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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

"In Him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17) - Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

My little grandnephew loves cars and especially red cars. So for his birthday I gifted him a bright red car. He was fascinated with the toy. He carried it all around the house and then he came back and hugged me tight - the tightest hug he ever gave me! He was so happy with me for presenting him the car of his dreams. Then he began to play with it. When it was switched on, the car began zooming around the house. The horn sounded and the headlights were shining at intervals. The little boy was lost in his dream-toy. I then headed to breakfast with the rest of the family in their dining room.

By the time we came back to the living room, the little engineer in my grand nephew had completely dismantled the entire car. His mother was so disappointed, embarrassed and annoyed that she scolded him, “My son, how could you do that? It was such a beautiful car and already you have destroyed it.” The little boy immediately told his mother, “Mum, you don’t worry. This is no big problem. I will put it all back together. You just see!” He then went about fixing back the dismantled parts. And in no time the car was arranged. It looked gleaming red and wonderful again.

But then we could not but help notice that left aside were still some little parts of the car – a few nuts and bolts and odds and ends. So his mother pointing to these asked him, “My child, what about these things?” My grandnephew replied, “O mum, forget about those. They are extra fittings not needed for the car. It is a mistake that they were put in. Look at the car. It looks perfect. Doesn’t it?” He seemed to be right for it definitely looked perfect. But after a while when he switched on the car, we realized it would not move. The horn would not sound. The lights would not go on. And my little grandnephew realized it was not so interesting now to play with after all!

“IN CHIRST JESUS THE WHOLE STRUCTURE IS JOINED TOGETHER” (Ephesians 2:21)

If we had the chance to restructure our life, many people who came into our lives and many events that occurred to us would have been set aside like those unwanted extra fittings of my grandnephew’s car. If we could engineer our lives, we would happily rip them out of our existence and thrown them away. It could be a teacher in the class or a colleague or maybe it is someone in the family itself – someone irritating or sick and whom we find burdensome in some way or the other. Then there are the failures in our business and setbacks in our career graph. It could be a sickness that has affected the career, a relationship that grieved us or led us into sin. It could be the friend who betrayed us, the colleague who manipulated against us, the boss who demoted us, the person who makes us feel small and helpless – it is not difficult for us to identify them!

When we look into our lives, there are people and events and we do not understand why they happened in our lives. When we remember these, we are bombarded by questions - “Why did it at all have to happen? Why in my life? What did I do to deserve these?” We have calculated that if not for these, we would have been much happier, holier and far more successful and life would have been just perfect. We question why our lives had to be burdened by these undesired additions.

It is at this juncture that the Word of God presents a revelation — “In him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17) It is in Christ Jesus alone that all things can hold together. Everything that happens to us - every person who entered our lives, every failure that frustrates us, every relationship that is strained, all these “nuts and bolts and odds and ends” - that we find no use for and see no good in, are not extra fittings that are useless or dangerous or superfluous. The Hand of God makes all these fit in place. That is why St Paul tells us again that, “We are the handiwork of our God.” (Ephesians 2:10) Everything that happened to us, desired and undesired, calculated and uncalculated - they all fit in and are put in there together for a specific purpose that God has in mind for our lives.

“MY WAYS HIGHER THAN YOUR WAYS” (Isaiah 55:9)

We are created according to a plan - a definite plan. And this plan we are assured is for good things that the Lord God has stored up for us (ref Jer 29:11)! Nothing can be useless, dangerous or superfluous. Everything is a sign of the grand things that God has prepared for us. Scripture keeps reminding us that “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) It is when we understand this that we begin to praise and thank God. Then we are enabled to appreciate what is on our hands. We are empowered to forgive and accept everyone and everything. But this happens only when we understand our life with Christ Jesus at the centre of it holding it all together. We look at everything that happened to us from the eyes of the Lord Jesus and we realize that everything is perfect and in line with the good plan of our great God.

I remember a girl who was complaining about the stubborn and not so understanding and obsolete attitude of her parents who did not allow her to marry the man she loved. She was so heartbroken by their attitude that she was contemplating to walk out of the house. It was then that she was brought to me for counseling. She came from high strata of society while the boy belonged to a lower economic class. He had a charming personality and was very caring and jovial. She was fascinated by his goodness. She insisted on marrying him but her parents were equally adamant and refused to consent to this alliance. They did not give any seemingly valid reason for their objections. As they were very devout and pious Catholics, she now attributed their refusal to their religiosity. She contended that their fanaticism blinded them to the goodness in the boy. She even complained that God was now against her and in the pain of incomprehension, she threatened to end her life. The parents managed to prevail over her and prevent her from entering into marriage with this boy but she felt sore about it for a long while. In retaliation, she refused to consent to any of the proposals brought by her parents and also to go with her parents for any of their family and social celebrations.

Two years later, she happened to discover that even while this boy was friendly with her, he was into a physical relationship with another girl and had promised this other girl marriage. He used her body claiming to love her. That girl being rich, gave him all the money for his studies. She also came to know that her parents had known about this all along but had not revealed anything to her because they were afraid that this information would tarnish the glowing image she had of him. They were worried she may lose faith in everything. They did not want to break her heart by telling her what a cheat the boy was whom she trusted and respected very much. What the parents intended was to save her from an unfortunate future without in anyway bringing any harm to him. When she realized it, she understood the nobility of her parents and how God had saved her from an unimaginable disaster.

We make our lives miserable when we do not reconcile ourselves to the adversities that happen because of people around us. And this is because we do not realize that we are the handiwork of God. We are oblivious to the concern and the keen love the Lord has for us. He will never allow us to be destroyed. We need to have ever before us the conviction of the psalmist who sings of how the Lord “who keeps you will not slumber… The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.” (Psalm 121:3-7) When we have such trust in the Lord, we will find our lives a grand handiwork of the loving Creator.

“IN HIM WE LIVE AND MOVE AND HAVE OUR BEING” (Acts 17:28)

St. Paul, during a very adverse phase in his life, writes that “What has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” (Philippians 1:12) In order to understand the real impact of this Word, we need to know the situation of his life. He was imprisoned in Rome, separated from his dear ones, removed from a certain mission, betrayed by certain trusted ones, in danger of death and facing the reality of an approaching martyrdom in the loneliness of the dark dungeon. But in such an impossible moment he was able to see the vision of God’s ingenuous working “to advance the gospel.” He knew no struggle of his was wasted. He could recognize the grace of the moment for he knew that he was so precious for God that he would not be abandoned or set aside by God even for a moment. He knew the Light of God’s Power was far more tremendous than the dark valleys that his circumstances posed to the superficial human understanding.

Till now, we have listed out events and people as undesired mistakes of our life. We try in vain to shunt it out of our minds and are controlled by the bitterness we nursed over what went wrong with our plans. We need to look at our life from an altogether different perspective. When we place our life in the light of God’s unchanging love, we would know that our life is purpose-driven. All the hurts, betrayals, humiliations God will use to fit into a grand picture of His glorious plan for our lives. When we understand this, we would know that we have no reason to judge, condemn or deny. We would have no bitterness or fears. This happens when we find everything fitting together in Christ Jesus.

“CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS FOR GOOD WORKS” (Ephesians 2:10)

Recently I was checking the progress of a project I had given to a glass artist. I had asked him to make a stained glass with the image of the Holy Spirit to be placed in one of our retreat halls. But when I went to the workshop, I found a lot of broken glass pieces scattered and a man looking at them and wondering what to do with them. I was sure he would not be able to deliver the artwork in the scheduled time. I was a little irritated at his failure to keep the promise to complete the work in a week’s time to enable me to continue with the construction of the hall. But he explained to me that froma huge pile of glass pieces, he has selected each piece by its colour and shape very carefully because he had a clear idea of the picture of the Holy Spirit that I had explained to him. Certain pieces might require some cutting and grinding. The different colours, shapes, sizes and corners of the pieces are already fit together in his mind. All that is needed now was to fix them together by a particular melding process. And indeed a week later, I was astounded to see him bringing a masterpiece. The picture of the Holy Spirit was shining through those glass pieces welded together. It will adorn the hall inviting everyone making the retreat to contemplate on the working of the Holy Spirit and to invite the power of God to descend into their lives.

As we look into our past, we would see many instances and experiences we counted as unfortunate. Certain sharp ends that cut us deeply, certain hues of success that led us astray, dark moments of failure that depressed us, colourless jobs that wore us out, certain relationships that embittered us. However all these are put together by the Lord and He brings out of it a grand design that we shall look at, admire and which shall lead others to turn to God in faith.

We cannot expect to understand with our little brain and limited understanding the great signs God places in our lives. So what we need to do is to bring to the Lord what is beyond our comprehension and wait for His revelation. This Word would liberate us from sadness, fear and bitterness. When we look at the Face of Jesus, we will understand for this gleaming dream car to move, for the horn to sound, for the head lights to shine, all those sharp jabs, hurts and wounding elements were necessary! God is the Creator and He created us for a great purpose that mirrored His own life and mission. So then everyone who comes into our life would be saved through us and in their intervention for our own lives, we would see God doing for us “beyond our asking and imagination”. (Ephesians 3:20)

Let Us Pray:

Lord God I do not understand the many painful setbacks of my life. In Your Hands, I place the plans that failed, the people who turned against me, the losses that hurt me and the failures that shock me. Till now, I have blamed myself and others and life has been unbearable. I open my heart to You. Lord Jesus, You are the Light shining in the darkness. Reveal then to me why things have gone wrong and give me the grace to understand the mysteries of my life. When I experience Your Loving Touch, then I know my mourning will turn to dancing. My life will become a song of praise to You for in Your Touch all things become beautiful and blessed.

Amen.

 
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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