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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

"A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH" (Rev. 21:1)- Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.

"When thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created; and thou renewest the face of the earth" (Psalm 104:30) - the prayer of the psalmist finds its echoes in every age. The Holy Spirit is God's power of creation and His response for man's cry for re-creation.

According to the Bible, creation is the order that God put to the world by the movement of the Spirit. The Book of Genesis recounts that in the beginning, the face of the earth was formless and void. The Spirit of God moved over this dark chaotic face and the cosmos took shape. Darkness and light were separated. The waters were parted and the fertile earth surfaced. The orders of creation like the creatures of the earth, the sea and the air were each given their place. From the lifeless clay of the earth, the finger of God moulded man. Man came out of his painful isolation and experienced the ecstasy of communion with the creation of Eve. This paradise was borne of the hovering of the Spirit. From the chaos, the marvelous cosmos emerged. And man would stand in awe at the work of the Spirit, "When I look at thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast established; what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou dost care for him?" (Psalm 8:3-4)

"Creation Was Subjected To Futility" (Romans 8:20)

However, paradise was destroyed by the entry of sin. For, "the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy." (John 10:10) Man turned his face away from God in fear and shame. Once again, chaos broke out and spread to every level. Man is separated from the next of his kin. The human community is split at its very roots. She whom Adam received as "bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh" is now cast aside and blamed for his downfall. Brother raised hand against brother, killing him. The earth itself turned into a hostile wilderness to man. The earth was cursed by the sin of its human master (ref. Genesis 3:17-18). Man had to toil by the sweat of his brow to draw fruit from it. Thorns and thistles flourished everywhere. Sweat, blood and tears was the lot for mankind.

The history of salvation is marked by the cries of the people to God for the Holy Spirit to descend once again to renew the face of the earth. "We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves" (Romans 8:22-23) Man cried out and his cry was heard by His Maker. God promised to restore paradise to man through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

"All Flesh Shall See The Salvation Of God" (Luke 3:6)

In the appointed hour with the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin conceived the Saviour in Her womb. The God who man thought was distant from the human reality pitched His tent with humankind becoming Immanuel - God with us! He had the mission to take all of humanity and the whole of creation back to God. "Thus it is written 'The first man Adam became a living being'; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit." (1 Corinthians 15:45) The finger of God's Spirit was moulding a new heaven and a new earth where the dwelling of God will be with man. "Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away." (Revelations 21:3-4)

In the public ministry of Jesus, the one promise that looms large was the promise of the Holy Spirit. To Nicodemus, Jesus offered the Holy Spirit as the hope of rebirth for man: "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:5-6) To the sinful woman in Samaria languishing in the dryness of sin, Jesus offered the living waters of the Holy Spirit, "Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:14) To the multitudes in the temple, for whom religion had become an empty ritual, Jesus held out the invitation to drink of the living water and be filled with the experience of the love of God - "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink… Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water." (John 7:37) While eating the Passover meal with the disciples before His betrayal, He assures them of the coming of the Holy Spirit as Counsellor and Comforter (ref. John 14:16). "It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you." (John 16:7) Before ascending to His Heavenly Father, the disciples were gathered and commissioned to wait to be clothed with the power from above. (ref. Luke 24:49)

"It Is The Spirit That Gives Life" (John 6:63)

This promise was fulfilled at Pentecost. What happened on the day of Pentecost was indeed a re-creation, a renewal of the face of the earth. "The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom." (Isaiah 35:1) Like in paradise, humankind was restored in communion with the God. In Jesus Christ, the people recognized their Lord and Saviour and together with Him were raised to be consumed in the love of the Heavenly Father. As St. Paul explains to us, "When the time had fully come, God sent forth His Son… to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" (Galatians 4:4-6) Once again man's relationship with brother was healed. The human family was reunited as every tongue and tribe gathered round the throne in worship in the early Christian community.

Language that dispersed humanity in Babel now brought the peoples together to celebrate the bond of love and understanding. The apostles "began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance…And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language." (Acts 2:6) Every dividing wall was brought down. There was no difference between Jew and Gentile, the haves and the have-nots. The hunger of one became the concern of the other. It is recorded that in the early church "all who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need." (Acts 2:44-45) The Holy Spirit was once again restoring paradise to the hand and heart of man. "As Jesus announced, truly heaven was now at hand." (Matthew 4:17) Paradise was regained.

This power of God continues to move in the universe and in humanity until every distance is bridged and rebellion is quenched. The Bible ends with the grand promise of the One sitting on the throne, "Behold, I make all things new" (Revelations 21:5)

"For The Promise Is To You And To Your Children" (Acts 2:39)

This pattern of the activity of the Holy Spirit in humanity in general is what we have been witnessing over the years in human lives and communities. Individuals battered by the forces of sin are healed and restored by the gentle balm of the Holy Spirit. As Jesus explained, the Spirit of God, convicts man of his sin and leads him on the way of conversion. The Holy Spirit reveals to him God's plan for his life, thus leading him to the whole truth. By anointing man, the fruit of the Holy Spirit is borne (Galatians 5:22-23), putting him back in communion with other human beings. Thus, families and communities are renewed in love. Such individuals are also geared up to bear witness to Jesus Christ. As Jesus promised, "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all of Judaea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

A farmer from a remote village came here for the retreat. Because of his drinking habit, he incurred huge debts. His family was totally desperate at his reckless dealings. The angry wife and children pushed him out of the house. A kindly neighbour brought him to participate in the retreat. The Spirit of God worked in him powerfully and convicted him of his sin. In an honest confession, he repented over the sin of his past and felt strengthened to give up alcohol completely. But now he had nowhere to go back to! He knew his family would not accept him. He remained in the Retreat Centre, helping in all possible services here. In prayer, he was drawn closer and closer to God. He became an inspiration for all the others who came for the retreat struggling with addictions. One day in prayer, he was guided by the Holy Spirit to return to his house though he had no inkling whether they would accept him. His wife and children could not believe his claims of conversion. Out of mere sympathy however she allowed him to sleep in the verandah of the house. He did not complain but accepted this situation in all humility. The Spirit of God guided him to make this situation an opportunity to witness. In the evenings, he would pray the rosary and read the Word of God sitting in the verandah. One day, to his surprise his wife joined him while he was praying the rosary. The children soon joined the evening prayers led by the father. He was soon invited back into the home. The wife handed over the business and the cultivation back to her husband and began to serve him with love and devotion.

After returning to the village, he had been going for daily Mass. The parish priest noted his radical transformation and genuine devotion and invited him to lead the prayer in the church. The parish began to thrive and there was much spiritual revival. Later he was asked to manage the temporal affairs of the parish in a responsible administrative position. A year later, he came with his family to our retreat centre. He shared with us, "When I obeyed the Holy Spirit to pray in the family, I became the leader of the family. When I prayed for my parish community, I became the leader in the parish." And then with a mischievous smile he added, "When I pray for the country, I wonder where I would end up."

One man's openness and obedience to the Spirit brought salvation to a family and parish. Pentecost is a personal invitation to all of us to open our hearts to the presence and renewal of the Holy Spirit. Being filled and led by the Spirit we would become witnesses to Jesus, ushering in the dream of God for a new heaven and a new earth!

Heavenly Father, in Your great love for us, You gave us the promise of the Holy Spirit. Lord Jesus, You assured us that You would not leave us alone. You sent your Spirit to convict us in our sin, to comfort us in our troubles, to strengthen us in our weakness and lead us in the way of truth. Holy Spirit, thank you for dwelling within us! You renew us constantly, and empower us to bear witness to Jesus - to bring about a new heaven and earth!

Give us the grace to obey Your promptings and to live as instruments of salvation in our families and in the world. Fill us and lead us at every moment of our life!


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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