Monday, April 10, 2017

Friends of Divine: LENTEN 2017 WEEKLY VIDEO REFLECTION NO.6: "EVERY SUFFERING IS A CALL FROM GOD" by Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.



Have you pondered what kind of faith you have? Is it deeply rooted in the Word of God or is our faith planted in loose soil of worldly expectations? Can I stand in the Presence of God and declare that I have picked up my cross and followed Jesus in my life?  

The final video of the 6-part DIVINE LENTEN 2017 WEEKLY VIDEO REFLECTION SERIES at the top of this post is "EVERY SUFFERING IS A CALL FROM GOD"  by Rev.  Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C., Director - Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor, Kerala, India.

In this heart-provoking homily, Fr. Augustine explains with insightful wisdom how our faith is moulded by the sufferings we face in our lives and the importance for us to have a Christian character.

"Often our faith is very shallow. When I ask for something, I want it immediately. I want it right then. If God does not give it to me, I will go to another god….My life is centred o me, my agenda, my plan and my timetable. Faith is the opposite. Faith is centring my life on God. I do not understand God’s Plan but yet I wait for God’s Plan to be revealed God could be disciplining our faith to make us become perfect. In Romans 5:5, St Paul tells us, ‘When there are problems, do not become disheartened because afflictions bring us endurance, endurance brings us character and character brings us hope A hope that will never fail us.’

“What is Christian character? Christian character is the way we continue trusting in God.”



“Every moment of pain and every moment of struggle is when we share in the Cross of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:15) It means God is so close to me He said, ‘Take up your cross and come after me.’ (Matthew 16:24)  I take the cross and go after Jesus step by step. ‘Come after me’, Jesus said. What does that mean? It means Jesus is in front of you He walks in front to Calvary – from there to the Glory of the Resurrection.” 

For those of us baptized in Jesus Christ, there is nothing called Ancestral Curse. Romans 8:1 – ‘If you are in Christ Jesus, you are not under a curse.’

“The Bible teaches us that every drop of tear, every but of pain offered with the Cross of Jesus will bring salvation to someone we love who is close o us – someone we are praying for That is what is called Intercessory Prayer.”

Therefore, a moment of suffering is not a moment of curse. It is a moment of a Call. God is calling you to be united with Jesus….Mothers and Fathers, Husbands and Wives, Brothers and Sisters, if you choose to love, that means you choose to save. If you choose to save, that means you choose to suffer.”

“A moment of pain is a moment the Lord is calling us to the Cross as a co-saviour – ‘Come! Take up your cross and follow me.’”

On Maundy Thursday, the Healing Adoration Service, “COME TO ME ALL YOU WHO ARE BURDENED AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST (Matthew 11:28)” conducted by Rev. Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C. will be posted as we surrender our lives to Jesus this Holy Week.

We give thanks to God for the proclamation of His Word through the Divine Lenten 2017 Weekly Video Reflection series. Please share this post with your loved ones, prayer groups and friends to make this sacred season of Lent a truly transforming experience in our Christian life.

Monday, April 3, 2017

FRIENDS OF DIVINE LENTEN 2017 WEEKLY VIDEO REFLECTION NO.5: "THERE IS LIFE AFTER DEATH" by Rev. Fr. Jacob Arimpur V.C.



Have you ever thought seriously of the meaning of your life on earth? Have you truly made reaching Heaven the ultimate goal in your life?  If these questions have not been something that crossed your mind, then it is time to do so. For our life on earth is just a short journey. The ultimate destination of every Christian is to reach Heaven – our Eternal Home.

The fifth video of the 6-part DIVINE LENTEN 2017 WEEKLY VIDEO REFLECTION SERIES at the top of this post is "THERE IS LIFE AFTER DEATH” by Rev. Fr. Jacob Arimpur V.C., Assistant Director - Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor, Kerala, India. In this Spirit-filled sharing, Fr. Jacob exhorts each of us - “Jesus is posing a very important question today to all of us.  ‘Is your life earth-bound or Heaven-bound?’ It is a very important question that Jesus is asking each one of us .In Philippians 3:20, we are reminded that 'Our citizenship is not of this world.’ We are living in this world – that is the reality. But Jesus is reminding us, ‘Let the world not enter into your life.’”

“Jesus is not saying the world is evil or that the world is bad. Whatever God has created is good. But often what happens is we start abusing what God has created. It is there that the problem lies. We are not able to use these gifts of Graces that God has given us in the proper way. That is the root cause of many of the problems we are facing today.”


“Jesus is asking us to short or re-orient our focus from the world to Heaven which is our ultimate decision. “

“We are not realizing that we are dying every moment. What we are not seeing is this: we are not able to see Heaven – the ultimate reward of what God will give us.”

“Let us go beyond the ordinary way of looking at things. If we want to experience joy and peace in this world, we have to do it. Jesu sis asking us to lift our perspective to Heaven from this earth.”

“A true Christian says, ‘What is mine is a gift of God so I will share it.’”

“The Lord is giving us a foretaste of Heaven – how beautiful it would be if we reach Heaven!  Your life is not to end here. There is life after death.”

Next Sunday, Rev. Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C., Director of Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor, Kerala, India will be sharing the Word of God on "EVERY SUFFERING IS A CALL FROM JESUS”.

Please do share this Divine Lenten 2017 Weekly Video Reflection series with your loved ones, prayer groups and friends to make this sacred season of Lent a truly transforming experience in our Christian life.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

FRIENDS OF DIVINE LENTEN 2017 WEEKLY VIDEO REFLECTION NO.4: "OVERCOMING OUR FAITH CRISIS - OUR FAITH HAS TO BE TESTED" by Fr. Joseph Edattu V.C.



Have you ever experienced a faith crisis? Are you facing one now? It is very difficult when you or someone close to you has doubts about God. There are questions like “Who is God? Where is He? Why is God allowing all these painful situations to happen? Why is Jesus not there for me?”

The fourth video of the 6-part DIVINE LENTEN 2017 WEEKLY VIDEO REFLECTION SERIES at the top of this post is "OVERCOMING OUR FAITH CRISIS - OUR FAITH HAS TO BE TESTED" by Rev. Fr. Joseph Edattu V.C., Associate Director - Divine Retreat Centre, Ramsgate, Kent, UK.

In this heart-provoking sharing, Fr. Joseph Edattu V.C., challenges each of us to look into our hearts and mind – “It is good to reflect on one aspect of our life – faith crisis. Especially in this modern world, people are facing a lot of faith crisis. Their faith is tested.”

“Our faith has to be tested - otherwise it will not be proved! In the moments of crisis, if you leave your faith or if you question: ‘Why God? Why did you allow this?’ That means your faith is being tested and you are proving yourself that your faith is not strong.”



“When John the Baptist was in prison, he slowly began to have a faith crisis. He started to think like this: “I worked hard for Jesus. I prepared the way for Jesus. I preached about Jesus. I baptized Jesus! Now I am in a crisis - I am in prison. But where is Jesus? Why is He not coming to me? Why is he not helping me? Why is He not consoling me?’ The crisis John the Baptist faced in his life is just like the common faith crisis everyone goes through at least once in their lives.  Why is God so active in other people’s lives but so silent in my life?”

“There are 2 ways to get out of your faith crisis. Firstly, think of the past in your life when God intervened - the mighty interventions of God in your life where God protected you. You have witnessed it and experienced it in your own life. Secondly, listen to the Word of God. Read the Word of God – Romans 10:17."

“If you have faith, your faith should be tested. Only then will you be able to prove your faith.”

“God will never give you any test beyond your capabilities.”

“After every crisis in your life, there will be a mighty blessing for you. You have to prove your faith.”

Next Sunday, Rev. Fr. Jacob Arimpur V.C., Assistant Director of Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor, Kerala, India will be sharing the Word of God on "THERE IS LIFE AFTER DEATH”.


Please do share this Divine Lenten 2017 Weekly Video Reflection series with your loved ones, prayer groups and friends to make this sacred season of Lent a truly transforming experience in our Christian life.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Friends of Divine: LENTEN 2017 WEEKLY VIDEO REFLECTION NO.3: "CAN YOU HEAR GOD's VOICE IN YOUR DAILY LIFE?" by Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.



Does God speak to us in our daily life? Many of us do not think so. However, just like the prophet Samuel when he was a young boy, it is because we are not familiar with the Voice of God. (1 Samuel 3:7)  God desires to speak to each and every one of us. We need to learn how to listen to God's Voice.

The third video of the 6-part DIVINE LENTEN 2017 WEEKLY VIDEO REFLECTION SERIES at the top of this post is "CAN YOU HEAR GOD's VOICE IN YOUR DAILY LIFE?' – by Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C., Director - Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor, Kerala, India.


In this anointed homily - "CAN YOU HEAR GOD'S VOICE IN YOUR DAILY LIFE?", Rev. Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C., explains how we must prepare our hearts so that we can recognize and become familiar with the Voice of God speaking gently to us in our daily life.  

Fr. Augustine exhorts us to stay focussed on Jesus - "In the midst of distress, we might not be able to recognize the Face of Jesus. What we need to do is - even in such difficult moments of our life is to know that Jesus will walk with us." 

"There are moments in our life when we feel lost and abandoned - even abandoned by God! We have no reason to live anymore. Everything has turned against us and we wonder why everyone is determined to misintepret the best of our intentions. Even in such difficult moments of our lives, our God is on our side. The Promise of God "I will never abandon you. I will never leave you alone.' (cf. Jeremiah 1:8) This is a Promise that Jesus will keep. He is faithful to His Promises."

Fr. Augustine reminds us - "It is not enough just to read the Bible - the Word of God. The Word of God must become the Voice of God spoken to our hearts."

"How does the Word of God become alive as the Voice of God?"

Next Sunday, Rev. Fr. Joseph Edattu V.C., Associate Director of Divine Retreat Centre, Ramsgate, Kent, UK  will be sharing the Word of God on "OVERCOMING OUR FAITH CRISIS - OUR FAITH HAS TO BE TESTED."


Please do share this Divine Lenten 2017 Weekly Video Reflection series with your loved ones, prayer groups and friends to make this sacred season of Lent a truly transforming experience in our Christian life.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Friends of Divine: DIVINE LENTEN 2017 WEEKLY VIDEO REFLECTION NO.2: “WHO IS GOD TO YOU?”– By Fr. Michael Payyapilly V.C.



Many of us call Jesus as God. We proclaim Jesus as God. We acknowledge Jesus as God. But deep within our hearts is Jesus actually God? Are we depending - is our total dependence on Jesus?

The second video of the 6-part DIVINE LENTEN 2017 WEEKLY VIDEO REFLECTION SERIES at the top of this post is "WHO IS GOD TO YOU?” (Acts 16:31) – By Fr Michael Payyapilly V.C., Director - Vincentian Missionaries, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.




In this Spirit-filled homily - "WHO IS GOD TO YOU?", Rev. Fr. Michael Payyapilly V.C., challenges every Catholic - Who is Jesus for each of us? Do you really know and can you clearly share with deep conviction who and how is God's Presence manifested in your life?

"When we look into our lives, we realize that our total dependence is not on God. Our total dependence would be on things of the world - it could be on material pleasures or it could be on human beings. Whenever we lean on material things or we lean on human beings, we are making those material things or human beings our god. Without realizing it, many of us have created little gods in our hearts - things we depend on."

"Is your talents your god? Are you totally dependent on your talents for everything you do in your life? If you are totally dependent on your talents, then your talents have become your God."

Fr. Michael  reminds us - "The Word of God tells us, 'Sanctify Christ as Lord." (1 Peter 3:15)

"When you hold on to the things of the world and start depending on it, it will give you momentary pleasure. These are all superficial things. Let us look into our hearts - are we sanctifying these superficial things and holding them for dear life?'

"Give Jesus a chance to bring you out of this! There is NOTHING impossible for the Lord if you give Him a chance! The sad fact is many of us have not given the Lord a chance. We give the world a chance. What have that led you to today?"

"Look into your heart today - what are the things you have given more priority than Jesus? Who or what else have you sanctified as God?"


Next Sunday, Rev. Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C., Director of Divine Retreat Centre, Kerala, India will be sharing the Word of God on "CAN YOU HEAR GOD’s VOICE IN YOUR DAILY LIFE?”


Please do share this Divine Lenten 2017 Weekly Video Reflection series with your loved ones, prayer groups and friends to make this sacred season of Lent a truly transforming experience in our Christian life.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Friends of Divine: DIVINE LENTEN 2017 WEEKLY VIDEO REFLECTION NO.1: “WHY DID GOD CREATE US?”– By Fr. Mathew Naickomparambil V.C.



The Holy Season of Lent began this year on 01 March 2017 - ASH WEDNESDAY. 

Why are we on this earth? God has a mission or each of us.  The sacred season of Lent is a holy time of grace for every Catholic to look deep into our hearts - what is the state of our heart for Jesus to live in us?
As of today, a weekly spiritual video talk will be posted every Sunday on this Friends of Divine blog until Palm Sunday. The 6-part DIVINE LENTEN 2017 WEEKLY VIDEO REFLECTION SERIES - is to help us truly prepare our heart and our life to be in union with the Merciful Love of Jesus. Our lives must be transformed not just during the Holy Season of Lent but in our every day living until we return to outr Heavenly Home. On Holy Thursday, a Eucharistic Adoration service will be posted.  

Let us truly reflect deeply on  Pope Francis' LENTEN 2017 Message: 

“Lent is a favourable season for deepening our spiritual life through the means of sanctification offered us by the Church: fasting, prayer and almsgiving. At the basis of everything is the Word of God, which during this season we are invited to hear and ponder more deeply.” 

“Dear friends, Lent is the favourable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in His Word, in the Sacraments and in our Neighbour. The Lord, who overcame the deceptions of the Tempter during the forty days in the desert, shows us the path we must take. May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion, so that we can rediscover the gift of God’s Word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need.”  


The first video of the 6-part DIVINE LENTEN 2017 WEEKLY VIDEO REFLECTION SERIES at the top of this post is "WHY DID GOD CREATE US? by Rev. Fr.Mathew Naickomparambil V.C. - Spearhead of Divine-Potta ministry.
 Fr. Mathew shares - "What is the purpose of our creation? "We are created by God and for God." (Colossians 1:16)  We are created for the Glory of God. How are we going to glorify God? When people around us see our life, witness our life and experience love, mercy and compassion through us, they start thinking of the God we proclaim. They start thinking highly of the Lord who we are living for!"
 

 

This inspiring video by Fr. Mathew produced by Divine TV USA practically explains  how each of us can live our daily lives witnessing for our Lord Jesus as purpose-driven people of God.

Next Sunday, Rev. Fr. Michael Payyapilly V.C., Director of Vincentian Missionaries, Melbourne, Australia will be sharing the Word of God on  “WHO IS GOD TO YOU?” (Acts 16:31)

Please do share this Divine Lenten 2017 Weekly Video Reflection series with your loved ones, prayer groups and friends to make this sacred season of Lent a truly transforming experience in our Christian life.

Monday, January 2, 2017

HOW AM I LIVING FOR CHRIST? 2017...A YEAR TO GLORIFY GOD!


It is nearly the end of the first day of the brand new Year 2017 as I begin to write this post. It seems now that 2016 just flew past swiftly...and another year of my life is history. Makes me wonder what 2016  means when I am one day hopefully at Heaven's gates!

I do not make  New Year resolutions the way I used to in my pre-Divine days. Even then, I was not one who made many New Year resolutions personally like some of my friends who actually had a list of New Year resolutions. I made a few in my mind and that essentially provided the impetus or zeal in what I tried to achieve in that year.

The older I get the more I value the potential of what each New Year could mean. Perhaps it is because when I was younger, death was like some distant destiny and there was so much to do and to live for. For some reason, I never entertained the thought that I could also die young until my elder sister did - when she was 43. 

By then, I had started thinking on and off about what the meaning of my life was but it were little episodes in a hectic lifestyle I was leading in the corporate wold.



Until God decided that I should be aware that I have a plan to fulfil for Him too!

God has a plan for each of us. Yet how we choose to respond to God's Call is entirely up to each of us. Once we say "YES", how we choose to  live for Christ is based on our journey of faith and our deepening personal relationship with Jesus. It cannot be static. I know the difference of my relationship with Jesus when I first realized He has a plan for even for me (during my 1st Divine retreat in February 1998) and now nearly 19 years later!  Like in any relationship, we need to commit our time and heart to Jesus and learn to do His Will. Learning to do God's Will and not our own is the difficult part. It is easy to say but difficult in reality to live purely to do God's Will. First we need to let go of our pride, ego, personal will and learn humility and being a handmaid/servant of Jesus. 

The last month of the year is always an intense time of prayer and reflection of how I have lived my life for Jesus and what should I focus on in the New Year. It is a difficult time as it is also the busiest period of my ministry where I am really exhausted each day. It is the time that I most want to "hear" what God wants of me and to get assurances from Him - that there is no reason to be afraid. God is in control. This is something many of my Catholic friends overseas have also shared with me regarding their careers and of their church/apostolic ministries. How do we know if God wants us to continue with our ministry, which ministry should we focus our efforts, should we look at taking up new ministry initiatives and so forth. We want to have the security of God showing us a clear sign of what we should do. Yes, it would make our choice  easier if we know what is in store  for us.

For me, I have found the need at year-end to seek the spiritual guidance of a priest. Somehow in having to articulate my fears, concerns and personal ministry initiatives for the New Year, I feel Christ's Peace and very often clear signs and "revelations"  during the year-end Divine Thanksgiving Adoration service and the New Year Vigil homily. Spiritual guidance is crucial because sometimes we are too close to our problems/concerns to recognize the "root" of what could be troubling us or the need to refocus on our spiritual call. Our focus is on the "worry" and not "what" could be causing the "worry" and of trusting God in a tangible way



When we we choose to live God's Plan for our lives, I have found personally some areas I must always be aware of:

  • Daily Personal Prayer and Bible Reflection
  • Ongoing discernment of how I am living for Christ.
  • Whose will am I living for? God's Will or my will?
  • The courage and honesty to share my own personal weaknesses, anxiety and concerns in living God's Call to me with a Spiritual Director.
  • Listening and being ready to recognize when God is speaking to my heart. It may feel like God is not saying anything. Yet Jesus reveals to me what I need to know.
  • Do I trust God enough to believe in His Providence? 
  • When I say "YES" to God's Call, I need to truly trust He is going to  be there with me through the good and bad times. I am never abandoned. 


Whether we are serving in church ministry, full-time ministry or in our personal life as a committed Catholic, I am reminded in a very powerful way this year by the Word of God that discipleship is costly. However, God's Providence which is what truly matters is promised to me - to gain the crown I hope for eternity:

“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, 
and take up his cross and follow Me
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; 
but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
(Matthew 16:24-25)


The hymn at the at the top of this post "MY HANDS, MY HEART, MY VOICE" by SELAH - spoke so powerfully to my heart when I heard it for the first time tonight. I  encourage you to please take the few minutes to let the lyrics flow into your heart to be touched, anointed and strengthened in how you will live with deep commitment and purpose for Jesus in 2017. 

As 2017 begins, I take this special opportunity to thank God for all our Friends of Divine especially those who have stepped forward in helping Divine's evangelizatiion and charitable initiatives. There is much I have learnt and gained personally in coordinating Divine's 2016 evangelization missions in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore from the parish priests, dedicated retreat organizing team members, and many Catholics who have stepped forth for new Divine evangelization initiatives in Asia-Pacific. Each of you have added a depth to my personal ministry in Divine. The Friends of Divine network that we have is a vibrant and integral part of our Divine-Potta ministry - your prayers and deep commitments make the Christian difference to many other hearts in your parish, country  and the world to have a God-experience.

May each of you, Friends of Divine, be blessed mightily to be Christ's ambassadors to the world!

Have a Joyous and Fruitful 2017! To God be all Glory!