By Terry Dickson
BAY ST. LOUIS – Father Sebastian Myladiyil, SVD, has written a new book that will serve as an excellent resource for daily reflection during Lent as Catholics prepare for Easter celebrations.
His Instruments: If God Could Use Them…He Can Use Us (Vol. 2) is available through Daphne, Ala. – based publisher River Birch Press. The first volume, which focuses on characters of the Old Testament, was published in 2012. Father Sebastian’s new book profiles 40 characters from the New Testament. The book’s foreword was written by Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz.
“The basic premise of this book is that, if you see a good person, you imitate that person, that person’s values and virtues. If you see a person of questionable character or a bad person, you examine your conscience,” said Father Sebastian during a recent visit to St. Augustine Seminary in Bay St. Louis.
“In the Bible, we have so many wonderful men and women of faith whose lives and choices we can certainly relate to for ourselves. At the same time, in the Bible, we also have the questionable characters. Many of them responded to God’s call with great enthusiasm, initially, but when challenges and difficulties came, their enthusiasm diminished and they were attracted to other things. As a result, they fell away from God’s plans and their lives became failures.”
Father Sebastian, current pastor of Sacred Heart Greenville, said each of the characters in his newest book – both good and bad – have valuable lessons to impart.
“Their situations are no different than ours,” he said. “The historical context might be a little different, but the human emotions are the same and how we deal with the uncertainties of life, how we deal with unexpected tragedies in life. Those are all the same.
“The important thing is to see God always, and to have the steadfast conviction in our hearts that God is there always and to receive that strength from Him.”
Father Sebastian begins the book by examining the lives of the main characters from the Infancy Narrative – Zechariah, Elizabeth, John the Baptist, Joseph and Mary.
“I also look at the public life of Jesus where some of the prominent apostles come along, such as Peter, Andrew, John, Thomas and Matthew,” he said. “I look at the parables of Jesus Christ where some of those beautiful characters evolve, such as the Good Samaritan, the Rich Man and Lazarus. I also profile characters such as Nicodemus and the Samaritan Woman, Martha and Mary and Lazarus. I look at the Acts of the Apostles and the writings of Paul. We have Stephen the Martyr and Saul of Tarsus, who becomes Paul of Tarsus.”
Father Sebastian is a native of India and a naturalized U.S. citizen. He is a Divine Word Missionary priest, serving the Southern Province of USA since 1999, and has been serving in different parishes that are comprised of multi-cultural populations such as African-Americans, Caucasians and Hispanics. Along with his pastoral duties, he obtained his first Master’s Degree in Moral Theology from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, and a second Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Counselling from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. Currently, he is serving at Sacred Heart Greenville; St. Francis Church in Shaw; and Sacred Heart Church in Rosedale.
To date, Father Sebastian has four books published: His Instruments; His Instruments – If God Could Use Them He Can Use Us; and Blown Together – The Trials and Miracles of Katrina. His fourth book is a translation of His Instruments into Spanish: Sus Instrumentos. Currently, he is working on his next book, A Compendium of Prayers – Why We Pray.
His Instruments – If God Could Use Them He Can Use Us is available on Amazon for $20 plus shipping; the Kindle edition is available for $9.99. For more information, contact Father Sebastian at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 228.324.4927.
(Terry Dickson is the editor of Gulf Pine Catholic and the director of communication for the Diocese of Biloxi.)