Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I am the Good Shepherd. (John 10:14)

by Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.

People often ask me, "Why attend an Inner Healing Retreat? What is an Inner Healing Retreat?" It is waiting for a promise to be fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus said, "I am the Good Shepherd." What does a good shepherd do? He goes after the lost sheep. Jesus said. "As the Father knows me and I know the Father, in the same way I know my sheep and they know me…they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock with one shepherd." (John 10:15-16)

What Jesus is saying is that he knows each one of us by name - that he knows each of us deeply, personally and intimately. Jesus said in the Gospel of Mark 10:30, "As for you, even the hairs of your head have all been counted." God, our heavenly Father is one who truly cares for us - we have a God who cares for us so much that he came down from his heavenly throne. "For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not die but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

There are many moments in our past when we have cried -if not in our eyes, then in our hearts; in the darkness of our rooms, tears have run down our faces, We thought no one had seen yet the Lord says all the tears have been counted (Psalm 56:8). 

God's Love is a love that heals, a love that touches. Bruised, wounded, lonely, hurt - that is the life history of every one of us. We trusted people who we thought we could build our lives with but we were wrong. In these lost moments of our lives, Jesus will come. Every moment you were lost and betrayed, Jesus knows. He will come, like a good shepherd, holding the sheep in His arm to give rest to the sheep - to us! In fact, in one of the earliest marble statues that date back to the 1st century of Christianity, is a statue of a sheep on Jesus' shoulder. It is currently displayed in the Vatican museum. Many of us think of Jesus as King, as the Crucified. He said he is "the Good Shepherd".

The moment we are conceived, our minds began to function - it began to pick up vibrations from that moment. Doctors and psychologists have confirmed this finding. If the mother is happy at the moment, the baby feels a beautiful vibration. Thus as the baby grows in the womb, the baby picks up all the vibrations. All of us experienced that and it has moulded our characters.

I would like to share a beautiful incident that happened here in our Divine Retreat Centre. There is a female volunteer who sings on the Malayalam stage. She was singing and praising God and was actually taken from the stage to the hospital to deliver her baby girl! The baby hardly cried. She is now about 10 years old. As a baby, she jumped into every one's hands immediately! She had no inhibitions. In fact, the first word the she uttered as a baby was "Alleluia!" The mother was feeding the baby with positive feelings, Even if she had a negative feeling, it was soothed by the Holy Spirit as she sang hymns of praise and worship on the stage. The positive attitude of the baby is from the mother - the mother's loving, caring, serving and sharing attitude has given a positive foundation for her child's mental life. It would have been the exact opposite if the parents did not want the baby. Babies have the most sensitive minds and hearts. The healthiest time of the growth of a baby is in the womb of the mother.

Psychologists say the mind has 3 layers:
· The Conscious
· The Subconscious
· The Unconscious

In the conscious mind, we are able to make a connection between our behaviour and the reason for that. If we are not able to explain or understand the reason for our behaviour, then the reason is in our subconscious or unconscious mind.

A young man once walked straight into my room, looked at me and said, "Father, I hate you." I was surprised as I had never seen him before. I kept my cool and asked him why. Strangely he said, "I don't know why I hate you. You came to the retreat hall on the first day for the Introductory talk and the way you talked and the way you raised your arms up made me hate you." I began to talk to this vibrant young man. He grew up in a small village. He used to go every Sunday for mass and loved to serve as an altar boy during mass on the stage. He was like a leader among his friends. He made some mistakes while serving and when he made a mistake, the priest who was a bit quick tempered, slapped him near the altar. All his friends saw this and giggled. He became a very private reserved person. It was his wife who insisted he attended this retreat. Unfortunately, I looked like that priest - we had similarity in looks and speech. All the feelings in his heart had awakened in his mind - the pent-up anger came up. Poor me! I did nothing to warrant his anger. And poor young man! He did not know why he hated me. All of us have pent-up anger. The reason is what has happened to us in the past.

A girl once came to see me. A week after she was married, she went out of her mind. She would go to sleep and she did not want to talk to anyone. She was a healthy and educated girl. No one knew what had happened. I tried to talk to her but it was difficult as her problem had become psychosomatic. Slowly I found out that her father was a drunkard and she grew up seeing him beat her mother. She hated her dad because of this problem and the violence. She made sure with her brothers that the bridegroom was not a drunk. On the 3rd day after the wedding, she saw her husband drinking. She could not sleep that night. She thought of her future, "what if he continues drinking?" She would be like her mum. "I am lost. I have no way to live like this." There was no way for her to tell anyone. She was acutely affected. Her mind could not take it anymore and her mind switched off. I explained the situation to her husband - it is a choice between your wife or the bottle. It is not her mistake but because of her past. We need to go back into our past to find out how the past has affected us. This is our subconscious mind - we are not aware of the past but we need to make the person understand.

By the ages of 5-6, we become what we are today, mentally. A 11 year old boy came to our retreat centre and was very helpful. However as more retreatants came, he became more reserved. By the second day of the retreat, he was unmanageable. He walked out of the retreat hall and would not listen to the volunteers. I spoke to him and gained his confidence. Fortunately he had a good friend who was a priest who had helped him in many ways. I understood a consistent behavioural pattern - he disliked crowds. This boy had no mother and lived in a very remote village. His mother died when he about 2 years old. He could not remember her but he very calmly and coolly said that she had died in a road accident. In a village, this type of news spread fast and the neighbours would pick up the little boy and cry. The next day, after the post-mortem, the mother's body would be in bad shape. All the memories the boy can remember is of the crowds and the association with his mother's death.

When I asked the boy to praise God for the death of his mother, he became very violent and a doctor had to be called to sedate him. Two days later, I gently spoke to him about life and death and the plan of God but he became violent and had to be sedated again. After another two days, I managed to explain the plan of God and the boy calmed down. He stayed on to do another 2 retreats. We have to invite Jesus into our past - there are many things we remember and many things that w do not.

The two apostles said to Jesus on the way to Emmaus, "Remain with us, O Lord." They were totally devastated and shattered by the death of Jesus. They were sad, depressed, angry, afraid and felt guilty, Jesus explained to them all that had happened and when he broke the bread, their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus. Then they rejoiced! All the negative emotions were gone. They said to one another, "Were not our hearts burning within us?" We need to walk with Jesus. That is where He is going to lead us as we experience an Inner Healing Retreat. We need to offer to God all our negative emotions. Only Jesus can heal us. We trusted other people to make us happy. Only God can fill our hearts with love - our hearts are only made for God. We want to tell God that only he can fill our hearts.

Let us pray

Jesus, You are our Good Shepherd.
We trust in You, in Your Love.
We are wounded, depressed, sad and guilty.
Good Shepherd, my Jesus, let Your Blood flow into my wounds.
I accept you, my Jesus, as my Good Shepherd.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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Is this possible?

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