I am a Catholic from South India, born in 1960, in a family of staunch Catholic faith, hardworking, graceful and God was with us all the time. From my childhood I loved Jesus and Mother Mary. Everyday early morning and evening prayers at home, Angelus, Rosary, singing hymns. I was active in all church activities right from my childhood. After graduation, I was in Bombay between 1980 and 1983, for my article training in Chartered Accountancy. In those three years along with studies and work, I gained lot of worldly knowledge both good and bad;
away from home I learnt all bad habits, but intelligent I was, I
qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1988 besides having a very good practice, assets and properties at the age of 28. In 1989, I got married to Blanch and by Gods grace I received two children both boys one in 1992 and another in 1993.
My intelligence, qualification, money and recognition at a young age made me very proud, I remained a Sunday Christian and at the same time participating all the rituals and religious practices of other religions and acknowledging in the process that “ALL GODS ARE SAME”. Life had up and downs, I was in Middle East with my family, earned good money, returned to India after a stay of 5 years, set up better offices back at home for own practice and consultancy. World was beautiful; smoking, drinking, late nights, parties, recognition, name, salutes, money and all worldly things, you name it, I had it.
1998 saw the software boom in India. Caught up with this boom, I set up a public limited company for software development and related business. The private placement of shares brought in a lot of money, activities were in full swing, good business, by the beginning of 2000, the company set up its full pledged software development centre at Bangalore and branches in five cities of Karnataka. In total 113 people working, a monthly expenditure of over USD 22,000; I was really busy, no church, no mass, no prayers, no rosary, away from family, always busy and on top of all this, I started criticizing Catholics, priests and nuns, I used them for inauguration of offices only with the aim of publicity and marketing of the company products.
Public Issue was planned, approved by SEBI and everything was perfectly going until November 2000, when software public issues had no response, I could not bring out the issue, I needed money for development, I wanted the show to go on. The pride in me, was so much that I started borrowing by mortgaging my assets, personal loans from banks, jewels, fixed deposits and even pledging my wife’s salary. In 8 months, the debt to banks and suppliers was to the tune of USD 250,000. Yes, I reached to a point from where there was no return. For the first time I was feeling the ground under my feet was swiping away. I found myself a pauper, penniless, rationing for food at home, from abundance to nothing, children starving, no money for school fees, not even to buy a chocolate, borrowing for the very existence.
May 17, 2001, 9.30 in the night, one of our software engineers flying to Singapore on a credit ticket and credit foreign exchange, not knowing what is the position of the company and the owner. Coming out of my office, no vehicle, my life was gloomy, thinking of such a huge debt, I had made up my mind to suicide, and I was walking, not knowing where, either to be hit by a running vehicle or ultimately to walk on the railway track. Yes, I was walking, in tears, desperate, thinking about my qualification, wife, children, mother, brothers and sister, where I was? How I was? How I became? And, I was passing through the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, alone, sobbing and was “HELPLESS”. For the first time, after two and half years, standing on the road, as if for the last time, looking at the cross on top of the Church, I uttered without my knowledge THREE words : “ JESUS, SAVE ME”. And, Alas! In that darkness,
I saw a bright light coming from the cross towards me, so bright, I could not see it, I took off my eyes, I lifted my right hand and covered my face and lo, I felt the touch of a hand, my right hand was held tightly by another hand, I heard a voice “DO MY WORK, I WILL DO YOURS”. I could not understand, what was happening to me, a total renewal, and my steps were towards my house and alone in the house, and I could not sleep. I was crying, in fact, sobbing like a little child, my entire life since my childhood came in front of me in flashes; it was like I was seeing in a mirror, all my past life. This continued till 5.30 in the morning. I could not sit and I washed my face and ran to the same church for the morning mass, after two and half years.
When the mass began, Again, the same voice, speaking to me: “Valerian, read 1 Thessalonians 5:16, 17, 18”. This continued during the whole mass. I came out of the Church, I didn’t know, that there are 2 letters of St.Paul to the Thessalonians. I asked one of my friend to read the bible for me for 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. And he read it for me “REJOICE ALWAYS, PRAY CONSTANTLY, GIVE THANKS TO GOD IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES; FOR THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS FOR YOU.”
Since that day, till today, the Holy Spirit is guiding my steps to the Eucharist daily morning. I came back to the Lord, unknowingly, what a renewal, a “U” turn; I could understand the scriptures more beautifully, each word of the Lord, so loving and life giving. God showered with so many spiritual blessings, the gift of faith and the gift of word of knowledge, there was peace in my heart and I could feel the Kingdom of God is within me. I attended a retreat by Rev.Fr.Augustine Vellooran, of Divine Retreat Centre, Potta, in December 2001 in my home town, I had a confession, and during adoration, I saw the same bright light which I saw earlier from the cross, from the Holy sacrament coming into my heart. Ah, what a tremendous love, I was surrounded by the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The worries, court cases, police cases, waiting in the courts and police stations, criminal cases and warrants for cheque bouncing, no vehicle, no money, walking miles together, the Lord was with me, I was thanking Him, in complete faith, accepting and surrendering to His will. Jesus is living, I could feel him, and I could talk to Him. Yes, he took me for a retreat to Potta in January 2002. I received the gift of tongues and Jesus, revealed me how to pray in my personal prayer. In May 2002, once again, Holy Spirit guided me to another retreat with my wife and two sons. During the week long retreat, all of us received the gift of prayer. On returning from Potta, a visit visa to the Middle East was waiting for me. I thanked the Lord, I left India, in fact, I had to escape, and that was how God told me. Triune God, was leading me, feeding me, within 30 days of landing in this foreign country, God gave me a job according to our needs. I have repaid more than USD 220,000 loan in the past 4 and half years. God is using me for his kingdom, He
is faithful, He keeps His promise, He made me his powerful instrument of faith, and I am spreading the light of Christ and the love of God to those I meet.
Praise the Lord!