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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC
"I dwell with the crushed and the dejected“ (Is 57:15)

- Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

Monthly Reflections

"He Has Risen" (Matthew 28:6)- Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.

"Christ is Risen! Alleluia!" This is the cry of joy that is going forth from heart to heart, from family to family, from church to church, to the ends of the earth filling the world with great joy and peace. This is the glory of Easter! The flame of the Paschal Candle lit at the Easter Vigil Service brings light to a world plunged in darkness. Easter indeed is the festival of hope. It is the celebration of the victory of good over evil, of light over darkness. St. Paul exclaims, "O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:55) The victory of Easter has vanquished death and sin. Easter is the beautiful reply God offers to the vexing problems of humanity. The Scriptures present the Resurrection of our Lord that we celebrate as the great event that should be the cornerstone of our faith. The whole of Christian faith is founded on this belief - that Jesus is risen from the dead. St. Paul declares, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is in vain, your faith is also in vain" (I Corinthians 15:14) The apostle dismisses our entire faith if it is not grounded on the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. We need to see why he makes such a bold declaration. Why indeed is the faith in the resurrection of Jesus so essential to our Christian existence? The Easter event has conclusively proved to us four truths to live by.

"Grace And Truth Came Through Jesus Christ" (John 1:17)

Truth triumphs! This is the first conviction that Easter establishes in our heart. The Resurrection proves that truth is more enduring than falsehood. Jesus speaking to the Pharisees and scribes said, "You seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God." (John 8:40) Jesus came with the mission to unveil the truth. Humanity was struggling in the bondage of ignorance. He knew truth was the all important solution for He said, "The truth will make you free." (John 8:32)

From time to time, many godly men and sages have come to tell us the truth about God, man, and the world. Yet, the only thing they could offer was half truths. These half truths were further misunderstood and misinterpreted by human leaders. Therefore in the world what is prevalent is falsehood. Tragically, men and women are misled in their knowledge of God. We have been faced by the threat of false religion. This is just as it was in the time of Jesus. The Pharisees and the scribes misunderstood the revelation of God and misinterpreted it much to further their own ends. Jesus clearly pointed out how they thought they could buy God’s favour by their virtuous acts. He decried the Pharisees’ teachings - "They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders." (Matthew 23:4) They laid down vigorous rules, an empty ritualism and meaningless ceremonies in order to earn salvation by their personal merits. This was a distortion of the Face of God. Jesus stressed that God is Love. He said God is already pleased with every one of us. We cannot buy His Love. He is our Abba - the Father who loves us. And He loves us so exceedingly that He sent His only Son to die that we may live forever! This religion of love, the religion of the true God was revealed by Jesus to a thirsting mankind. Naturally, Jesus was unacceptable to the Pharisees and the scribes. They plotted against Him and He was put to death. If this was the end of the story and Jesus had not been raised from the dead, the true Face of God would have disappeared from the short-lived memory of mankind. The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead ensured that the truth would prevail.

Now this should give great hope for every one of us. Even today, there are people who spread falsehood for their own selfish intentions. And falsehood seems to prevail in our midst. We see this everywhere and we lose heart. We know the truth and yet we wonder why falsehood is gaining ground. Our minds are confused. As it is said we are faced by the threat that "the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers." (2 Corinthians 4:4) The answer is the Resurrection of Jesus! Falsehood can never take deep roots in the hearts of men and women. Our hearts are meant for the truth and the truth will prevail! The Resurrection of Jesus is the ultimate guarantee of the indestructible nature of truth. Truth can never be quenched. "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John. 1:5)

"Overcome Evil With Good" (Romans 12:21)

The Resurrection of Jesus also proves that good is stronger than evil. It seems that always it is the corrupt, the unjust and the ruthless who are successful in this world. It is they who make news everyday. It is they who make money and thrive. It is impossible it seems to be honest and get anywhere.

Easter proves to us, on the other hand, that goodness has to be the ultimate winner. When I take my stand for goodness, I will succeed. It could happen that for a little time, the evil may gain ground. But that is only for a little time and goodness must come to prevail once again. As the psalmist exhorts us, "Fret not yourself because of the wicked, be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass. Trust in the Lord, and do good." (Psalm 37:1-3) This hope is confirmed for us by the truth of Easter.

Make Love Your Aim (1 Corinthians 14:1)

Love is stronger than hatred. This is the third truth that Easter holds up for us. It is hatred that had its way at Calvary. But it was love that ultimately won! The chief priests and the leaders of the people hated Jesus. They managed to get Jesus condemned. The political authorities and the social powers were united in their one intent to destroy Jesus. Hatred prevailed. But in the midst of that bitter hatred, Jesus loved! This was the ultimate truth at Calvary. When we go through the Passion and Death of Jesus, at every moment we see it was love that flowed out of the Lord’s heart. Judas went after thirty silver pieces. For this, he betrayed his Master who had chosen him to be among the trusted ones. Jesus was deeply grieved with that kiss of betrayal. But it was beyond Him to hate. Jesus instead invited him to salvation addressing him with affection, "Friend." Simon Peter denied Jesus thrice. But Jesus could only look at him with love. Peter recognized the love in that look and repented. Pilate condemned Him and handed Jesus over to cruel execution because he wanted to safeguard his position. Even to Pilate, Jesus offered His gentle absolution saying that there were the others who handed Him over who were more responsible that Pilate was.(ref. John 19:11) The leaders of the people had consistently plotted against Jesus. The soldiers were extremely cruel to Him. But Jesus breathed His last praying for all of them "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."(Luke 23:34) Love conquered! It was hatred that was vanquished. This is a relevance to us. In the moments when we are unjustly criticized and punished, we need to look at the Face of Jesus and draw strength to love. Hatred may have its little passing gains but ultimate victory belongs to love. "Love never ends." (1 Corinthians 13:8)

If We Have Died With Him, We Shall Also Live With Him" (2 Timothy 2:11)

Finally, the great victory of Easter is of life over death. Jesus said, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." (John 10:10) Jesus who came to give us the fullness of life had to die at the prime of His youth. This is an eye-opener to us on what is the real meaning of life. Life is far too great and glorious to be defined by the number of years we walk this earth. Life with God in all eternity – this is the crowning glory of our existence! This is the one thing that our hearts are craving for! And our hope shall not be disappointed for the Resurrection proves that life is greater and stronger than death.

There are men and women we have seen giving up their life, career and dreams, for the sake of someone he or she loved. They are a living testimony to life being greater than death. It could happen that burdened with the problems of life, we are driven to despair. We wonder, "Why am I living at all? Anyway I must die. Death is always before me and therefore what is the meaning of life?" St. Paul has the answer for this, "If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lords. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living." (Romans 14:8-9) The death of this mortal body must give way to a life in a glorious immortal body. Life in the Spirit is more glorious and greater than the life in this world.

"That I May Know Him And The Power Of His Resurrection" (Philippians 3:10)

The celebration of Easter holds up these truths before us, giving us a meaning in life. The Resurrection is not an isolated event in history that took place in the life of Jesus. St. Paul reasons that if Jesus is raised to life, we also shall similarly be raised - "Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive." (I Corinthians 15:20-22) St. Paul draws from a Jewish interpretation of the law to confirm the hope he offers. The Jews made pilgrimage to the temple of Jerusalem and offered the first fruits. It so happened that the Passover Festival occurred at the time of the barley harvest. The custom was that whatever they collect in the beginning of the harvest, they would bring to offer at the altar of the Temple. With the offering of these first fruits, the understanding was that the whole harvest was consecrated to God. All the labour of the year, all the harvest they reaped was given to God by this offering. In a mysterious way, they believed the whole harvest is contained in the first fruits. With that tradition as a background, St. Paul describes the Resurrection of Jesus as the first fruits. And all of us who belong to Jesus, who are the members of the Body of Jesus, shall also share in the glory of His Resurrection.

St. Paul explains this, "If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you." (Romans 8:11) The Holy Spirit of God dwelt in Christ Jesus. Hence the tomb could not contain Him. The Holy Spirit raised Jesus to life. This same Spirit is given to us. St. Paul reasons that the Spirit must work similarly in us, raising us to life. Therefore we have a great hope that with Jesus, we will also be raised up. But it is important to understand this promise in its full meaning. Resurrection is not something that simply takes place after our death. True, we will rise to life. But Resurrection is a lifestyle - a faith in what God is going to do all the time for us. Whatever happens to us in all the experiences of our life, the Spirit of God dwelling within us, turns everything to our good. As the Scripture promises, "In everything God works for good with those who love him." (Romans 8:28) This is the living manifestation of the Resurrection. Apparently many things are going wrong. Both in my life and in the world around, there are many things ugly and evil. We could begin to wonder whether it is the devil succeeding all the time. That is where the faith in the Resurrection becomes relevant giving courage to us. The Spirit of God dwelling in the heart of every man and woman is in control, turning everything for the good. Therefore failure is not the end. Misunderstanding and the pain of it is not the final word. Sin and the frustration it causes is not the conclusion. Through all these unfortunate events of our life, the spirit of God is weaving something holy and beautiful and life-giving. This is Christianity. This is our Faith. And this is where the faith in the Resurrection leads us to. Easter therefore is the festival of hope, a hope that should never fail us no matter what must happen!

Lord Jesus - You defeated death, winning life for us. The Holy Spirit filling Your heart raised You to a new life. As You pour out Your Spirit on us, we too shall remain united with You, abiding in life, love, goodness and truth.

Give us the grace to believe in the Resurrection especially in the moments of darkness and pain. Reveal Your Face to us that we may never lose heart. We pray that the splendour of your Resurrection may fill us as we come to recognize and rejoice in Your Spirit working in us.


Divine Updates

39th National Youth Retreat

Our annual National Youth Retreat will be held at the Divine Retreat Centre. Come and let the word of God refresh you. Simultaneous retreats for couples, children and Bible nursery to be held. Contact Divine Youth for more details.

Date: May 19 - 24, 2019

Retreats at the Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby, Sydney

Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby to hold retreats throughout 2017. For bookings, email Fr Roni George, Director - Hurry, as admission is limited.

Date: January 2018 - December, 2018

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, 2019

POWER 2019 at Divine Retreat Centre

DRC is back with the highlight of the year: the 14th International Youth Conference - POWER 2019. The very best international preachers and gospel bands will be here to lead us into worship. Be there to experience a totally different atmosphere of prayer. A Couples' Retreat and a Kids' Retreat will be held simultaneously. Don't miss it.

Date: July 21 - July 26, 2019

Divine Retreat Schedules


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.


Inner healing retreats, growth retreats, couples' retreats and youth retreats in Malayalam, are led by Fr. Joshi Kochukudiattil, Fr. Mathew Naickomparambil and Fr. Binoy Chackanikunnel.


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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