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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC
"Life in all its fullness“(John. 10,10)

- Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

Monthly Reflections

"They shall see His face" (Rev 22:4) - Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

The young man John enters salvation history with a search to see the face of God. Andrew and he were disciples of St. John the Baptist. They were standing together with their master when at that moment Jesus was passing by.  The Baptist pointed Jesus out to them and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!… I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him… Now I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God." (John 1:29-34) John who was always in search of God’s face finally got the glimpse of what his heart was longing for. He went after Jesus. And Jesus turned and invited him, “Come” with the promise “You will see” (John 1:39). With a thrill going down his spine, he records this event - “They came and saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.” (John. 1:39) This encounter with the Face of God was so deeply etched in his heart that he remembered even the exact hour and day when it happened. He could not contain the euphoria of that encounter that he shares it even to the end of his years so that it is recorded for generations in his epistle - “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… we proclaim now to you… that our joy may be complete.”(1 John 1:1-4).

"When Shall I Come And Behold The Face Of God" (Psalm 42:2)

As the youth were flocking in for the POWER 2010 – Divine’s 5th International Youth Conference (25-20 July 2010) themed “They Shall See His Face (Revelations 22:4), most of them looked very casual, some of them quite unconventional in their dress and behaviour. They seemed comfortable as they walked all over the campus joking with each other and sharing ice-creams. But when they were all gathered on the Sunday evening for the inaugural service, there was an intensity in the air – one could tangibly feel the thirst in their hearts and the eagerness for an experience reflected in the brightness of their eyes. Archbishop Andrews Thazhath at the end of his inaugural message asked them, “Do you want to see the Face of God?” And all of them in one voice, raising their hands up, cried out “Yes, we want to see the Face of God!” And the choir made a chorus out of that joyous exultation, “We shall see His Face.”

In our own ancient land of spiritual quest, the sages chanted from the depth of their hearts, “From the unreal, lead me to the real; from darkness, lead me to light; from death, lead me to immortality.” In the sublime moments of this search when they could get a glimpse of the ultimate reality, they realized that everything on this earth is illusory and transient.

"I Have Seen God Face To Face" (Genesis 32:30)

In the Holy Bible, we find this longing of the human spirit finding its fulfillment in a God who comes in search of man. When the Israelites were crushed under the yoke of the Egyptian Pharaoh, their cry of anguish pierced the heavens. God comes down in history and chooses a desperate man wandering in the desert of Sinai, and reveals His purpose – “I have seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters; I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Exodus 3:7-8)

Moses had been drawn into the Presence of God out - amazed at seeing a bush burning but not consumed. But when he came face to face with God, Moses fell to the ground and hid his face overwhelmed by the all-transforming revelation of God, who till then was understood to be a distant awesome existence. At this holy venue, it was revealed to him that God is a heart responding to the cries of the voiceless, determined and powerful to deliver the wretched suffering people from the mighty evil of the earth. More amazed was he that this great God was seeking him - a rejected failed refugee to be the voice of God to lead His people from the clutches of the tyrant king! Moses was a man who had given up on life, drifting through a meaningless existence in the desolate deserts among a foreign people, rejected by his own and haunted by the powerful. He was now confounded that God dared to see Him as the bearer of His most precious mission of the people’s salvation. And he cried out to this God “What is your name?”

This compassionate love of God was overwhelming, for till this moment in history, God was seen as a great and just God – rewarding good for good and punishing every failure to do good. In fact even to this day, the human mind finds it beyond its comprehension and courage to believe in the goodness of God. Hence St. Paul invites us “to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19)

From this moment of salvation breaking through, God has been revealing His Presence to the seeker – ever attentive to the cry of the sick and the suffering. Every page of the Bible is filled with the radiance of His tender Mercy. Moses responding to this revelation, sang his heart out, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Exodus 34:6)

In the gospels, we see the all-transforming mercy of God personified in Jesus who reached out to the unreachable, declaring that the heart of God was solely seeking the salvation of man from his misery. The lepers were cleansed; sinners were forgiven; prisoners to evil powers were liberated; the crippled were restored, the dead were raised to life; families received salvation; and the rejected were consoled. In short, every person sitting in the shadow of the valley of death lifted their eyes to see the Face of God and were restored to the celebration of life. It is this experience of the Face of God that was relived here at POWER 2010 as we waited in prayer with the grand promise from the Book of Revelation Chapter 22 verse 4 - “They Shall See His Face.”

"Look To Him And Be Radiant" (Psalm 34:5)

The amazing experience of the youth was to behold the Face of a God seeking them, forgiving them of their sins, delivering them from the evil powers that haunted them and setting them free from the fetters that they never thought they could be liberated from. Bosco Das, a youth from Karnataka, India, after the Eucharistic adoration service testified, “I never thought I could ever give up smoking. But today the Lord has delivered me.”

It is with this new-found freedom that the youth began to rejoice singing together in the Presence of God - “Jesus What A Wonder You Are” – meaning every word of it for this revelation had sunk into their hearts as the Word of God was explained to them and the Love of God was poured into their hearts through the Sacraments. As the burden of the past was taken away, they came to a new self-respect rooted in the experience that they were considered precious in the eyes of God. They were able to realize the futility of searching for the happiness of life in the pleasures and deceptive gains of sin.  Before the question of the Lord, “Do you love me more than everything else… more than everything that you considered as the priority of life?”, they responded wholeheartedly – “Jesus I love you more than everything else.” With St. Paul they could exclaim, “For me to live is Jesus.” Praneeth, a young man from Andhra Pradesh, India, exclaimed, “I want to be in Jesus for the rest of my life.” Austin from Tanzania writes that when he closed his human eyes; God had opened “the eyes of his heart to see the Face of God.” Since then, he declares what is ever before him is the way of holiness that God is clearly guiding him to.

Having seen the Face of God, every face that did not reflect God’s beauty lost its significance and became a challenge to proclaim the Good News of the gospel to them. They all went back taking the mission offered to them by Pope John Paul II of blessed memory - “We are the missionaries of the modern world.” Stephen, sharing how God had changed his heart, now writes to us that his heart is on fire to proclaim the Good News with all his life. Shalini Jain from Meerut, India shares how “during the Inner Healing Adoration service, God took away all my burdens. I am overwhelmed with the joy of the love of God and am strengthened in my faith to bring others to Jesus.”

St. John’s experience of God in Jesus became a gospel - a Good News for generations. After experiencing Jesus as the answer to their inner longings, they were determined to share the joy of this great love which they realized could alone change the world. Dextor Braganza from Goa, India, before leaving left a note with us, “This one week has been the most wonderful days of my life because I was close to Jesus.”

At the end of the gospel John writes, “There are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:25) And our hope in the Divine Retreat Centre is that millions would read these living books of Good News and come to see the Face of God “so that our joy may be complete.” (1 John 1:4)

FACE OF GOD

“The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend”
Exodus 33:11

“The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you”
Numbers 6:25

“Let thy face shine on thy servant; save me in thy steadfast love!”
Psalm 31:16

“Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes.”
Psalm 119:135

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us”
Psalm 67:1,2

 

 
Divine Updates

Retreats and Healing Masses in Sydney

Divine Australia invites you to healing Masses and retreats to be held across various venues in New South Wales, Sydney. To be led by Fr Augustine Vallooran VC. For details, email Fr Roni George, Director, Divine Australia - drcsydney@gmail.com.

Date: 2 - 7 October, 2018

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

Divine Retreats in Adelaide, Melbourne & Canberra

Divine healing Masses and retreats to be held across various venues in Australia. Masses to be offered by Fr Augustine Vallooran VC. Praise and worship by Glen and Teresa La'Rive.

Date: 22 September - October 1, 2018

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