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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

"All I Want Is To Know Christ" (Phil. 3:10) - Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.

Let us meditate on this month's spiritual reflection by praying together on Psalm 73:28, "But for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Lord God my refuge that I may tell of all thy works." O God, here am I - near You. I want You to be near me all the time. I want to live in Your Presence, obeying Your Word, committing my life totally to You, my God. Do not leave me alone. Hold my hand and lead my way. Amen.

"Keep Your Roots Deep in Him And Live In Him" (Col. 2:7)

A young man once came to me with a dilemma in his mind. He was employed in a very big institution where he was very highly paid. But he said, people often came to him with money - often large sums of money. He asked me, "Father, is it okay that I take the money from them?" I asked him, "What is the money meant for? Is that money a just compensation for your work?" He said, "No, Father. That money is given for the favours I do for them." I asked him, "Is that favour just or unjust?" He said it was often unjust and out of the way favours and that is why they offered all that money - it is almost a bribe. I told him that then he could not take it - it would be wrong to take it. He told me, "Father, I understand that but why is it wrong?" I replied, "Because Jesus, Our God does not allow you to take that money. It does not please Our God." I told him faith in Jesus is not merely an intellectual ascent. Faith in Jesus is not only a matter of the Church - of the prayer. I believe in Jesus not only when I go the church for prayers. No! Faith in Jesus should become a way of living. Faith in Jesus should mould my every moment of life - the way I talk; the way I relate to others; the way I do my things; and the way I carry out my responsibilities. Jesus said He is the Truth and there should truth always in our ways of behaviour. This is untruth; this is unjust. And he questioned me, "Father, because I believe in Jesus why should I be deprived of all the profit, all the gain that others take because many others take such money." I told him, "You are a man with a difference because you believe in Jesus. You accept Jesus as the Lord and Saviour of your life. And therefore, it is the Lord Jesus who dictates terms to you." I do everything according to the Will of my God. Jesus becomes the Highest - the Supreme in your life and therefore faith in Jesus should dictate the way of our living.

I opened to him the Gospel of Mathew, Chapter 13:44-46, "The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy, he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who on finding one pearl of great value, sold all that he had and bought it. Two little parables that Jesus is telling us - The Pearl Merchant and the Parable of the Man Who Found The Treasure. Jesus said that is how we must believe in Jesus. That is how we must accept the Kingdom. There are two things here. In both these parables, there are two things to be noted: Jesus spoke of a 'finding' and of a 'selling'. They found a treasure, a pearl of great value; they went and sold everything to buy that field for the treasure and to buy that pearl. Now about the 'selling', Jesus speaks about one word - they sold everything joyfully! Selling was not a pain. Selling was a joy because the beauty of the treasure, the glamour of the pearl was in the eyes of these people. When they found a pearl of great value, they could sell everything. Only when they could find it - only when the glamour, the beauty of the pearl attracted them and fascinated them, only then they could sell it joyfully.

Now this young man who came to me believes in Jesus. He was a very good young man. He is committed to the Lord and yet what he sees around him is a sinful structure of unjust bribes, unjust gain and then greed creeps into his heart. Why not take all that money? He is not able to say "No" to it; he is not able to sell it because his finding is not total and complete. Only when I find Jesus as the 'greatest pearl' of my life, as the greatest value of my heart, as the greatest thing in my life - only then will I sell joyfully and that is the meaning of this Parable.

Years ago when I was studying in Rome, I met a pearl merchant by chance but that meeting led to a lot of experiences for me. While talking to him, I asked him, "Please show me a pearl," and he agreed. One day, he took me to his house to the room where he was keeping all the pearls. He opened the room; it was under heavy security and he showed me a few of the pearls. They were so beautiful, so glowing and so attractive! He told me, "Father, the joy of my heart is to look at them; to see them. When I see them, I am filled with great pride and joy and I will never let them go, never give it to anyone. Every morning, I come inside this room and when I see these pearls, my heart is thrilled!" I was also very happy to see the beauty and the glamour of those pearls. A year later I met this pearl merchant, and with a smile he told me, "Father, remember the pearls I showed you? I sold all of them." I was shocked! I asked, "How could you? You said that those pearls were the joy of your heart. How could you sell it?" He told me, "Father I sold them because I found a beautiful pearl of great value, of great beauty, of great glow in New York. I went and saw it and I wanted to buy it by all means. And when I saw that pearl, I was so thrilled and fascinated, I went and sold all my pearls - and I bought it." I understood what Jesus said. In order to sell everything joyfully, I need to seek, to find, to experience the great value of the pearl that Jesus is for me.

"Christ's Message in All Its Richness Must Live In Your Heart" (Col. 3:16)

That brings us to the question - what does Jesus mean for me in my day-to-day life? St. Paul who as you know was called Saul earlier, persecuted the Church. Later he was converted and became such an enthusiastic follower of Jesus that Jesus became everything for him! Jesus meant everything for him. Jesus filled his heart and to think of Jesus was the joy of his living. He speaks of it in Phil 3:7, "But whatever gain I have I count it as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake, I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as refuse in order that I may gain Christ and to be found in Him."

To gain Christ and to be found in Him - that is the highest, that is the greatest, that is the supreme! When Christ becomes the Highest, the Greatest and the Supreme in my heart, everything else is 'refuse'. St. Paul tells us he considers everything else as refuse compared to Jesus. I told this young man, "My friend, your faith is beautiful but your commitment is not strong enough. You must search for Jesus, you must read the Scriptures, and you must experience Jesus in the Sacraments. You must know how much He loves you and how much He cares for you. I opened to him the different Promises that Jesus gives to us - John 15:11, "I say these things, that My Joy may be in you and your joy may be full." It is the fullness of joy that is offered by Jesus. Again I quoted John 14:27 where Jesus says, "I give you my peace not as the world gives. The peace I give you, the world will not be able to take from you." Then I showed him the bible verse, John 10:10, "I have come that you may have life, life in the full." What is offered by Jesus is the fullness - life in the full, joy in the full, peace in the full - everything in the full and Eternal Life. "You be one with me," Jesus said. "You who are tired and overburdened, come to Me and I will give you rest." (Mathew 11:28) A God who is waiting to give me comfort in every moment of my tiredness, in every moment of my sadness; a God who is waiting to fill my heart with the Joy of His Holy Spirit. This is Jesus, Son of God who came to tell me how much He loves me by dying for me on the Cross! When I see the Cross, I understand how much I am loved, how much I am cared for - a God who promises to take me to Eternal Life. This is my Jesus, the Pearl, the treasure that I must find. I told the young man, "My friend, sit before the Lord and experience the power of His Love - a Love that surpasses all the love in this world." Augustine (before he became St. Augustine of Hippo) went through all the pleasure of the world. He experienced all the pleasures of the world and finally he was tired. That was when Jesus entered his heart and Jesus revealed Himself to him. He experienced the Love of Jesus and he was so thrilled that he abandoned his sinful ways of living and embraced Jesus. Jesus became so great in his heart that he said, "O God, it is for you that my heart is thirsting and my heart will be restless until it rests in You."

This is our faith! Our faith in Jesus should determine the way we live. Our life must be moulded by our faith - that is the beauty of believing in Jesus.

 

Let us pray:

Lord, thank you that I found You. You are the treasure, the Pearl of greatest value. No one, nothing is more precious to me that You, my Lord. I surrender my life in Your Hands. Hold me close to You and fill me with Your Love. You are enough for me. When you are there for me, I have everything. When You are by my side, I am the happiest person. Bring me to the joy of living in Your Presence.
Amen

 
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