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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

I Will Be With You And Will Bless You (Genesis 21:3) - Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.

This is a moment of transition. The year 2006 has slipped away and the New Year 2007 has come in. What does this moment mean to us? Does it mean more than changing the calendar on the wall? In fact, this is THE MOMENT OF GRACE for every one of us! As we all know, time is a gift - a gift that God is giving to everyone. It is a gift which should be received and accounted for. That is what Jesus said in The Parable of The Talents. (Matthew 25:14-30) The servants who received ten talents and two talents respectively had they traded their talents and multiplied the talents they had. However, the servant who received one talent was afraid and he hid it in the ground and did not do anything good with it. That servant was reprimanded and punished by the Master.

"For We Are…Created In Christ Jesus For Good Works" (Ephesians 2:10)

You and I could make this mistake - the mistake of being afraid! That is the word that was used. A lot of fear, anxiety and laziness could come into our life and we do not trade the talent or trade the time that we have. We waste our time and our year could just slip away. We will be punished for that. What Jesus is telling every one of us is that we need to trade and to exercise our time so that we make the best use of our time - that we may do good things for the Lord! "Everyone of us is created…for the goodness that God has planned for us from the beginning." (Ephesians. 2:10) We cannot waste our time and talents; our capabilities and our capacities; and our energy. We need to put all of these into good use so that we will continue to fulfil the Plan of God. The Book of Revelation Chapter 21, reveals one certainty - what are you to do on the face of this earth? We need to cooperate with God so that God's work to bring about "a new heaven and a new earth" will be realized. (Revelations 21:1) This is what God has always been doing ever since He sent His own Son to the world and the Paschal Mystery was completed. From then on, God has been busy! Remember Jesus said, "My Father is working all the time and I am also working." (John 5:17) Our God is busy turning everything to our good bringing about "a new heaven and a new earth." We - you and I - need to be workers for the Lord cooperating in this Plan of God. We cannot waste our time and our talents. We need to be always engaged and cooperating with God.

"Do Not Even Consider Your Past (Isaiah 43:18)

In the Book of Revelation, we learn that there are TWO Promises to be fulfilled in us. The first promise is, "the former things have passed away." (Revelations 21:4) We could be making the mistake of holding on to the past - of living in the sad, bitter memories of the past. When we hold on to our past, we are wasting our Present as that servant with one talent did. He was afraid and he wasted his talent! Whenever I try to live in the past, I am wasting my Present - my time, my capabilities and I am wasting everything that God has given me. Unfortunately, there is a stubborn character in most of us to hold on to the past - to live in the memories of the past. A woman might say, "I do not feel like doing anything because yesterday my mother said this of me. Day before yesterday, my husband did this to me." Where is she living? She is not living in the TODAY - she is living in the Yesterday and the Day Before Yesterday! When we live in the past, we are wasting the Present. All sorts of negative emotions come to us and therefore we need to let the past go.

We need to forget whatever happened to us in the year 2006. Our God is a God who forgets, "Forget the past" God said, "I will forget your sins." (Jeremiah 31:31-34) God not only forgives but He also forgets. In other words, the forgiveness of God means God has forgotten our past. He does not take into account the sins of our past. If God has forgotten, why should we remember? Yet, many of us have this character of remembering the past and never forgiving ourselves. It is most important that the one person I need to forgive first is myself before I can forgive everyone else! Of course, I need to repent over my sins but repentance does not mean guilt feeling. Many people make the mistake of thinking repentance is guilt feeling. Guilt feeling is when I turn to myself and I am ashamed of my sins. I say, "I am a worm. I am good for nothing, I did it and I said it!" I am asking questions of my past that I cannot change anymore. I am living in the past when I harbour a guilt feeling that makes me turn to myself and hence all sorts of negative attitude and emotions fill my heart. What is needed is repentance! Repentance is turning to my God and I know He will forgive me. I offer to God every sin of my past and I believe every sin of my past will be forgiven. I praise God for that! Jesus has told us the marvellous Parable of the Prodigal Son - we know we need not be afraid of our sins. What did the Father of the Prodigal Son do? He held his son close to him, embraced him, kissed him and gave him a pair of new sandals, a new coat, and a ring. The whole past was covered in an abundance of love. That is what God does to me when I confess my sins. This is repentance - it is a celebration! Repentance is not self-pity or self-accusation. It is turning to God and believing and claiming the forgiveness from Him and praising Him. Repentance is rejoicing!

A second attitude we need to have is the attitude of forgiving others. There are many people who hold on to the hurts of others, "He hurt me, she wounded me. I will keep this anger in my heart" - a stubborn character of remembering the hurts that others have caused us. We waste our time because all sorts of negative attitudes come to us when we remember the hurts of others. We are revengeful and we are depressed in such moments. We NEED to forgive! You may have heard people say, " I will never forgive him/her. I will go to the tomb with this anger in my heart." This is another terrible attitude of living in the past! I need to forgive others wholeheartedly and I need to let the past go. The Lord God says in Isaiah 43:18, "Do not even consider your past." This is the moment when this commandment should be obeyed - this moment when the year 2006 has slipped by. I should not live in the past. I should live in the Present. I need to tell to my God, " My God, I am sorry for my sins, You have forgiven me. I ask pardon from everyone and I forgive everyone." Thus, the past is gone. I have let the past go. This is the First Promise to be realized.

"I Will Never Leave You Alone" (John 15:18)

The Second Promise is what God said, "Behold, I make everything new." (Revelations 21:5) God making everything new for us - this is a continuous process. God promises to be with me. God said, "You shall be my people, I will be your God. I will wipe all the tears from your eyes."(Revelation 21:3-4) Imagine God wiping the tears from our eyes! And God is promising to be with us. Jesus said in John 15:18, "I will never leave you alone." It is a marvellous promise and one that we need to claim - that my God will be with me! I will never be alone in the year to come no matter what happens. Things will likely go wrong. Yet we have a God who is always waiting to turn everything to our good. (Romans 8:28)

Thus, I will begin my New Year 2007 with confidence - not in myself. My confidence is in my God. My God loves me - He is my Father, My Brother and my Life. I surrender my future totally to Him. He will turn everything to my good. Therefore, we accept the talent of the New Year that is being given to us as a gift - the year 2007. We are not anxious nor are we afraid no matter what happens. I will hold on to my God and I will trade with this talent. I will make the best use of it because it is a gift that God has given me. I shall not take it for granted. I shall not miss my gift. This is the moment we make this promise to the Lord.

I Saw A New Heaven And A New Earth (Revelations 21:1)

Thus, we enter into this New Year with a lot of confidence and with a lot of hope in God! It is as Elizabeth said about Mother Mary in Luke 1:45, "Blessed are you who believe that that what God has spoken to you will be fulfilled in you." That blessing is also what is spoken to us - that God will be with us to bring about the "new heaven and the new earth." I need cooperate with God. He will reveal His Plan to me. Whatever my New Year may be, I will take that challenge with great confidence! I place my trust in God. I will not be afraid. I will not hide my talents and my time. Instead, I will be working with my Lord to make this world a better place to live in for my family and myself! It is with optimism and with confidence in the Love and Power of our God that you and I need to start this New Year - 2007. God will always be with us and He will never leave us alone!

Let us pray:
Let us look into the past for a final time - to thank the Lord and to ask pardon from Him. Thank you, Lord for the beautiful things that have happened to us. Thousands of people who started a new year exactly a year ago are not alive today to start another year. They are dead and gone. Yet, we are here to start another year. We know it is Your Choice, O God and it is Your gift to us - a New Year, 2007.

In the year that has slipped by, many things have gone wrong with us. As we recall of every such moment of sin in the past - the people who have hurt us and whom we have hurt; those who have done wrong to us and we did wrong to them; the people who have deceived us. All these unfortunate events have brought unhappy memories to our minds. We offer it all to You, O Lord. We do not want to let anyone make us unhappy anymore.

We want to leave everyone to God and to lift every painful moment up to God. You, O God, have promised, "All this will pass away." Your command to us is, "Do not even remember the former things." God said to Prophet Jeremiah, "I will take the bundle of your sins, I will take the burden of your past and throw it into the ocean." (Jeremiah 31:33-34) That is where all our sins and our past have gone - into the depths of the ocean. O Lord, You do not want the past to come up in our memories. We must not let the past weigh down on us anymore.

Thus, with a clear decision and with a very definite determination, we ask for Your Grace, O God, to let the past go. We have failed many times in our past - broken friendships, failed businesses, unfortunate and unhappy events in our family lives. We want to let it all go to Your Mercy, O Lord. Help us to forgive and forget from the depths of our hearts.

We have more dreams to achieve and more fragrance to spread in the mission that You, O God has called each of us for. The future will be much more beautiful than the past. Help us make this deliberate act of faith to believe in the You Compassion, O God. Let us look to the future with great hope and with great joy - we do not know what our future holds for us! We know it is You, O God, who hold our future and You have given us the Promise, "I will turn everything to your good" and 'I will make everything new."

We do not rely on ourselves. O Lord, we will dedicate our lives to You in this New Year! You will change us so that we may live to manifest Your Glory. Help us, O Lord, to fix our eyes and our thoughts on You! We dare to hope and we dare to love because the Holy Spirit is being given to us as this New Year begins, "I will be with you till the end of ages."
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

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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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