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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

I Wait For the Lord, My Soul Waits...(Psalm 130:5) - Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.

Let us meditate on Psalm 130: 5-8, "I wait for the Lord my soul waits and in His words I hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchman for the morning. O Israel hope in the Lord for with the Lord there is steadfast love and with Him is plenteous redemption and he will redeem Israel from all His iniquities. O God it is for you that my soul is waiting with a lot of desires in my heart and great craving in my soul. I am waiting for you my Lord. Speak to me; let your word flow into my heart to fill me. Let your spirit anoint me to listen to your word and to accept you as the fulfillment for all the cravings of my heart". Amen

Jesus – The Fulfillment of God’s Promises

The Gospel presents to us Jesus as the fulfillment of all the promises of God in the Old Testament. St. Paul tells us Jesus is the "YES’" to everything that God had said to the people of Israel. There is one moment in the Gospel of John Chapter 7:37-38 where this proclamation becomes very intense and dramatic, "On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, ‘if anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me as the scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water. This was a very dramatic moment during the Festival of the Tabernacle in Jerusalem. This was a festival during which the people of Israel built little booths outside their permanent dwelling house and The Book of Leviticus Chapter 23 tells us how these booths are to be built. They took branches of willow trees and leaves from the palm trees and they built booths and the city of Jerusalem will be filled with many such booths all over the place during the festival which lasted for eight days. On the first day, a Priest in white robe would come out of the temple with a golden pitcher and other Priests would follow him with golden pitchers very solemnly. They would come out of the temple and go to the city, to the pool of Silom. They would go down to the pool and fill the pitchers with water and by the time thousands of people would be gathered in the temple area. The procession would walk solemnly through the water gate of the temple and enter the temple. All the people will be shouting out, praising and thanking God! Very solemnly, the High Priest would pour the water in the golden pitcher on the great altar and people would see the waters splashing all over on the altar. They would raise their hands and praise God - that was the moment they remembered how God intervened in the lives of the Jews and took them out of the land of slavery!

It was also the moment when the people praised God for the moments God protected them in the desert. In the desert, they were wandering without a roof over their head. It is God who gave them a permanent dwelling place in Israel and they remembered thankfully all those days when they were living in the booths. They had no mats in the deserts! They also remembered how God gave them 2 million people. How God gave them water miraculously to drink and to quench their thirst. They remembered how God was with them, providing for everything that they needed during their pilgrimage through the desert and the festival continued. The procession of the Priests took place on all the eight days of the Festival. But there was a difference on the last day - the procession would be more solemn and the Priest would come with the golden pitcher and would circle around the altar seven times for everyone to see. The Priest would turn the pitcher and no water came out. The Pitcher was empty! Instead of a spine-tinkling roar that took place on the other days, on the last day, there would be a hush falling upon the people and they would bend their heads and pray, " O God, let the clouds reign down the Messiah". This ceremony proved to the people the incompleteness of the fulfillment of the promises of God. The fathers who drank the miraculous water in the desert were dead and the people were still waiting for the Messiah. The Messiah had not come and the people were very painfully aware of the incompleteness of the fulfillment of the promises of God – that moment of solemn silence of God.

"Let Anyone Who is Thirsty Come to Me!" (John 7:37)

It was at that moment of solemn silence that Jesus stood up and cried out, "If any one is thirsty let him come to me and drink". A very incredible moment, a very dramatic moment! The whole crowd was waiting and whispering a prayer for the coming of the Messiah. At that moment, Jesus proclaims Himself, as the Messiah, as the one who gives the living water to quench the thirst of the people and the people accepted Jesus as the Messiah! There are two words that are very important here; St. John tells us that Jesus stood up and cried out. The two words are important to emphasize the intensity of the proclamation. The Jewish Rabbis did not stand up and teach; they always sat and taught. When someone proclaimed something standing up, it was always a message from the King, from the Caesar, from the Governor. It is only the imperial proclamation that was given standing up. St. John tells us Jesus stood up and proclaimed and cried out. It was a great message from God! The word "cried out" is mentioned only three times in the Gospels and that also only in the Gospel of John. In John Chapter 1, John the Baptist crying out in the desert; John Chapter 11, Jesus crying out ‘Lazarus come out’ and here Jesus is crying, a great shout, a big proclamation that he was the Messiah. What did He cry out? He cried out "Come to Me every one of you. Anyone of you who is thirsty, let him come to me." Every one of you who is thirsty come to me, an invitation not only to the Jews, not only to the people who listen to Him but for everyone; an invitation for everyone to come to Him and to drink from Him.

Physical thirst is a terrible experience. When there is a lack of water in the cells of the body, every cell waits for water. Jesus compares that physical thirst to the craving of the soul, to the longing of the soul. Whatever you want, whatever you are longing for, I will give it all to you - a great promise! The people of God were longing for the Messiah for salvation, for peace, for joy, for love and here is the invitation and intense proclamation "Come to Me and drink of Me." This became a great experience for the Christians of the early century.

The Full Cup Of Life

When St. John wrote the First Letter of John 1:1-4, at the end of the first century, he is bearing witness to a fulfillment of his heart. His heart was full. John said, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands concerning the Word of life. The life was made manifest and we saw it and testified to it and proclaimed to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us, that which we have seen and heard, we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ and we are writing this that our joy may be complete." A word of life coming out of a heart that was filled. We have seen, we have heard, we have touched, we have had fellowship with Him and our hearts are filled - an experience of being filled with life in Jesus Christ. This was the proclamation that went down from John to the second century martyrs and history tells us that the martyrs dying testimony was "The cup is still full" they said it to everyone, "My cup is still full". In the third century, St. Augustine of Hippo, tells us, "Strange," he writes, "the more we drink of it the more there is in it, the cup is full".

Jesus – Our Living Water!

This is a testimony that should go from the heart of everyone. Coming to Jesus, be filled with His Love and that love filling our hearts. There is nothing that Jesus cannot give me. Whatever desires I have in my heart, whatever longing, whatever craving my soul has, I have Jesus! He is the fulfillment of all the promises of God. When I accept Him as the Messiah, as my Saviour, as my Lord, I trust in Him. I put my whole trust in Him because I know He will fill my heart. My heart will not be waiting for more. Today we want this testimony to go out of our hearts to everyone, as Jesus said, "Out of the heart of those who believe in Me, streams of living water will flow; this water of life."(John 7:38)

As we come to Jesus, this is the experience that fills our hearts. At the end of every retreat here in Divine Retreat Centre, we hear this testimony. People telling us, "Father we came here longing; we came here craving; we came here anxious; we came here sad; we came here sick; we came here not knowing where to go and what to do. Today, I have found the rock of my life in Jesus Christ! Today, I experience the fullness of life. To that fullness Jesus is inviting every one of us.

Let us pray:
Lord, I am so happy I have found You. For You, my Jesus, my soul has been waiting. It is in You that I find the fulfillment of my life. There is no longing in my heart, there is no craving in my soul that You cannot fulfill. When You are there for me, I have Life, I have Light, I have Joy. You are my Everything!
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

ENGLISH RETREATS

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.

OTHER LANGUAGES

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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