Sunday, December 28, 2014

DIVINE PRAYER FOR MALAYSIA Guided by Rev. Fr. Mathew Naickomparabil V.C. [Spearhead of Divine-Potta Ministry]

It is with great sorrow all Malaysians have woken up this morning to the disappearance of yet another Malaysian airline  - Air Asia flight QZ8501 disappeared from the radar 8 minutes after departure from Surabaya, Indonesia for Singapore at 6.20 a.m. (Malaysian time). The aircraft has reportedly crashed in the waters off East Belitung, off the east coast of Sumatra.  162 people (155 passengers and 7 crew) are missing including an infant. 

It has been a year of great tragedy and disaster for Malaysia - most Malaysians are feeling numb at all that has happened...the disappearance of MH370, the shooting down of MH17 and now the crash of AirAsia QZ8501

Malaysia is right now also facing the most severe floods in years and over 160,000 people have been displaced. Desperate help is needed and many citizens' volunteer groups have sprung up via social media to help the official government efforts which are ill-prepared.

Rev. Fr. Mathew Naickomparambil V.C., the Spearhead of Divine-Potta ministry had blessed and prayed over Carol Lazar of Malaysia when she was attending the "CALLED...GIFTED...SENT FORTH" retreat for Priests, Religious & Lay Leaders in Ministry in Divine from  27July - 01 August 2014. Fr. Mathew guided and advised Carol to write a prayer to be shared with her fellow Malaysian Catholic friends which Father then went through and blessed the following day. 

We call upon all Malaysians to storm heavens seeking God's Mercy and Protection for our homeland and for all Malaysians and our air carriers. Please do lift this prayer up during your daily personal prayers, your family prayers, with friends and within your prayer groups if possible. Let us claim the Promises of the Word of God on a DAILY basis:

"And so I tell all of you more: whenever two of you on earth agree about anything 
you pray for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.  
For where two or three come together in my name, I am there with them."
(Matthew 18:19-20)

"When you pray and ask for something, believe that you have received it, 
and you will be given whatever you ask for."
(Mark 11:24)

Below is the DIVINE PRAYER FOR MALAYSIA as blessed and guided by Fr, Matthew:

LORD, we pray for  the 29 million people of Malaysia to be washed in the ocean of Your Most Precious Blood and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

We pray for miracles, healings and conversion of our hearts on the Infinite merits of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

LORD, send your angels to encamp around Malaysia.

Mother Mary , help us as we pray the Hail Mary...

Hail Mary Full of Grace! The Lord is with you, 
Blessed are you amongst women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. 

Holy Mary, Mother of God - pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. 


We seek the prayers of readers of  this post to please join in this prayer for Malaysia. 

Thank you,

Sunday, December 21, 2014

“This Will Be A Sign For You: A BABE LYING IN A MANGER” (Luke 2:12)

Rev. Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.

Christmas is the celebration of Heaven descending into the abject poverty of the manger so that humankind could be raised to partake of the rich treasures of Heavenly existence. This mystery is revealed to us by St. Paul writing, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9) Christmas therefore unfolds to us the splendid hope that we can avail in this great love.

“God Proves His Love For Us” (Romans 5:8)

 St. Paul explains this as he writes, “Though he was in the form of God, He did not consider being equal with God… But He emptied Himself by taking the form of a slave and by becoming like human beings.” (Philippians 2:6-7)  This is the Divine act of love that saves us. As St. John tells us, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)  By this Heavenly descent, God has shown us the supreme and true nature of love. Love is the emptying of oneself in order to fill the other.

Every giving of one’s self implies the emptying of one’s self. Since God did not cling on to His own Divine Glory, He could come down to our utterly low level to enrich us with Heavenly Love. This mystery of Christmas reveals to us, once and for all, our mission on this earth to live for others by denying ourselves.

The life of Jesus on this earth was a continuation of this standard of loving. He did not come to establish a political kingdom on this earth and to rule in the majesty of a king. Instead, He went about seeking those who having lost the reason to live were groping in the darkness of despair.

“A Saviour Has Been Born For You Who Is Messiah And Lord” (Luke 2:11)

St. John presents Jesus waiting by the side of a well on a scorching mid-day in the dusty town of Sychar for a woman in sin who was to come there to draw water (John Chapter 4). She did not even acknowledge Him but He seeks her out, approaching her as a thirsty man in need of water. He stood before this impoverished woman as a man in need. He was thirsty indeed to accomplish the Father’s Will for her and save her soul. He bore with her insolence and the empty arguments that she raised. He was fixed on that redemptive purpose and He did not mind the humility it meant for Him. He knew her sinful life had drained her heart to the extent where it was so dried up that she was unable to experience even the slightest glint of Divine Love. She was inextricably entangled in the ways of sin and she found it impossible to release herself from it. Though her heart was longing for liberation from the grip of vice, she had given up on her lot as irretrievably lost.

Jesus knew very well the misery of her existence and the helplessness of her sin-ridden state that He went over and waited at the water-side for her coming. He did not react to her arrogant postures or answer her vain arguments. He was not concerned about proving Himself as the sole authority on the truth, which she had to surrender to. His only aim was to redeem her and restore her to the Heavenly Father. He had to gain her confidence to awaken in her the consciousness of her own sinfulness which was obstructing the light of truth from touching her. At a decisive moment, her heart opened to accept Jesus as the Saviour. The gospel records, “She said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ); when he comes, he will show us all things.”Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am he.’” (John 4:25-26)  This revelation snapped the bondages of deception that had long held her captive. “Light shone in darkness and darkness could not hold out against it.” (John 1:5) She was overwhelmed with joy and became the first ever missionary to proclaim that Jesus was the promised Saviour to humankind, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” (v. 29)

When Jesus humbled Himself, He could fill the heart of a woman with the living waters of the Holy Spirit. She in turn, rushed to the very people who had despised her and presented to them the treasure of heaven that had filled her heart.

Here is an individual lost in sin and as a captive of sin had reached a point of no return. She knew very well that her sinful indulgence would never give her life's fulfillment and yet her cravings for sin would not leave her. She also knew that her sin had led her to an alienation from God and man. She stood helpless, alone, angry, defensive and defeated. Into that misery of the human heart God enters with grace, respectfully and gently to lead it to the fullness of life, holiness and reconciliation with God and humanity.

“Upon Those Dwelling In A Land Of Gloom, Light Has Arisen” (Isaiah 9:1)

The gospels present us another personality who had reached the end of the road and feels resigned to give himself up to the failure of his past. The event of the Resurrection had come to pass and still the Apostles remained in hiding. They were reeling from the extraordinary sequence of events from the condemnation and conviction of their Master, to a cruel death and finally the Resurrection that they were yet to comprehend.

In this dark hour, Simon Peter was the first to give up. “’I am going fishing’ he said.” (John 21:3)  It was a declaration to the rest of the company of Apostles that he was done with the waiting and the hoping. Though he had encountered the Risen Lord, the entire series of events was lost on him and he was in a confounded state. The Passion and the Death of Jesus were too deeply etched in his mind and all he knew was that his was a bleak future. He was shocked by the manner in which his cherished hopes of a kingdom were shattered with the Master now eliminated. He was haunted by his own failure to stand up for Jesus. He had no confidence to be identified with the rest of the disciples. He regretted for having quit the Sea of Galilee leaving his securities – the boat and net.

The three years with Jesus seemed like a vain dream - a meaningless empty sojourn. The exhilarating memories of the miracles and healings done by the Master were all lost in the thick cloud of the tragedy of the Cross. The fate of his friends no longer connected to his own. Peter was determined to go his separate way and be rid of every share and string that linked him to the Kingdom of his dream, his Master and the company. If he could erase the three years of his life with Jesus, the hopes and plans he had, he thought he would have erased the deep grief that cut through his heart. He was prepared to eke out his livelihood as it was before he met Jesus.

The dark waters of the sea seemed to be the only reality before him. It mirrored the raging waves of pain and despair that filled his inner self. To Peter who determinedly turned away from the privilege and experience he was singled out for, the Risen Lord reaches out to him - calling out beyond the roaring waves to guide him to a dawn of hope and restoration.

Peter was being tossed from one failure to another. Even when he abandons the call and gets into the boat with a few other disciples, they fail to make a catch. The Lord however did not abandon them to their faltering choice. Jesus calls out from the shore, “Children, haven’t you any fish?” (John 21:5)  He then directs them to cast the net on the other side of the boat. He leads them from failure to a new direction of life. Peter gets an abundant catch of fish. More importantly he gets restored to what he realizes is most precious - His Master and the mission. He commits his life definitively and completely, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” (John 21:17) The Lord had won over the lost disciples and won for them their true and glorious destiny. They would feed His lambs, tend His sheep and follow the Master in fulfilling God’s great commission of salvation.

“You Are My Disciples If You Love One Another” (John 13:35)

This is the way of the Divine Love that saves others. This is what we need to follow and take up in our life’s mission. What was inaugurated at Christmas must continue in our life – the descent of Heaven to light up the dark alleys of human frailty. Indeed Christmas is to be experienced, celebrated and lived in our daily lives - the manger where we exist and in the places where we find ourselves in discomfort and at a loss. We celebrate Christmas when we let Heaven descend into the painful circumstances of our life by responding with love in the daily encounter with the arrogance and suffering that surrounds us.

Here at the Divine Retreat Centre, every week thousands come in on Sunday with their load of distress, hurts and troubling complexes. We often must face situations where God is challenging us to live the Christmas mission of loving even when it hurts. An incident comes to mind. On a Friday when the weekly retreat ending, I was in my room meeting a few of the retreatants who were to leave that day. A man strode into my room and in a rather loud, accusing tone, said to me “You should not be thinking that you are the greatest preacher in the world for you definitely are not.” I was taken aback to hear someone accuse me of such foolishness to make such an absurd claim. I was disturbed, being occupied with other retreatants. I was inclined to correct him, but I paused for a moment in prayer. I felt that some incident elsewhere must have provoked him to this unwarranted outburst. I asked him to be seated.

As I finished counselling the departing retreatants, I called him to my table and asked him how I could help him. He said he had been forced to come for this retreat. On arrival with his family, those at the reception said that he could not get a room until evening as the retreatants have to leave and the rooms had to be cleaned. They also told him that he had come two days ahead of the retreat schedule. He was tired and irritated and wanted to leave immediately. I listened to his angry assessment of the Retreat Centre, those of us serving here and of the church at large. Meanwhile, I had a room arranged for him. I told him to rest since anyway he had made a long journey to reach here.

On Sunday night, he came to me after the evening session. With tears in his eyes, he thanked me for letting him stay and have the experience. He shared with me his struggles - how he had been through a long, difficult patch in his business, had taken to drinking and soon other problems had crept into his life. His wife had forced him to come for the retreat hoping this would save the family. He made a sincere retreat and experienced God’s Loving Touch powerfully. Heaven had entered his family. I recounted my first encounter with him and my immediate human inclination to react to his arrogance. God however reminded me to put aside my natural impulse and take the stance of kindness and compassion Jesus felt for him. That allowed Heaven to begin its descent into the life of this hurting man and his family.

Christmas is the Promise of God that He is waiting to usher in Heaven to every manger on earth. He is searching for followers who will keep His mission on-going. They will empty themselves of their rightful claims to worldly importance and stoop down to enter the mangers of impoverished human situations with the Saving Light of Heaven.

Let Us Pray:

Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your great Love that saved us. You have seen the misery of sin and death that burdened humankind and You reached out with compassion. Lord we open our hearts and pray that Your great compassion may be poured into us that we may reach out as You did to us.

Lord Jesus, You treasured the Father’s Will and You emptied Yourself without counting the cost and humiliation, the pain and rejection you must face. You won for all of humankind life and salvation. Lord we pray, walk with us and lead us to love and save the people who come into our lives.

May the gift of Your Love and Presence fill our hearts and homes and this world - that this Christmas may bring the glorious Light of Heaven into this broken world.


Sunday, November 23, 2014


Rev. Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.

Kerala is known as God's own country. The name has come to stay thanks to its rich scenic beauty which imparts the feel of peace and tranquility, a token of heavenly bliss rare to find in this fast-paced world. This celebrity name is further adorned in recent times by a galaxy of saints that has arisen on the horizon of the State.

Six years ago, devout Sister Alphonsa, a humble Clare nun was raised to the altars giving India her first saint. On 23 November 2014, two personages of renowned sanctity from the native land are due to be canonized by Pope Francis: Blessed Chavara Kuriakose Elias and Blessed Euphrasia.

The story of the saints, in Pope Benedict XVI’s memorable words is "the great luminous wake with which God has passed through history." The Mother Church is reminding us that God has walked in this country in the history of these two holy persons. It is a call to the Church of India to follow in their footsteps and thereby rise up to a life worthy of our calling.

 Chavara Kuriakose Elias – Contemplative in Action

Archbishop Antonios Petti, the Promoter-General of Faith for the Causes of Saints in Rome, presented Kuriakose Elias as "a pearl truly Indian and oriental." Born on 10 February 1805 at Kainakary, a village situated in the scenic backwaters of Alleppey in Kerala, he had been a great stalwart of the Church in Kerala. His spirituality was a rare combination of immense social and spiritual commitment.

“I Set You As A Covenant For The People” (Isaiah 49:8)
He is described as the St. Benedict of India for he fathered and moulded religious life in India. He founded the first indigenous religious congregation of India in 1831 by name 'Carmelites of Mary Immaculate'. Later with the help of Fr. Leopold Beccaro OCD, the Italian missionary, he started the indigenous congregation for women religious known as the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel. He had personally initiated the first seven Indian monasteries, which became the spiritual nerve centres of the Kerala Church in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Understanding the great importance of the training of the clergy, he started a Major Seminary in Mannanam near Kottayam in 1833. This was also the first major seminary in the Syro-Malabar Rite. Systematic seminary formation was given in this seminary, not only for religious candidates but also for diocesan clergy of the time. There was a time when as many as a hundred and fifty seminarians were undergoing training at one time in this seminary. In 1894, this seminary was amalgamated with the seminary at Puthenpalli which later shifted to Alwaye in 1932.

Around this time, there was the threat of the Rochos schism looming over the Kerala church. In 1861, Kuriakose Elias had been appointed the Vicar General of the Syro-Malabar Christians who were being governed by the Verapoly archdiocese. This appointment was primarily meant to counter the schismatic influence of Mar Thomas Rochos. Kuriakose Elias realized the pre-eminent role of the priest to counter this schism and to establish and foster integral Catholic faith among the believers.

“Like A Shepherd He Feeds His Flock” (Isaiah 40:11)

His love for the Church was incomparable and he wanted all the faithful to remain loyal to the Catholic Church by leading an authentic and vibrant Christian life. With great pastoral zeal, he had introduced devotional practices in the churches in order to keep faith alive in the hearts of the people.

He was convinced that Catholic faith is to be lived centered on the Holy Eucharist. For this purpose, he had introduced what later became immensely popular - as the Forty-Hour Eucharistic Adoration. All the parish priests were instructed to send the people to participate in such Eucharistic devotion. Together with introducing the Adoration, detailed instructions were given on God's Love manifested in the ultimate expression of God giving Himself to us in the form of bread and wine. The people were encouraged to make the Holy Eucharist the source of strength and direction for their lives. One would call to mind the memorable words of Pope John Paul II instructing the whole Church that the Holy Eucharist is the Source, Centre and Summit of Christian life. Alongside this, pious practices such as meditations of the Way of the Cross and the Rosary were introduced in the life of the Church.

The Way of the Cross was meant to keep the Paschal Mystery of our salvation alive in the hearts of the people. The Rosary devotion popularized by the saint has kept the Catholic families in Kerala united in prayer every evening. Pope John Paul II speaking to the Kerala bishops, had commended highly the strong tradition of the family rosary and remarked that due to this, there was the rich harvest of priestly and religious vocations in this Church. He also introduced the ministry of preaching God's Word to the parishes and instructed the Fathers of his congregation to take the proclamation of the Word as priority.

“I Appoint You… To Uproot And To Tear Down, To Build And To Plant” (Jeremiah 1:10)

This servant of God was not only an untiring spiritual visionary but also a social revolutionary. In his time, the Kerala society was ridden with the caste system. The higher castes that consisted of ‘namboodiris’ and ‘nairs’ dominated the political economic and social structures keeping the lower castes under oppressive and inhuman situations. Only the members of the upper castes were allowed access to the facility of education. The vast majority was in servile dependency for their meagre livelihood. The heart of Kuriakose Elias was deeply grieved over this pitiable predicament. His love for God urged him to take a prophetic stand to bring about a social change where all are brothers and sisters.

Education, he realized, would be the key to this emancipation. He started the first school for the poor in Mannanam in 1846 and that was also in Sanskrit language. Soon more schools were founded attached to churches, and as the Vicar General, he gave orders that every church should have an adjacent school. The schools were open to all irrespective of caste and creed. He instructed all the parents that it was their responsibility to send the children to school because in his words, "Children are God's investment in the hands of the parents." He told the children that they had to prepare for a bright future by studying hard for he said wisdom was food for the spirit -, as important as natural food was for the body. He introduced free noon meals in the schools. This practice was adopted later by the rulers of the time and has come to stay on in all the schools to this day across this country.

In a prophetic vision, Kuriakose Elias understood the indispensable value of media for the propagation of faith. In those days, there were no spiritual books available to the Catholics for their spiritual growth. Only two printing presses were functioning in Kerala - one in Kottayam belonging to the Protestant missionaries and the other in Trivandrum owned by the government. Having a first-hand experience of the Press in Trivandrum, he instructed a carpenter to manufacture a wooden press. He was able to make available to people spiritual reading material. It was in this wooden press that in 1887 that the first Malayalam daily called Nazarani Deepika was first printed and published. Indeed he was responsible for ushering in an age of enlightenment among the people!

As a man whose heart beat for love of God, he was drawn to focus on the least of the brethren of Jesus. The people whom society despised as anathema, Kuriakose reached out to serve. In 1869 he started a home for the destitute. This in fact was the first charitable institution in the Syro-Malabar church. His advice to the members of his congregation was to be always available to the poor and marginalized of society. All the pioneering activities of this man of God stemmed from his clear prophetic vision of what society should be. As St. Francis of Assisi has rightly said, "Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify your society."

 “A Man After My Own Heart; He Will Carry Out My Every Wish” (Acts 13:22)

In his total commitment to Jesus Christ, his prime concern was to mould his life after Jesus. As Jesus was intimately united with the Heavenly Father in the Holy Spirit, this man of God was always deeply aware of the in-dwelling Presence of God in his heart. During his lifetime, people from all walks of life recognized the depth of his spirituality and called him 'Servant of God', 'Divine Person' and 'Man of Divine Vision'. The first person who wrote his biography was his own confessor and spiritual director, Fr. Leopold Beccaro OCD. On the day of the death of Kuriakose Elias, Fr. Leopold wrote in his diary, "O beautiful and holy soul, pray for me."

The people of his time saw in him a remarkable man of God and longed to get a blessing from him. It is recorded that when he was travelling, people who came to know he was in the vicinity ran after him to get blessed by him. He was always at the disposal of the sick and the suffering, consoling and comforting them. St Alphonsa during her intense suffering was comforted when she had a vision of Kuriakose. He was truly a contemplative in action. The Compassion of the Lord that filled his heart, flowed out of him - rebuilding distressed lives and a decadent society. His integrated spirituality was moulded by his intense love for God and his radical openness to the needs of his fellowmen. As St. Augustine had rightly said, "The peace of the celestial city is the perfectly ordered and harmonious enjoyment of God and of one another in God."

Euphrasia – Mystic and Intercessor

Rev. Sr. Euphrasia CMC, lovingly called ‘Evuprasiamma’ by the sisters and the neighbours, continues to be honoured as the ‘Praying Mother’ to all. She was born on 7 Oct 1877 in Kattoor, a village near Thrissur in Kerala. Her maiden name was Rose Eluvathingal. She grew up in a wealthy family of landowners. It is said that at the age of nine, she had received an apparition of Mother Mary - an overwhelming experience that inspired her to devote her life totally to God. The piety of her mother deeply influenced her prayer life. Her mother used to relate to her the stories of St Rose of Lima, which strengthened her resolve to live for God. She entered the convent of the Sisters of the Mother of Carmel which was founded by the saintly Fathers Chavara Kuriakose Elias and Rev Leopold Beccaro. After her religious profession on 24 May 1900 at St Mary's Convent, Ollur, she was appointed as Assistant Novice Mistress and later as Novice Mistress. In 1930 she was made Mother Superior of the convent where she was to spend the rest of her life.

“My Beloved Is Mine, And I Am His” (Songs 2:16)

Since her childhood, Euphrasia suffered frail health. At one time during her formation, it became so critical that her superiors were to send her back from the convent. During this phase, she had a vision of the Holy Family and she was healed of her sickness and could continue in the formation. It was a rare spiritual courage that sustained her then and all through her life.

Among the Sisters, she was known as the 'walking tabernacle' because of the remarkable Divine Presence she radiated. Sr. Euphrasia spent much of her time in the chapel before the Blessed Sacrament. Her soul was so close to God that she could receive visions from above which led her to experience ineffable joy in spite of the hardships of failing health. From the letters she wrote to Mar John Menachery, the Bishop of Trichur and her spiritual guide, we understand that she had risen to the mystic level of spiritual betrothal that St. Teresa of Avila speaks of. In such moments of intense love and joy, her soul was united with God in an intimate mystical union with the Lord.

The sick and the suffering from the neighbourhood would constantly come to her asking for her intercession. With a divinely charming smile, she would console them and tell them, "I will not forget, not even after death." These words are etched in the hearts of the people of the time and are bequeathed to the younger generation of today who flock to her tomb seeking her Divine intercession. As in her lifetime, even today her heavenly presence remains in the St Mary's Convent at Ollur as a tender compelling force inviting all to God's Love. The Praying Mother remains a consoling hope for everyone in need - leading all to God.

This holy nun shows the way to and challenges all the consecrated persons in the Catholic Church to be men and women of prayer. Her closeness to God was her greatest asset, leading her to be raised to the glories of the altar where she shall be venerated as a Saint of God. It is such holiness which makes consecrated life credible and relevant for the people. Though largely confined to the inner cloister of the convent for an entire lifetime, her sanctity has radiated across continents and down generations as the life-giving aroma of Christ.

These two saints by their commitment to Christ conquered the ravages of time and fickle human memory; they even conquered death to live on forever captivating the hearts of all generations to shed heaven’s graces upon these.

Let Us Pray
Heavenly Father, we thank You for the two saints You have given to the Church and very specially to our country. They are luminous stars shining in the heavenly places. Let the rays of the light of their sanctity enlighten our ways to reach You.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

VIDEO: "WHY DO CATHOLICS PRAY FOR THE DEAD?" by Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.

An enlightening and uplifting talk by Rev. Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C. – Director of Divine Retreat Centre, Kerala India on “WHY DO WE PRAY FOR THE DEAD?”

“On 2nd November we observed the Commemoration of the Departed Souls – those who are dead.“There are people who ask. ‘Why should we pray for the dead?’ There is a beautiful doctrine, teaching in the Church. We call it the Truth of the Communion of Saints. What does it mean? The Church is at 3 levels:
  1.  The Church in Heaven – those who lived in Jesus Christ and entered into glory – the     Glorious Church.
  2. The Church on this earth – the Struggling Church. We are the Struggling Church.  We are struggling in the face of temptations; we are struggling to be faithful to Jesus Christ every moment of our life.
  3. Then there is the Suffering Church – The Suffering Church is the Church in Purgatory – those who are dead and being purified now in Purgatory. These are the people in the Suffering Church.”

“What  we can do today is to help them by praying for them. Why do we pray for them? This is because there is a connection between these 3 Churches – the Glorious Church, the Struggling Church an d the Suffering Church.  In the Glorious Church, Mother Mary and all the Saints intercede for us; they pray for us. We need to pray for those who are still suffering and being purified. This is a beautiful way we are connected in love.”

“We are not wanderers on this earth. We are pilgrims! Pilgrims have a definite purpose, a definite end – we are moving towards the heavenly end!”

LIVING WATERS is a 30-minute daily Divine TV programme of anointed sharing of God's Word by Rev. Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C, Director -- Divine Retreat Centre. It is the largest Catholic retreat centre in the world.

DIVINE TELEVISION (UK/Europe & Middle East) Is known as GOODNESS Channel in India & Asia-Pacific and DVN Network in USA/Canada.

It can also be viewed worldwide ONLINE at

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Rev. Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.

The youth flocked from different countries to the Divine Retreat Centre in search of life. The Ninth International Youth Conference was celebrating as its theme the grand offer of Jesus, “Have Life in all its fullness” (John 10:10). In fact the Lord describes this as the very purpose of His visitation: “I have come that you may have life in all its fullness.” The promises of Jesus had always this tone – the generosity of God inviting us to graces in full measure. While speaking of joy He said, “I say these things that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete” (John 15:11). The peace He offered again was something that would completely dispel all anxieties and unrest of the heart. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). He came indeed in the form of man to fill us with Himself as St John writes, “Out of His fullness we have all received grace” (John 1:16).

“I Have Called You By Name” (Isaiah 43:1)

This offer of the fullness of life was a great revelation for the new generation. It was indeed beyond their asking and imagination for they had settled for the minimum in their practice of religion. 

For many young people, though Christian by upbringing, God was an abstraction or a vague power that was distant and irrelevant. Though they habitually prayed, it was mostly an exercise done out of a sense of obligation. They could not imagine that God was there to listen to them. It was at the retreat that they were led to the experience of God as someone real in their lives – God had become for them a love that touched their hearts, transforming their lives to give them a new purpose.

When Serena, an engineering student, heard Jesus calling her by name during the Eucharistic Adoration, she was thrilled by the revelation that she was not one in a crowd but very special to the Almighty God. She observes, “Though I was a cradle Catholic and I observed all the obligations, for me God was too distant to be considered. Even when I went to church, I felt I was there as part of that big congregation. I never imagined that I could be of any consequence to God. I lost my interest in God. I even lost the sense of the sacred. I never even considered that God was there. It was at the retreat that I was drawn to the reality of God at the altar. I realized that He knew me by my name and that His eyes were upon me. That sense of love filled my heart and it is for this love that I wish to live.”

The marvelous experience of the Spirit was unmistakable as the one effect was the revelation of a God of compassion, closely following the concerns of His children.

Virgil from Goa described that he had come for the retreat with a heavy heart. “I doubted God cared for me. I took it for granted that my name would never be called out. My despair was mounting when I started to think on these lines. This was during the Inner Healing prayer service. I could not concentrate and I was doubtful if Jesus would hear me. That was when Father called out my name and the message went thus, ‘Hand over your heavy heart to Jesus’. I felt a fire pass through my body and I cried out aloud. I could not be worried what those around me would think of me; for at that very moment I realized that Jesus cares for me and that He has not given up on me. I started believing in the Presence of Jesus and would love to experience this over and over again!”

“Our High Priest Understands Our Weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15)

Lewis, a medical student, was born and brought up in a traditional Catholic family. Though he was by nature very intelligent and hard-working, when he came for the retreat he was a man suffering from a tortuous sense of shame and self-contempt. In the first year of his medical studies, his friends had introduced him to watching pornography. He resisted the pressure in the beginning but soon thereafter gave in and found himself addicted to the evil. He could not concentrate during the lectures and lost interest in his studies. He was not able to sleep either because the pernicious images that he had seen during the day on the computer would return to haunt him when he lay down to rest. He started on sleeping pills and would wake up in the morning more tired than when he had gone to bed. He felt desperate and lost. He could see no way out of the crisis. He knew no one could help him. 

He came for the retreat in his desperation. From the start of the retreat, he prayed in tears as he was reasoning to himself that God would not answer his prayers for he did not deserve God’s favour. However something very beautiful happened! During the Offertory at the Holy Mass, he confessed in earnest prayer to his helplessness in this habit of his addiction. He placed his wretched state of mind on the altar alongside the bread raised up on the paten. He had almost given up on his medical studies - yet as he prayed he began to sense a new hope that God would intervene and set him free. He continued to look at the altar and offer with the Host, the filthy images that were stuck in his mind - residues of the evil habit that had enslaved him.

At the very moment of Consecration, when the celebrant raised the piece of bread and prayed the liturgical words of the Consecration, an awesome fear gripped him, for he saw behind the altar not the priest any more, but Jesus in the garb of the High Priest and the words were coming from the lips of Jesus, “This is my body.” He was still more shaken for the realization dawned on him that the bread Jesus was holding up was what he had offered with the ugly memories of his past. It struck him that all the mess that he had made by his sinful indulgence was now being taken up by the Lord. The Lord was taking responsibility for his licentiousness. The Lord was being broken in his place. Great love flowed into his heart and with ineffable joy, he began to repeat the Name of Jesus! His life choked by the ugly mess of sin was now purified in the Heart of Jesus. During the distribution of the Holy Communion, when he received the Sacred Body of Christ, he felt a flame of fire burn into his tongue. This soon developed into a pleasant burning sensation that filled his heart and seemed to take over his entire being. As he was describing this to me, he turned and said, “I knew I was made a new creation.”

I remembered the account of the experience of the apostles on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit descended upon them in the form of tongues of fire. In that burning sensation, they were created anew to be the pillars of the Church proclaiming that Jesus is the Lord and Saviour!

As Lewis was describing this life-transforming experience, he shared with me that he was taking on the mission of bringing over the very friends who had led him astray - for them to experience the liberation Christ was offering them from their despoiling addiction with its destructive effect. “I am praying for them. When I return, I will meet them personally and I know God will be merciful and save them as He has been so good to me.”

“Proclaim The Praises Of Him Who Called You From Darkness” (1 Peter 2:9)

Year after year, God is leading His children to the International Youth Conference to a deep and life-transforming experience and through it moulding them as His witnesses! The gospels describe in detail how Andrew and John pursued Jesus, being directed by their Master John the Baptist. Jesus turned and asked them “What do you seek?” They said, “Rabbi, where do you stay?” Jesus invited them to “Come and see.” St. John concludes this encounter saying, “We went and saw and stayed with him” (cf John 1:35-39). That was the beginning of a new life of discipleship. This intimacy grew into surrendering their lives totally to Jesus and it matured into a great desire to bring the whole world to the same experience that they were blessed with. Much later St. John would begin his letter declaring, “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.” (1 John 1:1-4).

In their search for life in all its fullness, the youngsters came to a realization that there were many factors that stifled the flow of life. In the milieu of education and work, they were often associated with friends who were so secularized that God did not mean anything to them. The media has brought in a very materialist set of values that focused on momentary pleasures and luxurious living. All the time the talk of the youth was about the latest brands of clothes, cars and mobiles. Their preoccupation was to find time to hang out in malls and pubs. It seemed that money was all that one needed to make it in life! Relationships had become fragile and were seen as dispensable, with no perspective on the future. Any talk of religion or religious values was considered as obsolete and offensive. The youth has been sucked into the new, nefarious culture devoid of vision and values.

All these trends perpetuated by peer pressure had led the youth away from the foundations of their faith. They were doing things against their own will because they were not able to resist the compelling influence of their friends. They had to hide much from their own parents because they knew their behaviour patterns would not be acceptable. When the youth experienced the Power of God’s Love liberating them from the clutches of their addictions and deceptive thinking, it was clear that all along, deep in their hearts, they resented the slavery that peer pressure had come to mean for them.  

“I Will Declare Your Name To My Brothers” (Psalm 22:22)

During the counseling and in the feedback notes many of them expressed their great desire to share their newfound love of Jesus with everyone around. This enthusiasm is a clear revelation of how they wanted to fight back against the evils of peer pressure by becoming agents of life to the very culture that led them to death.

This expression of their new mission was not mere wishful thinking but evolved as clear decisions that the youngsters had settled for. Mary Claire writes that she is determined to speak about Jesus at least to one person a day. Derrick’s decision is to get all his friends for the Power Conference next year. Stenisa has taken it as a vow to “help my friends to experience Jesus as I have experienced Him.” The youngsters are charged with a new mission in their life, a reason to live for! The mission of evangelization that the Popes are recently speaking about has come into their hearts in a powerful way. The Church is enriched with a fresh batch of warriors whose heart beats for the Love of God!

Reading through the feedback forms, I am reminded of the cry of St Augustine, “Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.”

The grand finale of the Conference was marked by the solemn High Mass officiated by the His Eminence Cardinal George Allencherry, the major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church. There was an emotional moment, memorable to every participant. The Cardinal at the end of the Mass, came in front of the altar and knelt down in his priestly vestments before the multitude of the youth, and sought their prayers. He was suffering from unbearable pain in his shoulders. It had become acute with the monsoon season. The youth moved by an affectionate and filial response, prayed with great fervour for their Shepherd! Later the Cardinal joyfully shared during his breakfast with the Vincentian Fathers that he was completely relieved of the pain! The youth were already becoming channels of the fire of God’s Healing Love. The love and prayerfulness in their hearts is bound to bring healing and life to the Church and to this world.

Let Us Pray:

Thank you Lord for bringing Your children to experience the Loving Promise of Your Son that they would receive “Life In All Its Fullness” (John 10:10). They have gone back to their educational institutions and workplaces with the thrill of this Promise being fulfilled in them. Let your Holy Spirit continue to fill them to be the torchbearers of Your Kingdom. Let the whole world know that the fullness of life that every heart is searching for is in You.