lost. I lost – that sense of failure brings loneliness into my heart. In fact if I know my Jesus, my Jesus at that moment is so close to me. Remember Jesus said, "I go in search of my lost sheep." In the moment that I am lost, in the moment I am sad, my Jesus is the closest to me – He picks me up and binds up all my wounds and He takes me home. That experience of love that Jesus wants to give me, I should willingly accept it.

The Love of My God Is My Joy

The gospel passage we are reflecting upon, gives us a lot of joy in our hearts. Nothing should ever make me sad, nothing should make me feel desperate because I have a God - A God who loves me. I have a God who understands me even when everybody misunderstands me, when I am not able to do anything worthwhile. Even when I fail miserably, even when I feel I am not of any value, a God who tells me I am of great value, of great worth to Him.

Jeremiah said to God, "I am a little boy. I am unable to do anything, to achieve anything for you.’ And God asked him a question, "Who told you that you are a boy? For me you are of great value. I love you; You are precious to Me." Isaiah 43:4 "You are dear to Me. I love you." My God who considers me always great!

The first question God ever asked man was this, "Who told you that you are naked?" God came in search of Adam and Adam was hiding himself behind a tree. And Adam said, "I am naked. I cannot come before you at all. I am empty. I did something wrong. I am miserable. I am a useless thing." And God asked him, "Adam, who told you that you are naked? I did not tell you that. It is the devil who said it to you. You are precious to me; you are dear to Me. I love you."

At every moment of life, God is telling me – He is there close to me telling me – I am precious to Him, I am dear to Him, He loves me. To feel that loving touch of my God, at the very root of my being is the joy of my living.

Let us pray:
O God, there are many moments in my life when I am defeated. My own shame, my own sin, my own diffidence defeats me and I slip into self-pity and depression.

In such moments, O God, only You are my salvation. There are moments even the closest, even the nearest, even the dearest, do not understand me. My God, You are there.

Whoever abandons me, You will never abandon me. You are there to hold me close to Your heart and to fill me. I love You, my God, let Your Love flow into my heart and fill me.
Amen
 
Divine Updates

MAGNIFICAT in Chennai

Divine comes to Chennai with the 'Magnificat on October 21,2017. Fr. Jacob Arimpur VC will lead the services. Music by Worship Culture. With special sessions for children.

Venue: Stella Maris College, Cathedral Road

MAGNIFICAT in Bangalore

Celebrate an evening with our Lord in Bangalore at the 'Magnificat' on October 14, 2017. Services to be led by Fr Jacob Arimpur 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 2017 - December, 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, 2017

Divine Mercy Mega Convention

Answer God's call and experience His burning love for you. A three-day convention to be led by Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC and team at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Bangalore. Please spread the word.

Dates: October 27, 28 & 29, 2017

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