Adrian Ortega Conversion Testimony
God be praised. After more than 18 years of rebellion against God, against my Holy Mother and the Church, my Lord went in search of my lost soul.
My first marriage was carried out in court and the Catholic Church, and after 2 years I had abandoned it. What happened was very painful and incomprehensible for me, because the foundation that should have been built was not based on my understanding of “The Love of God”. Due to my civil divorce, I learned of the annulment process of the Sacrament of Marriage. My first thought was, “The church is useless. How could the church DIVORCE what has been united by God?” and I thought this without considering the role that I had played. I had ended this relationship, and I had also entered it with my own ideas about marriage, without emotional maturity, and without financial responsibility. I just wanted to be with the person that I thought I “loved”. This led me to resentment with the church and with God. I made the decision that my intellect would be capable of making me understand that the processes of the church were absurd and that other religions and ideologies had some truth to them. That was how my war against God began. I began reading all different types of books following what people had once told me, “Read different types of books and your mind will comprehend their contents.” That is how I came to new age literature and secret societies that cultivated knowledge for one’s own growth. Now I know that God allowed my heart to toughen into a shielded organ that nothing and no one could hurt. However, my most harmful relationship ever had begun, my alcoholism was uncontrollable, and my anger was unstoppable. Nevertheless, my appearance was that of a normal, centered, educated, cultured, and ambitious person that could accomplish anything by simply thinking about it and being mentally focused. I had a lot of downfalls, but I thought, “I can reinvent myself.” My relations to the mundane were growing and I eventually reached complete rebellion without even kneeling for the Sacred Eucharist. The mercy of God, however, is greater than that.
I almost lost my life several times due to my lack of responsibility with alcohol and my lifestyle. One day I started to have a really high fever that did not go away. After a week I went to my doctor and was diagnosed with Typhoid which infected my liver and gave me hepatitis. Since my liver was not working I was not able to take any medication. I could only to hope to get better through rest and candy. One day, the pain from my liver was so strong that I was afraid I would die. My mother wanted to call the ambulance, but I told her not to. At that moment I looked in the dresser drawers of my bedroom and saw a figurine that belonged to my grandfather. It was a statue of San Antonio of Padua with baby Jesus in his arms. At that moment I looked up and said: “Saint Anthony since you are closer to God, tell him to give me more time so that I can see my daughter and change my life.” Like a miracle, the next day I started to get better which led to my recovery. Once I was better, I immigrated to the United States and began a new life. My ideals had not changed much, I remarried, God blessed me with two sons, however, I did not have the intention of reconciling with Him.
I believed that I did not need anything. I had a job, a house, a family, but there was a tremendous emptiness in my life that not even money or my home could fill. I continued drinking but at a different rate due to my liver damage. Once, on a good day, I tried to “help” a family member. I lied to them so that they would come with me to retreat. Of course, according to me, it was he who needed it, not me; and that is how I went through the most profound experience of my life because God had a surprise for me. He was in search of his prodigal son. After going through the experience of this retreat, my hunger for the Eucharist was so great that it motivated me to reconcile through the sacrament of confession. The following week, I heard the announcement for another retreat through the Catholic Church and that is where I went through another indescribable experience. The Holy Spirit receives me with its sublime warmth and takes away my fear of speaking openly about Jesus, my Lord and Savior. I began to research the process of annulment knowing that I could not continue living the way I was. My conscience had been awakened inside me making me look for things of God which led me to look on the internet about the lives of Saints: Padre Pio, San Juan Bosco, Madre Teresa de Calcutta, San Antonio de Padua and more. That is how I came to see a very peculiar film that caught my attention. At first, I had to check various sources to verify the authenticity of what I saw and heard. So I checked web links from the Vatican to see if they corresponded. The film was about a person named Vassula Ryden, who said that she had been receiving messages from God since 1986. The messages are translated into dozens of languages, so I began reading them in Spanish and personalizing them with my name as Vassula had mentioned. My body began to tremble during the reading.
I had begun the marriage annulment process by now. At times my mind was hesitant with doubts, but God filled me with peace. I also had the support of the group with which I lived my first spiritual experience, who helped me to balance my feelings and emotions. The annulment process came to its final stage. The nun who was managing my case contacted me to see if I still wanted to testify my case in the church. For a moment I felt a spiritual power to change the course of the verdict. I told the nun that I would like to testify, and in that moment, she mentioned that we would have to speak with the judge so that I could be assigned a day, and that the process would be further delayed. The case was already ready to be examined. My Mother Santa Maria has nourished me through the rosary to obey my Church. I advised the nun that I trusted in the decision of the judge without my testimony.
At that moment I remembered one of the messages to Vassula that follows:
Yahweh Is With You
December 23, 1990
like thirsty land I yearn for You.
Rest me for a while on Your Knees now and console me.
Let me feel enveloped by Your Consoling Heart.
I need Your warmth.
repose your head on My Heart, rest and feel consoled… your Abba is caring for you; your Abba is happy to have you near Him; repose your head on My Heart, My child, and listen to the Desires of My Heart: My Heart is still seeking, longing, pleading for the rest of My children’s love; …
(A few seconds’ pause.)
child? 1 what would you give to console your Abba?
O Lord, anything you want. My love, my will, my heart and my soul.
and what more?
My life, as an atonement to Your Desires.
descend then from My Knees and go and bear witness in My Name; go and tell the nations of My Great Love; remind them that My Promise is very near to its accomplishment and that My Return is imminent; the New Jerusalem2 is at hand; I am going to renew My Church and My people;
so My child, descend from My Knees and go out into the world for My Sake … and make My Love known to the world; let the world realize how I love My children; as it is, you have not sought Me, it is I who found you and have chosen you to go out to the world before My Great Day; it is I who formed you and although you were aloof to Me, I have chosen you and revealed My Holy Face to you; so when you have accomplished all the work I have commissioned you for, My child, I shall take you up to Me and you may then rest on My Knees;
I shall, in the meantime while you are in the world, protect you from your oppressors; I want you for your part to look up in Heaven constantly for Me and talk to Me; “Yahweh is with you”, have always these words engraved on your mind and on your heart, for I-Am-With-You; now let your heart treasure all that I have told you and remember: offer Me prayers to reach Me like incense, for the conversion of souls and the revival of My Church;
1 Suddenly the Father’s Head turned and looked at me.
Soon after, I spoke with the sister and asked her if I could send an email with my final testimony. She told me I could and after several attempts she told me that she was unable to receive emails. So, in my own thoughts I told God, “I tried.” A couple minutes after I had hung up the phone with the sister, she called me and told me I could send it by fax. My heart was filled with joy.
This was my final testimony in English which I had to write with my cousin’s assistance in the translation:
Dear Sister Clare,
The following Message explains my conversion. I was fighting against God, but now He brought me back. I did not understand the process of annulment and therefore did not accept it, even though I knew about it 20 years ago. My resentments against God and the Church were so big that I created my own God, became a Free Mason, read up on occultism and so on. Please read this Message. God explained everything to me. I am hungry for the Eucharist
God Bless you.
You Were Wrestling With Me
December 22, 1990
I treat you very gently so that you, as My flower, grow; I want you strong and believe Me I shall make it possible; you shall be strong, daughter(Son), since you carry My Word; in front of you, I Am, to break all barriers that come up while you are witnessing; I am the Most High, and I tell you, daughter(son), that I shall see to it that no power from beneath stops you from proclaiming My Message;
I have taken you out of the land of Egypt to respond to Me in a foreign land and witness to a people not your own; so although your behaviour was appalling and your senses blemished, unabling you to see the Light, Mercy1 and Compassion was seized by your astounding misery, guilt and wretchedness and came to your rescue;
no-o Vassula (Adrian), you have not deserved any of My Gifts; why, I had servants in My Hand who honoured Me, never uttering but My Name in holiness, who blessed Me without cease, who praised the Holy Trinity wholeheartedly; but yet My Heart, an Abyss of Love, cried out for you; you had accumulated sorrow upon sorrow in My Heart, treason upon treason; you were wrestling with Me, puny little creature … but I knew that your heart is not a divided heart and that once I conquer your heart, it would become entirely Mine; an object of your era, you were wrestling with Me, but I have thrown you down in the wrestle and dragged you in the dust and into the desert where I left you there, all alone;
I had provided you with a guardian angel, since the beginning of your existence, to guard you, console you and guide you, but My Wisdom ordered your guardian angel to leave you and to let you face the desert on your own; I said: “you are to live in spite of your nakedness!” 2 because no man is able to survive alone; 3 Satan would have taken over completely and would have killed you; My order was given to him too; I forbade him to touch you then; in your terror, you remembered Me and looked up, in Heaven, searching desperately for Me; your laments and your supplications suddenly broke the deathly stillness surrounding you and your terrified cries pierced through the heavens reaching the Holy Trinity’s Ears …
“My child!” the Father’s Voice, full of joy, resounded through all Heaven;
“Ah…I shall now make her penetrate My Wounds4 and let her(him) eat My Body and drink My Blood; I shall espouse her(him) to Me and she(he) will be Mine for eternity; I shall show her(him) the Love I have for her(him) and her(his) lips from thereon shall thirst for Me and her(his) heart shall be My Headrest; she(he) shall eagerly submit daily to My Righteousness; I shall make her(him) an altar of My Love and of My Passion; I, and I only, shall be her(his) only Love and Passion; and I shall send her(him) with My Message to the ends of the world to conquer an irreligious people, and to a people who are not even her(his) own; and voluntarily she(he) will carry My Cross of Peace and Love taking the road to Calvary;”
“And I, the Holy Spirit, shall descend upon her(him) to reveal to her(him) the Truth and the depths of Us;5 I shall remind the world, through her(him), that the greatest of all the gifts is: LOVE;”
“let Us6 then celebrate! let all Heaven celebrate!”
… I have taken you by the hand and formed you to become a living sign of My Great Love; – a witness of My Sacred Heart, and of the renewal of My Church;
(The Father, then the Son, then the Holy Spirit spoke.)
I am the Resurrection;
1 Mercy and Compassion = The Lord.
2 I became “naked” as soon as my guardian angel and all Heaven had turned their back to me.
3 Abandoned by Heaven.
4 The Son then spoke.
5 The Holy Trinity.
6 The Holy Trinity spoke.
7 From purgatory.
The annulment process concluded, and my previous union was declared annulled, since there were irregular situations called vices and defects.
God transformed my life through a personal relationship with him, expressed in a deeper sacramental life in the Holy Catholic Church. On July 11, 2014, after 11 years of civil union, God gave me the grace of the sacrament of marriage with my wife Barbara and blessed my two children on the same day with the Sacrament of Reconciliation and First Communion. My daughter from the first civil union has given me two grandchildren and the Lord has healed the wounds between us.
Currently, my wife and I are celebrating 5 years as catechists at St. Nicholas Parish in Aurora, as well as giving testimony for the Glory of God on Channel 36 in Chicago, through a program called “The Harvest of Faith.” In giving my life over to God, I formally renounced Freemasonry in a written letter of resignation and gave testimony of the truth of Jesus Christ our Savior before the members of the Masonic Lodge to which I belonged in the past.
The Fire of the Holy Spirit impels me to bring more souls to God by sharing the Holy Gospel. At the same time, I work to expose the falsehood of Freemasonry’s doctrine, which the True Life in God messages illuminated for me by revealing the purposes and objectives of these false and dangerous teachings.
Bishop Felix Toppo
Bishop Felix Toppo
May 28, 2007
”I am Bishop Felix Toppo of Jamshedpur diocese. My diocese is very close to Kolkata. In 2004, I was introduced with the True Life in God and when I first started reading, I immediately knew, a Spirit touched me deeply, that something… there is something divine in this reading. And so continuously I read. Continuously I read, read, read and finished all the volumes and I was very deeply moved, very deeply touched, and started meditating, reflected, and then I also started reading the second time. Vassula Ryden one day asked me whether I would give the Nihil Obstat for her books because she was planning to compile all the messages together and make one book. Now, I was hesitating because of the implications of it and also because of the Church authorities and one day as I was praying in the chapel, you know, something struck me. I said “Why not to give? After all, I believe that this is a revelation from God, I believe that this is a dialogue between God and human being through Vassula. And you know, it has done a lot of good to me and is doing good to others. Why not, you know, why not to give?” And when I decided that, I was very happy and joyful and immediately I wrote to Vassula a letter saying that this is a dialogue between God and human being through Vassula and also it is helpful for any Christian who reads it and there is nothing objectionable according to the Teaching of the Church. That letter I wrote, then I also wrote a letter of Nihil Obstat. I never regret it, I’m happy that I gave it and I’m hoping that many more people would read this and profit by it. ”
Fr Petar Ljubicic from Medjugorje
Fr Petar Ljubicic from Medjugorje
Father Petar Ljubicic is the priest to whom the Medjugorje visionary, Mirjana, will give the Secrets, ten days before they occur so that he announces them to the world.
Fr. Petar participated in the True Life in God ecumenical pilgrimage held in Rome on September 2011, where he agreed to give this interview.
Going on a pilgrimage to me means searching for God. More of less every pilgrimage helps a man in searching to find the Person of Jesus Christ. That is something I consider the most important thing in a man’s life. This pilgrimage is a great experience for me. We are here in the “Eternal City” with different people and different denominations, where we are trying to get to know each other to fulfill Jesus’ desire “That all be one!”
There are a few things that Jesus told us we have to do – of which one is to pray for a spiritual vocation, to pray for the power of the Holy Spirit! He Himself prayed for Unity. Because He was able to look into the future He knew, as He is God, that people will separate, they will go their different ways. So He prayed for Unity. And we are here to pray this, His prayer will be heard, which will lead us to the Unity fo all people, that all be One, to have One Shepherd as Jesus wanted.
Could you tell us how you first came into contact with Vassula and the True Life in God Messages?
I met Vassula for the first time in Switzerland when I was a missionary. We met together over dinner. I was a missionary from 1995 to 2000. I had already read several of the books by myself and was convinced that it was an authentic revelation. Reading these books we discover how the Person of Jesus Christ is the Person who should be our source of life, the goal of our life. One feels that Jesus is again here on earth. Jesus wants mankind to open his heart and accept Him, and allow Him to become man’s happiness and joy. Jesus is trying to help us to become happy here on earth, while, of course, promising us the heavenly happiness of paradise. That’s why for Him, as the Divine Savior, man’s disunity is so painful. If we fall in love with Jesus Christ, if we surrender ourselves to Him, then there is nothing better to do but work for unity, that we all become one. That is why this Message [True Life in God] is so essential, so important, and everybody should read it to open himself and accept it.
Often people who follow the Medjugorje Messages are opposed to the True Life in God Messages. Is it normal for you, can it be justified?
I think the main reason for it is that people don’t know the Messages and this is probably the reason they don’t understand them and oppose them – they haven’t read them.
Probably they hear the negativities from others?
People have heard that Rome – The Vatican – was against the Messages, so they are ‘a priori’ against the Messages. But everybody who reads these Messages and meditates on them would be able to see that there is nothing against the faith or the Church, they simply help a man to love the Church and to get to love Jesus and to live with Him.
Moving on to your responsibility of announcing the Medjugorje Secrets in advance, could you say a few words on this matter?
As far as the Secrets are concerned, if anybody is interested to know, I could say that Mirjana has received all ten Secrets and on behalf of all the Medjugorje visionaries, she will reveal them when the time comes. It is also confirmation that as the Secrets have been gifted to Mirjana, so each visionary will receive all ten Secrets. The first two Secrets are warnings for all those who believed in Medjugorje. When the Secrets are fulfilled all will know that the visionaries were telling the truth and that Our Lady was in Medjugorje. The Third Secret is the visible sign on Apparition Hill which will be a great joy for those who believed and who were living the Gospel and in accordance with the Messages which Our Lady gave in Medjugorje. Ten days before the Secrets all will know what is happening and the priest together with Mirjana will fast and pray. Then three days in advance it will be possible to declare it, ‘Urbi at orbi’.
You will be in personal contact with Mirjana? You will be together?
She knows my phone number and it will not be a problem to get together. The first two Secrets and also the third one are connected to Medjugorje, so we will be obliged to be in Medjugorje for the fulfillment of these Secrets.
Are you anticipating that when the first three Secrets have been announced and fulfilled that the world, as a whole, will believe in the authenticity of Medjugorje?
I hope that it will help many people to settle their lives, to convert, to believe, and become new people. In any case, we all know – when Jesus came two thousand years ago, many miraculous signs occurred. And the Holy Mass itself is a miracle, a sign which is occurring every day. We see how difficult it is to turn people back to God, it is so difficult to convert people. I think and hope that when these signs and the Secrets are realized, that they will help everybody, at least to those who visited Medjugorje. Of course many people have hoped, prayed and lived according to the Holy Gospel although they have not visited Medjugorje yet. I hope it will be a final call to the people for conversion, to return to God and to start to rely on God.
Thank you, Fr Petar, for giving this interview!
Fr: thank you very much, God bless you, Jesus loves you!
Bishop of Babylon, Theofylaktos Egypt
Bishop of Babylon, Theofylaktos Egypt
At the beginning of the ‘True Life in God’ pilgrimage in Egypt all the participants of the ecumenical and inter-religious group were invited to a Divine Liturgy held at the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. George in Old Cairo. Copied here is the address of Bishop of Babylon, Theofylaktos, given at the end of the Liturgy on 22nd October 2002: “My beloved brothers, bishops, elders of all the Christian denominations, I welcome you with special love in this holy monastery. I bring you the greetings and blessings of His All-Holiness, our Patriarch, Pope of Alexandria and all Africa, His Holiness Peter VII, who couldn’t be with you all because of other duties. He is wishing you a pleasant stay in the country of the Nile, Egypt.
The place in which you are today is not only holy but also ‘Theovadistos’ (walked by God). Here the Holy Family came and stayed for approximately 18 months, fleeing Herod’s terror. Here Jesus Christ took His first steps, here the little Emmanuel heard the first chirping of the birds. Our monastery is one of the most ancient monuments that North Africa has to show, built in the 4th century AC. Here is where St. George the great martyr was imprisoned for 30 months and from here his martyrdom started and ended in a small town in Palestine.
I’m especially glad for all of us gathering here today and raised our hands in common prayer and supplication towards God for peace for the whole world and for all the peoples on earth. Humanity is suffering from wars and other kinds of catastrophes. We, as the representatives of all Christian denominations and other religions, have the duty to teach our peoples to live in reconciliation with all people. Unfortunately, we all have forgotten that we have common roots, common Father, God and Creator of the Universe. Enough! The earth is tired of receiving, for centuries now, unjustly shed brotherly blood! Man must understand someday that differences aren’t solved with weapons but by the language of the heart and of love. Someday we all must work, and are obliged to do it with all our power, towards this direction: to try and reconcile man first with God and then with his fellowman, because in the Eyes of God we are all the same! St. Paul says there is no Jew nor Greek, slave or free man, man or woman. All, in the Eyes of Christ, are one.
Our gathering today should have a cause, so that all of us make it our daily program in our life to pray everyday so that peace prevails in the world. We should take the message of peace and love and carry it to the peoples of all the earth. We can indeed be the new apostles that will speak of love and peace. Everyday we hear by the media about catastrophes and violence among peoples. Wherever one might turn his eyes will see destruction, fires, human casualties and will hear weeping and laments. Maybe it sounds illogical, but we, the Patriarchate of Alexandria, for 2000 years now, coexist in harmony, in friendship, with love, with all the people of Egypt that are Muslims. We never had any problem. See every morning when the sun rises, it doesn’t differentiate where it will send it’s rays, either to the Christians, the Muslims, the Hindus or the Buddhists because we all live under the big sky, the love of God! If we put aside our personal interests, I’m sure that some day we will all be happy. We will shake hands in reconciliation. I believe and hope and pray that this day will come where the peoples of the world will meet at one point, will shake hands, will lament for the blood that was shed and they will reconcile for ever in their life.
From the land of Egypt, which is ‘Theovadistos’ (walked by God) exactly because Our Lord Jesus Christ walked on it, we are to send today to the ends of the world a brave message of love and peace: as we gathered today in the Church under the same dome and we didn’t differentiate Christians from non-Christians or of other religions. From today we will announce to the whole world that men can live in reconciliation as long as they learn to love first their God, whoever He is, whatever His Name is, and then I’m certain that love for their fellowman will spring also.
Pass on to the leaders of your Churches, to the leaders of your religions, to your people, to your communities, to your towns, to your villages, to your cities, to your countries our greetings and our blessings, our love. That we pray, a few Greeks, a few Christians, whatever the number, we pray for peace, for the whole world so that next year that I hope to have you close by, the smiles be wide! To reveal the message that there is no more war, no men are killed, there isn’t anymore unjustly brotherly bloodshed on earth!”
Jamie, Mark Chanelle and Chuck
Jamie, Mark Chanelle and Chuck
Here are testimonies from a few of the people who attended a True Life in God retreat in Chicago, USA on Jan 8, 2016. The theme of the retreat was “My Holy Spirit is the Breath of the Church”
My name is Jamie, I’m from Kansas City, MO., I was a lukewarm Christian. I never really truly understood how to be completely committed and dedicated to Jesus, and how to love, and how to be a Christian, and how to forgive, and have mercy. Through these messages, my spiritual growth exploded! I live my life through scripture and through these messages. These messages from True Life in God are so powerful and such a gift from God!
My name is Mark, from Independence, MO., I’ve been following the True Life in God messages of for 24 years. It (the messages) is a guide for my day, it is oftentimes an answer of what has happened in the past day, questions that I have, concerns that I have that I have brought to Jesus. Jesus has given me the grace to understand, to take Him with me always, and further He has developed that to start with His Father, so that I say, “Come Lord, let us go together” and ask the Holy Spirit to be with us, and Jesus, and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
My name is Chanelle and I’m from Kansas City, MO., I’m all about love and peace and want everyone to get along. It made me feel so much better to know that there are these people (the TLIG followers) out there that want EVERYBODY not just Catholics, not just Roman Catholics, not just Protestants, but EVERYBODY to be in UNITY in Jesus! What the TLIG retreats and what the messages are all about is totally fascinating and compelling and you can just tell that Jesus is in this (TLIG messages). I love it. I’m glad that this came into my life because it’s totally changed me, my relationship with Jesus is closer than it’s ever been. I think I know Jesus more now, than I have ever known (Him).
My name is Chuck Morton, Jesus, through the True Life in God messages says, “spread My message, let My people know, you are the messenger, just plant the seed, and let Me take it from there, let the Holy Spirit will water it from there. True Life in God taught me to love others, love my family, love my friends, you may not LIKE what they do, but you still LOVE everybody. So It’s (the TLIG messages) changed my life. God knows where I would be if I didn’t find the True Life in God messages, but it saved my life and it IS my life, my breath, everything to me. And my family, my friends, my neighbors, I want everybody to know about it but praise God and glorify His Name!
Fr. Rene Laurentin
Fr. Rene Laurentin
Father Rene Laurentin, a well-known theologian, teacher, and great author, having won many awards for his writings. He is a pioneer in the methods of theological investigations, approved by the Vatican II council. He was one of the founders of the Vatican II council. He holds a double doctorate in History and Theology. He is known also for his scientific search for the Truth and authenticity of mystics.
Sure my opinion is positive of Vassula, but I have to be precise, for the Church, the Revelation is The Gospel, The Revelation of Christ. After that, after the Gospel, there are only private revelations, and very difficult to appreciate, and never The Church considered posterior revelation to ascent like a new revelation! It is a free service of the faith, it is the freedom of the Christian to believe or not believe the private revelation. For me, it is very important the discernment of the private revelation because it is the life, the daily life of the Church. And for this reason, I was interested in the messages by Vassula.
When she came to me, by France, the first time, when some person called me saying, “We were converted by this message, our life has changed.” I tried to understand, and when I gave a document to introduce the message of Vassula, it was not a preface. I only gave an interview saying “who was Vassula”. I think, so the little facts I noted, it seemed to me that everyone could understand that she was sincere. That she had a very original experience, she hoped to live with Christ alone. This is very original because very few persons of the world would say that. And if you read the preface in the messages of Vassula, you will find many things like that.
After that, during many years I could follow her, I could see some more special experiences for example, during one year or a little more, it was a Friday, Vassula shared the Passion of Christ, she could live all the Passion of Christ, and she suffered as Christ, terribly, and I was present once to this experience. It would be too many things to explain it all. For me, perhaps the last, not the least thing, is when she was so persecuted, by many persons, some Orthodox in Greece, they said, “she is too Catholic!” and by many Catholics, they said, “She is not Catholic!” and so on. And Vassula was very calm, very peaceful. When you are persecuted, generally, you are not calm. And so calm, after many times, and Vassula she is a woman, she has sensibility, now she lives so much with God, with Christ, she has like an insensibilization, and she said to me, “Fr Laurentin you see, now with all of that, I don’t suffer so much as Christ suffered so much for the salvation of the world, I have also to suffer, what can/will God invent for me to suffer? Because I must suffer!” This seemed very characteristic to me, because in the Catholic Church, in many victim souls, the person will live the Passion of Christ in many manners, and suffering is a terrible thing, a not-understandable thing. And this peace before the suffering, this desire to suffer not by masochism, by the love of suffering, but by the love of God, love of man and of humanity, for me is a great sign of holiness and authenticity.
I was born in California, I was raised in Salt Lake City Utah. Born into a family of active Mormons who’s ancestors had been in the faith for 5 generations. I, myself was an active Mormon, raising my children in that faith. I came across the messages of True Life in God 6 years ago, through a mention in a book about Vassula Ryden. At that time in my life I had been searching for a deeper connection to God, and a greater understanding of Him. The way that God had been presented to me as a child and as a young person, is that He was very conditional. And the love He had for me was more of an impersonal love, He loved me from a distance, more of a lofty sense. And that caused me a lot of grief because I felt that I needed a deeper connection to the Lord. When I came into the True Life in God writings, the first time I read them, it was like a recognition process. I recognized instinctively in the deepest place in my heart, that was the Lord speaking directly to me through those pages. What the messages of True Life in God has shown me, is the tender, intimate, all-encompassing love of God our Father, His Son Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit has for each and every one of us! It is a love that is intimate, passionate, intense, and extremely personal. The knowledge of that has made a HUGE difference in my life. After many years of studying investigation and researching, I chose to be baptized into the Catholic Faith, and now come to Mass joyfully every Sunday to celebrate my connection to My Savior!
What does Christian unity mean to you?
Christian unity is especially meaningful to me because I live in a family where there is more than one religion. My husband is active in the Latter-Day Saint faith, and I now, though I used to be in that faith, am now a Catholic. So, Christian unity is everything to me, because it is what keeps my family united and loving towards each other despite some very significant theological differences. Unity for me is understanding that God sees all of us in a very different light than we see each other. When He (God) considers His Church on Earth, He is not referring to one denomination, He is referring to ALL of His children, who recognize and who love Him either through explicit knowledge of Him, or through the loving nature that they manifest in their lives.
Paul Datta, India
Paul Datta, India
Paul Datta from Kolkata, India
All Glory and praise to Jesus!
I was born in an Indian Hindu family in the city of Kolkata. I never knew about Jesus or visited any Church before. At the age of 18, I decided to go to another state, Maharastra for higher studies. I got admission to an engineering college in a small town known as Kolhapur. My college was in the outskirts as normally all the colleges are. It was in the third year that I suffered from depression within myself and everything was going wayward. As I stayed in a boy’s hostel, everything happened there except God. Somehow through someone I got a TLIG message book, Part IV. I didn’t have a clue what it was all about. It was in 1999.
As I went through the book, all I understood that Someone named Jesus is on the way to His return. As I went on I had a fear deep down in my heart. I was beginning to understand His divinity and realized if He returns now and sees me in this state, it will not be nice for me. That night I felt His powerful presence in my room, and understood that He is my Saviour, and that He loves me. Later on from the messages I learnt that this is called as “The Visitation of The Lord”. I began to look at the picture on the cover of the book and prayed. His Gaze penetrated deep within my soul, and tears rolled down from my eyes. The tears gave me so much relief and joy, that I liked it. The seed has been already planted!
Later what followed, was like a flow of a river. I flowed with the River. I was not able to understand what was happening to me. I understood what is sin and what is not. I got a Bible and started reading. I have read many books before but never ever found a book (TLIG), so divine, so pure and joyful to read. More to come!
During my vacation, I didn’t go home, as usually everyone goes, but went to The Divine Retreat Centre in Kerala. Those ten days over there transformed me completely. I read through the messages, I knew they were written for me. Jesus used Vassula’s hand to write, so that I can read them. Even before I read the instructions, the Holy Spirit inspired me to take Vassula’s name out and put in my name. I wept bitterly for days. I was not able to lift my eyes to the crucified Lord, as looking at the cross gave me so much pain deep within. I felt the suffering of my Jesus. I heard Jesus calling me by the name Paul (I never knew who was Paul in the Bible). I was shaken from within. By then I was totally engulfed by Jesus. His Spirit enveloped me completely. I was able to convey the messages from the Lord to certain persons there. They were surprised of how I knew about their life. The Holy Mother was there during my purification. It took me a single day to learn to say the Rosary and learn the prayers with the help of Our Mother. Jesus, one day, through the messages gave me the Spirit of Unity, and asked me to defend it to the last day. When all of these incidents were going on there was no one who had told me about Jesus or counseled me. All I had was the Rosary, the Bible and the TLIG book. Jesus inspired everything.
In a vision I was assured by Jesus that no opposition was coming from my family and so it was! My earthly mother has been very supportive and helped me a lot.
The best thing that happened to me after knowing Jesus through the messages was the Eucharist. There is so much power and grace that comes out from the Blessed Sacrament! It was because of the Eucharist that I was drawn closer and closer to the Mother Church. When I went back to my home, I surfed the net for more messages and information and about TLIG. The messages taught me many truths about the Church and helped me to penetrate into the Mysteries of God.
I thought that everyone knew about Vassula, but to my utter surprise no one did! In the meantime, I got baptized. And later, I managed to get the rest of the TLIG books.
The amount of graces and blessings I received by reading the messages is enormous and cannot be written down on papers, but can only be felt within. It was out of nowhere that He just picked me up, and revealed His face to me. All I know is that this Love Hymn is true and if these messages cannot change the heart of a person then nothing can. May His Kingdom come! Amen.
Bishop Ramon Cabrera Argüelles
Bishop Ramon Cabrera Argüelles
Bishop Ramon Cabrera Argüelles
To all beloved chaplains and pastoral workers of Filipinos overseas.
Praised be Jesus and Mary!
It is probably one of the signs of our times that many in the lay sector sense a special calling from God to be in the service of the Gospel. Mrs Vassula Rydén, I believe, is one of them. The Church will take long before officially recognizing the authenticity of so-called private revelations. It normally makes no definite judgement while the ‘privileged’ ones still live. Even after declaration of the orthodoxy and effectiveness of so-called divine insight it obliges no one to adhere to them. But the Church acknowledges the contribution people like Vassula does to its evangelization work.
Vassula is not even a Catholic. She was not even a devout member of the Greek Orthodox Church. But sometime in her life, sensing heavenly intervention, she became an intimate believer in Christ and, without being aware of it, started working for Christian Unity. Her movement, ‘True Life in God’, is doing a lot of good to all, most especially, for the renewal of many Christians and the evangelization of those who have never heard of Jesus before.
I do not hesitate to recommend her to you. Please allow her to speak to Filipino migrants about her faith experience. I want our ordinary Filipino folks to be edified by her and become more convinced about their potentialities as Third Millenium evangelizers. Please know that the move to propagate ‘True Life in God’ among migrant Filipinos has my approval and encouragement.
Thanking you for your continued cooperation, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous and grace-filled New Year 2004
Sincerely yours in Jesus and Mary
Bishop Ramon Cabrera Argüelles
December 20, 2003
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI Emeritus, then, Prefect to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith
Vassula in a private meeting with Cardinal Ratzinger shortly before he became Pope. The meeting was the conclusion of the fruitful dialogue that took place
CONGREGATIO PRO DOCTRINA FIDEI
10 July 2004
Prot N. 54/92-19631
As you know, this Congregation published a Notification in 1995 on the writings of Mrs. Vassula Rydén. Afterwards, and at her request, a thorough dialogue followed. At the conclusion of this dialogue, a letter of Mrs. Rydén dated 4 April 2002 was subsequently published in the latest volume of “True Life in God”, in which Mrs. Rydén supplies useful clarifications regarding her marital situation, as well as some difficulties which in the aforesaid Notification were suggested towards her writings and her participation in the sacraments (cf. Attachment).
Since the aforementioned writings have enjoyed a certain diffusion in your country, this Congregation has deemed it useful to inform you of the above. Concerning the participation in the ecumenical prayer groups organised by Mrs. Rydén, the Catholic faithful should be called to follow the dispositions of the Diocesan Bishops.
In communicating to you the above, I use the occasion to assure you of my lasting and profound esteem.
Joseph Card. Ratzinger
To the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of
France, Switzerland, Uruguay, Philippines, Canada
The Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, Theodoros II
The Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, Theodoros II
The Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, Theodoros II, opened the doors of the Patriarchate in Alexandria of Egypt in April of 2008 with a welcoming embrace and gave a moving speech in the Throne Room to officially welcome TLIG and Vassula. Here is what he said:
“From the depths of my heart, I wish to welcome you all officially, here in the Throne Room, where our companion is St. Mark, the Apostle and Evangelist. In the morning, I received you at the monastery of St. Savvas, a humble monastery, which was founded in the 4th century. Today, I greet you officially here, in our Patriarchate, whose history spans 2,000 years from the time of Jesus Christ to the present. Thus, on the one hand, with the exception of the Apostle Paul, we have our history involving the great Apostles, whose successors were the Great Fathers of the Church. That history brings us to present times and, thus, you can see all the Patriarchs that have been appointed to Alexandria on your right and left.
All this is our heritage, the future lies before us: it is for us the entire land of Africa. That is why I want you to know that, before I ascended the steps to the Throne of St. Mark, I was a missionary in Cameroon, the Sudan, Gabon, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana and Angola. As a missionary, therefore, I really got to know Africa: the difficulties that it faces and the enormous poverty issues but, most of all during my journeys, I meet people that are searching – searching for the love of Jesus. That is why, Vassula, I was very moved when you all sang to Jesus Christ a few minutes ago as my thoughts went immediately to all my African children who also raise their hands towards the heavens and sing in thousands of languages about Christ; the love of Christ that we so desperately need. I am planning shortly to make a long journey to Ghana, having recently returned from Madagascar.
And now, I would like to welcome you all from the bottom of my heart, especially you, Vassula, as I said in church this morning, welcome to your homeland, welcome to the country of your birth, and greetings to all who accompany you. As they say here, Vassula, “Anyone who drinks from the waters of the Nile never forgets this country.”
I would also like to greet the Bishop from India – welcome dear brother to our Apostolic Patriarchate. I wish to welcome the monk, you, Sister, you, Father and you, Father from the Roman Catholic Church and tell you all that with much love we receive you, we love you and that we are under the same protection and love of our Great Lord, Jesus Christ.
Vassula, I would like to thank you for this opportunity, to be together over the next few days. This evening, we will follow together the Passion of Our Lord. Tomorrow, we shall worship before His Epitaph and we shall live, in our devoutly beating hearts, His Passion and His Resurrection. And that joy – that is my wish – that the joy of the Resurrection and the Light may be with us always all the days of our lives. In the name of Jesus Christ I wish to bless you all and your families and please know that Alexandria’s and the Patriarchate’s doors will always be open to you. Thank you”
TLIG Participates in Greek Orthodox Easter Alexandria, Egypt – April 2008
My name is Iuliana, I am 29 years old and I’m from Romania. I would like to share with you my testimony, the way God changed my life through The Messages.
I was raised in an orthodox family. My parents raised me to be a good Christian. My dad had many problems in his life and his only hope and comfort was The Lord. He sought after God for 30+ years, reading a lot and visiting different churches, to discern which one is the ‘good’ one.
I remember praying since I was a little girl, but throughout the years, my prayers became lip-service and I thought I had a very good relationship with God, when in fact I was a hypocrite. I was saying that I was a Christian, yet I was sinning a lot. I was selfish, cold, perverted, numb to other’s sufferings. Only now I realize how God must have been near me when I was ignoring Him. I wish I would’ve come near Him sooner.
During my school years, most of my time was spent studying, and I lost my relationship with my parents. I was mad at dad and I did not talk to him for 10 years, besides ‘hello’ and him trying to impose on me his faith.
In 2011 something weird happened. I started to have anxiety, depression and a whole list of other symptoms. The scariest part was that the doctors didn’t know what I had,because my symptoms were so strange. I tried to go to the psychotherapist, but problems were still persisting, because I didn’t have God in my heart.
Now about The Messages. Somewhere between 2014-2015, dad, being fed up with the Orthodox Church, wanted to go to the Protestants. Before he made his decision though, he asked God: “Please, Lord, send me a prophet of Yours that talks to You nowadays”. God immediately made him discover dear Vassula on the internet. So God stopped dad in time before he lost his way and made him understand unity.
He tried to convince me and mom that the Messages were true but I simply thought he was crazy and that he should not read something like that, lest he gets tricked by ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’.
One day, I was tired of this ‘Messages talk’. I said ‘let me go on the internet and find proof that Vassula is a liar and to prove once and for all to dad that he’s wrong and is being mislead’. To my surprise, all the articles against Vassula seemed ridiculous and I didn’t believe them. So, driven by curiosity (and of course, God), I started to try to read the Messages and at first I felt joy. My impurity was at work though, because I found the way Jesus spoke to Vassula and their relationship to be so inappropriate, that I put the Messages away for a while. I read them on and off.
I reached a dark point in 2017 when I thought about suicide. But God never gave up on me. Immediately He put His Words in my mind: if I commit suicide, I’ll betray the Lord, because the most amazing gift that He gave us is life. My dark thoughts stopped at that moment. After a month or so, part of my gastritis was healed by the Lord and I was off medication, after 7 years.
Still, my psychological disorder progressed and my anger towards the Lord persisted because I thought He punished me.
In 2018, God converted me to a true life in Him. For a couple of weeks, He made me feel His presence and He made me think about all the sins I‘ve done, when I thought I didn’t have many. I became very close to Jesus. I went to confession after a long time. I started going to church, and dad brought me to the Catholic Church too, because God showed us in the Messages that we have to be one flock. I started feeling compassionate about others, I started acknowledging and praying to Our Lady, I felt like my personality changed. Last but not least, God repaired my broken relationship with my dad in a matter of minutes. Our family was one again. I felt that somehow, the Messages are alive. It’s like every time you read them ,something in your soul or life changes. Probably that’s why they say that The Word of God is alive.
Fast forward to present day, since 2018 the Lord performed other miracles: after my first general Confession and receiving Holy Communion, my depression disappeared and after a while, anxieties started to vanish one by one. Plus, one of the most precious things He taught me (besides loving Him,of course) is how to suffer and the incredible importance of suffering. I was ALWAYS mad at Him for having ‘taken’ my life away from me when in fact, He gave me my life back, a true life in Him. To this day, although my psychological disorders diminished, my bodily illness is still there and He gives me incredible strength, support and love to be able to carry the Cross further. I still have a ton of things to learn, I rebel against my Cross sometimes, but He is always there for me, teaching me- we, us?
For anyone reading this who is suffering from psychological disorders or any suffering, know this- turn to God, go to a general, truthful Confession (my Confessions of before didn’t help me much because I was superficial) and then every month, like the Lord advises, receive Him as often as possible and turn all your life to Him. He will become your best Friend and your everything. Know that your suffering, when offered to the Lord, becomes priceless. And for anyone who doubts these Messages, pray to the Lord from the bottom of your heart for discernment and He will show you the truth.
All Glory be to God and His Blessed Mother and may Vassula and all who work with her be blessed!
I would like to share with you, what I would call: the beginning of a conversion of heart.
A little about me. I am a life-long Catholic, and although I attended Church regularly all my life, in the past few years I was slowly drifting away in my relationship with Jesus. Basically, I never lost my faith, but I stopped placing God as first in my life, and so I drifted further and further away from God and His ways.
So last year, at a very low point in my life, I stumbled upon the True Life in God messages. (of course, now I believe all this was by the grace of God). After, what I believe was my “Day of Purification”, I was slowly able to understand the messages as being completely non-sensational and all-spiritual.
After my purification, I started to recall some moments/situations from my past and felt strong remorse for them, even things that happened maybe over a decade ago or even longer, things I would never have thought before to be actual sins, but I felt strong remorse for them. Soon after this, I felt a strong urge to go to confession, and so I did.
Ever since this occurrence, I have had a very strong thirst for the Word of God, and for the TLIG messages themselves, a thirst that seems unquenchable. I have already read the TLIG messages a few times, completely through, and now I am reading the Bible completely from beginning to end. The TLIG messages do satisfy this thirst the most, but I feel that even if I would read them 10 times it would not be enough.
My life has not changed, exteriorly speaking, although my passions of the past, about earthly/carnal things, are emphatically, much diminished. I attend Mass, as always, every Sunday, but now I partake in the Eucharist at every Mass, rather than for only a few weeks after Easter or Christmas, as I always use to do. In addition, I now feel more willing to go to confession, I do so every month, instead of being reluctant and going just twice a year, as I did before. I now pray the rosary daily, which I never did before. I also am learning to pray ceaselessly, and have recently started to evangelize around my community by sharing with others the TLIG Messages. And although I do still sin, I now seem to be more aware of my sins, and I’m also sincerely trying my best, in every moment, to follow God’s commandments of love.
Arlene Angela Roncal
Arlene Angela Roncal
I was a pretty well-known gal in my school years, consciously and unconsciously denying God. As a child though, I was ‘close’ to the Lord. Things flipped over though as I grew.
In my late teenage years I felt like I’ve reached the “peak” not career-wise but in terms of my “existence” (well so I thought), if you know what I mean. And like I said I denied God to the point that I considered myself an anti-Christ. I was never religious. I dread religious things; I didn’t care about it, literally. It’s obnoxious.
During that time I’ve no clue as to what was happening to me (I know something’s off but I’m not completely aware) and like what Vassula says, “God had a plan”, for me, not very pretty.
In 2008, something happened to me. My life at that time was in ‘turmoil’ already but one afternoon in 2008 (April or May) something worse happened that I cannot describe. But now, I can describe it that in that ‘moment’ it was like heaven’s doors closed and I was left like a wandering zombie. Since, every day was a routine of being like a “drunk” person no idea what’s happening. It’s actually hard to describe simply what happened, but I know ‘something’ supernatural happened.
I just know something happened but I wasn’t aware, no clue. I looked for answers, went to psychologists, healers, astrologers, and even a tarot reader. But I never thought of God. He was the last thing on my mind; He never even crossed my mind. I was lost, and then came 2010, another event that turned my world upside down. I dreamt of hell:
The whole surrounding was of reddish/maroonish color it was like a village and I was sitting at the back of a car, beside me someone was praying the rosary. We were looking for a way out to wherever we were and then suddenly a very very huge wall blocked our way, we made a turn but another very huge wall blocked our way. I saw in my peripheral vision a gate that opened, and a very long corridor that was filled with darkness, pitch black. I got curious, so I tilted my head very little to see what it was, then, the darkness consumed and ate me then I woke up. I was so scared as I woke up that I thought I was going to hell and I thought I committed the unpardonable sin. I even saw shadows and got scratches during those days. I went to an exorcist but was told to go to a psychiatrist first. Then I was scared to death, BUT that’s when I realized, if there’s a devil then God is real!
(I just want to add what the Lord said in the messages: “I always manifested Myself whenever My creation needed My help, or whenever they fell very low going as close as possible at Satan’s gates;”)
Still, though, I was convinced I committed the unpardonable sin and that I was going to hell. I couldn’t function so much so that I even filed a leave of absence from my school. I talked and sought a LOT of priests for consolation but nothing helped. And then, I went to my parent’s office and saw a book lying with other books on the floor, titled, “Totoong Buhay Sa Diyos” (Filipino version of “True Life in God”). I read it, and since I was desperate to look for help I went to their office (the TLIG office) and sought their advice too and that is when I started attending the prayer meetings, but still, I wasn’t convinced that I’m forgiven.
As I attended the prayer meetings, I met Cecilia Lutz and was made known that she is a good friend of Vassula Ryden. When I learned they are going to meet on a pilgrimage I asked her to pass my letter to Vassula asking for some advice… Oh, the consolation when Vassula replied and told me I did not commit the unpardonable sin but it did not end there because I got bombarded by my worries again. I still couldn’t function properly but somehow I was able to go back to school and survive.
And then here comes 2012. I met someone, everything began then…
So, I attended a prayer meeting of TLIG Philippines. I heard the priest share that some members of TLIG open a TLIG book (randomly) to look for answers, anyway, as the meeting was ongoing I was looking at a big picture of Jesus outside the door hanging on a tree, it was being blown by the wind and I was just seriously looking straight at his face for quite a minute, then just turned around. When I got home I also tried opening a TLIG book (randomly) since I’ve completed the books by that time. And then it said, “Smile at Me when you look at Me, blessed are the simple in hearts for they shall see God.”
Ever since I’ve been in communication with Him (Jesus) it’s not the same as Vassula’s but I talk to Him randomly through the website now or the books and He answers whatever I have in mind but sometimes, not. He said that this is also his gift for me. I even asked Him, are you really speaking to me? And he said, “I have indeed opened my mouth and spoken”.
P.S: after typing “smile at Me when you look at Me” I clicked random on the website and it said “A Smile At My Holy Face And I Shall Forgive And Forget”.
Arlene Angela Roncal
On the TLIG writings and their Ecclesiastical Approval
Dear True Life in God Readers,
It was recently brought to my attention that a website which is not in receipt of any endorsement, support or authorization of the Church, and is run by an anonymous non-theologian, has posted numerous false statements against the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and the True Life in God messages of Mrs. Vassula Rydén.”1
To obtain clarity on this matter, I contacted His Excellency Bishop Toppo who, on April 25, 2018, provided me with the following answers that once and for all expose the falsehoods posted on said unauthorized website.
Bishop Toppo’s answers are of great service to Christians around the world who continue to receive spiritual teachings and nourishment from the TLIG messages.
+ Rev. J.L. Iannuzzi, STD
April 26, 2018
Written Interview with His Excellency Bishop Felix Toppo, S.J., D.D.
Fr. Joseph: Your Excellency, on the unauthorized website2 there is the public statement that affirms as follows,
“The nihil obstat and imprimatur were not sought in accordance with Canon Law dispositions. Although Vassula never resided in the Philippines nor was the TLIG One volume of messages published there, the imprimatur was granted by a bishop of that country (Archbishop Argüelles of Lipa). Canon 824 §1 states that the permission or approval to publish should be granted by the local ordinary (= bishop) of the author or of the publisher.”
Obviously this statement is false, as Canon 824 §13 clearly states that “the ordinary of the place where the books are published” is vested with the authority to grant the Imprimatur to a work that is circulated in his diocese even though the author does not live in his diocese.
Bishop Toppo: “I thank you very much for pointing out the false criticisms against Archbishop Arguelles of Lipa and Me (http://www.pseudomystica.info/tlignihilobstat.htm) with regard to Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat given by us to the TRUE LIFE IN GOD.
In response to the false criticisms against us I would like to say that Archbishop Arguelles of Lipa in giving the Imprimatur to the TLIG book did not go against Canon Law as it grants permission to any Bishop to give the Imprimatur for a book that is circulated in his diocese, even though the author does not live in his diocese.”
Fr. Joseph: Thank you for your response. May I ask you to address also the following assertion on the aforesaid website,
“Canon 830 §2 warns the censor that any favoritism should be laid aside, and only the doctrine of the Church as proposed by the Magisterium should be considered. This canon was blatantly ignored… Bishop Toppo of India is a regular participant at the TLIG pilgrimages and has declared that he believes the messages to be of supernatural origin.”
Bishop Toppo: “It is alleged that I, Bishop Toppo, S.J., showed favouritism in giving Nihil Obstat. It is absolutely false. I did not show any favouritism, nor can the contrary be demonstrated. It is to be noted that the CDF never condemned the TLIG writings but rather petitioned clarifications which were then accepted by Rome.
Before I gave the Nihil Obstat to the TLIG messages, I read many times and meditated upon them. The Nihil Obstat is the result of unbiased and uncoerced theological review of the TLIG writings. I found that the Messages were immune of all theological errors. I am a regular participant of the TLIG pilgrimages. The Canon Law does not forbid any bishop from attending retreats or conferences of those individuals whose writings they consider immune from error.”
Fr. Joseph: Lastly, Your Excellency, would you be so kind as to provide for the True Life in God readers a response to the below posting on said website, as it falsely suggests that a canonical advisor overrides your episcopal authority to pronounce matters of Church doctrine,
“Bishop Toppo told in an interview, that before giving the nihil obstat to Vassula’s books, he previously asked the opinion of a famous Canon Law expert, who clearly told him that according to Canon Law, he could not give the nihil obstat.”
Bishop Toppo: “It is alleged that before giving the Nihil Obstat to Vassula’s book, I said in an interview that I had asked for the opinion of a famous Canon Law expert who clearly had told me that I could not give Nihil Obstat. After a bishop has consulted with others for advice, he retains his authority to grant the Nihil Obstat. Some assert the opposite, but this is absolutely false. After I consulted with a canon lawyer and a renowned theologian who offered their respective advice, I then brought the matter to prayer before the Eucharist. I did not find anything in Vassula’s book that is contrary to the teachings of the Church, but found that it contains much good for the universal Church, that is, for all the baptized in Christ. It was after advice, prayer and discernment that I granted my Nihil Obstat.
Rev. Joseph Iannuzzi, thank you for your suggestions and support! Hope this will be useful to the TLIG readers!”
+Felix Toppo, S.J.
Bishop of Jamshedpur
Prof. Todor Sabev
Prof. Todor Sabev
Theologian, Church historian and former Deputy General Secretary of the World Council of Churches.
In His divine plan for the salvation of humankind, God, throughout history has been sending His messengers as prophets and apostles, teachers and guardians to lead all nations into the right path, to nourish faith, sustain peace and protect unity.
Nowadays, the prophecies of Isaiah (44:3) and Joel (2:28): “I will pour my Spirit upon your descendants”; “your sons and your daughters shall prophesy (and) shall see visions” come true in a variety of charisms. Gifts of grace are being bestowed on women and men for the enhancement of Christian life, worship and service to the glory of God.
Such a spiritual gift (charisma) has been granted to Mrs. Vassula Ryden for the fulfillment of a particular vocation. ‘From the depths of her obscurity,” Vassula has seen the Light. The Lord has touched her heart to cleanse and heal it. Since then, she is “seeing Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary interiorly” and “has been enabled to hear their Messages.” This unique experience of visions is testified in 70 notebooks published in seven volumes. The Messages that Vassula is receiving are written by herself but dictated “from on high.” Her human handwriting is completely transformed.
The Messages are God’s gifts of spiritual healing, love and mercy “directed to all.” Vassula was called to become an ardent witness of Christ, carrying His Cross “to the four corners” of the secularized world. Together with many other disciples, she has to be an instrument of divine providence, an echo of God’s Word, compassion, reconciliation and peace.
The Messages are not a new revelation but a reminder of the Gospel of Christ. The basic task of Vassula is sharing of the Good News through proclamation in communities and assemblies of prayer and meditation, diffusion of the Writings by publication, and “drawing souls to Jesus Christ.”
The surprising nature of this calling has raised questions and bewilderment for Vassula herself, as well as for friends and listeners. Some of the wonders will still accompany readers of True Life in God. Nevertheless, we are aware of the fact that many expressions of mysticism have encountered different assessments and attitudes within one’s Christian tradition. During the whole period of marxist militant atheism, imposed by state authorities in my country, Bulgaria, a woman with great gifts as a seer kept telling both native and foreign people secrets of their past, present and future. Her faith and prophetic voice have shaken atheistic conceptions and changed the lifestyle of tens of thousands. Bishops, priests and theologians have personally experienced and individually recognized the gifts of that woman. But it was not in the tradition of the Church to make an authoritative pronouncement on this phenomenon.
Several years ago, I was so much impressed by the story of the apparition of the Virgin Mary, which three of my very dear Protestant friends had seen simultaneously “without considering however this event an extraordinary spiritual experience” because this was not part of their church’s tradition!
“We walk by faith (2 Cor. 5:7)” and “by faith understand…” (Fleb. 11:3f). Distinguishing between the Spirit of God and other spirits is a delicate Christian duty. Discernment is also a gift of the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Cor. 12: 10-1 1; I jn.4: 1). The main criterion for testing the spirits is the faith in Christ as Incarnate Son of God and our Saviour (1 jn. 4:2f).
Basically, the content of the Messages in ‘True Life in God’ is in harmony with the Holy Scriptures and with the tradition of the Church. They are being distributed, read and meditated within the Church, aiming at a revival of Christian faith, renewal and unity. References are often made to the Bible as source of truth, knowledge and wisdom. The doxological part of the Messages is biblicallybased. Very dear to Orthodox spirituality are the numerous prayers, the urgent call to conversion and repentance, fast and a holy life. In the centre of Vassula’s vision are placed also many other fundamental truths, values and teachings of the Church. Prayer, humility, charity, generosity, peace, reconciliation and mutual love in Christ’s name are continuously underscored in all notebooks. God’s abundant grace and tenderness are often presented in the context of concern and care for the groaning creation, a warning about sin corrupting humanity, and a call to awakening for “the battle against Satan and his followers.” Thus one can feel the “prophetic tone” and the appeal to all Christians.
Remember the Beatitudes! Follow the Ten Commandments! Now is the time of repentance! “Live as though it is your last day on earth.” “Have you reconciled with your brothers and sisters?” “Share My Cross.” “Search for justice and help the oppressed.” “Wealth is to be converted.” “Evangelize with love, for love.” Your era of little faith is dead. “Do not accept Satan’s fruits which are … disunity and impurity.” Be vigilant and prepared for “the last days,” because the Lord is “on the Path of Return.”
And again we hear the Message of hope and Iife: “Shake off the dust that covers you and rise from the dead.” “The Holy Eucharist will keep you alive.” The “time of tribulations” shall be followed “by a new era of love and peace.” “My Kingdom is at your very doors.” God wants everyone to be saved (cf. Rm. 10:12-13).
The Messages are a hymn of God’s love which is “like a fountain, a well of living waters.” Love is “the Root of the Tree of Life” and of all virtues. Therefore, “sow the seeds of love in all directions.” “Judge nobody, and repay evil with love.” The Source of love is the Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life. He guides us “into all truths,” transforming the darkness into Light. He uplifts and purifies our hearts, sanctifies us through the Sacraments, drives out ill spirits and brings renewal to the Church. The Holy Spirit creates community in which love rules. He gratifies the poor and the humble people of God.
One of the strongest elements in Vassula Ryden’s visions is the gravity of the divisions between the churches, the urgency of the work for unity of the Church, and the importance of the ecumenical movement.
The sin of division and wounds in the Body of Christ are so often due to lack of fidelity, humility and mutual love. “Rivalry and competition for earthly power,” egoism and pride cannot bring about unity. Those who endeavor to gather together the scattered sheep of Christ “should lower their voices” in order to hear the voice of the Lord; they should “bow down their heads” for blessing by the Head of the Church – Jesus Christ. Then He shall lift all and draw them to Himself. “Blessed are those who do not differentiate themselves” under Christ’s Holy Name. “Pray for the World Council of Churches” and for the world-wide ecumenical movement. Let us always remember that “the keys to unity are love and humility.”
The real unity is and will be in the heart, not “of the letter but of the spirit.” It is a gift of God, but requires also human commitment and effort: “where there is division give peace and love, where there is confusion ask for Light.” “Unity shall come upon you like Dawn … It shall come from God, and your nations shall name it the Great Miracle, the Blessed Day … In this day all Heaven shall … rejoice.” “Behold, what joy I will have when around One Altar you will gather … and praise Me; acknowledging your mistake, repenting for your rebellion and remembering My love for you.” God’s plan is “to unite all nations, from East to West, from North to South.”
In several Messages a great desire is expressed for a simultaneous celebration of Easter – “the Feast of Feasts,” and the “Triumph of Triumphs.” May this become a new impetus for bringing back such a tremendous issue on the ecumenical agenda. Actually it comes from the heart of the decision made by the first Ecumenical Council (325) to strengthen unity and inspire common witness.
While many Orthodox rejoice at Vassula’s gift and appreciate the texts referred to, they are prudent about accepting all points and details. I personally still struggle with some of the questions which had troubled me before. But cannot we find relief in the understanding that the Messages come to us also through the limited human nature, and are perceived according to our own spiritual capacity? The reading of Vassula’s Writings requires a mystical soul, prayer for “knowledge and all discemment” (Phil. 1:9), seeking for truth in the power of love and resisting any easy judgment.
The gifts of the Spirit should be spiritually distinguished (1 Cor. 12:10). Let us measure the value of the tree by its fruits (Nlt. 3:10; 7:16f). The great quality of the numerous fruits of ‘True Life in God’ has been acknowledged by many people. The Messages have deepened spiritual life, strengthened Christian faith and opened the sight of a certain number of non-believers. And we have yet to see the fulfillment of God’s promises: “I the Lord, will multiply the visions … (and) will pour the Holy Spirit without reserve on all humankind. ” You will grow like grass in the areas where there is plenty of water.”
Let us give thanks to God for all charismata.
Kindle our hearts with the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Give us the Spirit of wisdom and faith,
of daring and of patience,
of humility and of firmness,
of love and of repentance.
Geneva, Easter 1994
Reverend Sverker Trônet
Reverend Sverker Trônet
(from a Protestant point of view)
This talk was given to the international gathering of True Life in God in Jerusalem, May 1998
I have been asked to speak from a Protestant point of view about the Unity of the Church and Our Lady. First I must say something about being a Protestant or Lutheran.
The Church of Sweden as a whole was severed from the Church of Rome and the Pope during the Reformation in the sixteenth century. It was the king who wanted to be the sole ruler of his country and he did not want any interference from abroad, that is from the Pope and the bishops who really had a good deal also of worldly power.
The teachings of Martin Luther suited the king’s purposes very well. The king took the place of the Pope. From Germany, the mainland of the reformation, was imported the most important of the reformation confessions – the Augsburg Confession, which was critical of abuses in the late medieval Church but was otherwise very traditional, with no intention of teaching anything new, but only being a witness to the faith of the one, holy, catholic (also Roman) and apostolic Church. The Augsburg Confession is today considered, by the official Catholic and Lutheran Ecumenical Commission, to have a catholic intention and an ecumenical will.
There certainly was a great change of the Church in Sweden and for the faithful in the reformation time, but there was also a certain continuity. Some priests and bishops left the country, but some stayed and saved what could be saved.
After the turmoil of the reformation there was just one Church in Sweden. There still were bishops and priests, who by now could be married. The Mass was celebrated, but it was in Swedish instead of Latin and the people could now communicate also from the chalice. Mary and the saints soon disappeared. And so did the monasteries, often by violence. The Bible was translated and there was catechetical work in the schools. For three hundred years there was no alternative. Being a Swede meant being a Lutheran.
Today, despite a radical secularisation, most Swedes belong to the Church which is no longer governed by the king but by democratically voted politicians and their parties. I cannot call myself a Protestant or a Lutheran, but I belong to the Church of Sweden.
I don’t think the reformation in Sweden, from a religious point of view, could be justified or was necessary or for the good of the Church, but I can see some good things in it, despite the undisputedly bad things, and also what these good things came to mean for the future.
The Bible, read within the horizon of the old tradition and the Augsburg Confession, was kept as the first and last authority for the faith. This is what preserved the Church in Sweden as a fairly orthodox Christian Church, despite its severance from Rome. But you can imagine what happens today when the Bible, at least in practice, is no longer an authority and if it is taken notice of at all, it is interpreted according to the opinions of the day.
In the example of the Church of Sweden you can see, both positively and negatively, the vital necessity of the unity of the Church, both in space and time, being in communion with all the other local Churches all over the world, in the bishops unity with the Bishop of Rome, but also being in communion with the saints of all times, which means an active remembrance of the tradition. When a Church both has lost its memory and is cut away from the universal Church it is exposed to the pressure of the world and modern secular opinion without the God-given defence and corrective. I believe only the reunion with Rome could save and preserve the Church of Sweden as a Christian Church.
This is said as an example. Now something more general about Christian Unity. There certainly are many things that keep all Christians together, also from different denominations. We believe in and pray to the same triune God. We believe in the incarnation of God the Son. We all believe in the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are baptized with the same baptism, Even if all Christians can’t go to communion together we believe that we receive and are joined to the one and same body of Christ in the different churches. With slight variations we share the same beliefs. Isn’t that enough? Our Lord prays to the Father, in his priestly prayer in St. John’s seventeenth chapter and says: “May they all be one … so that the world may believe it was You who sent me.”(v.21)
The unity that Jesus prays for is not only a spiritual unity, but a visible unity in this visible world, “that the world may believe”. The Church certainly is an instrument in God’s hands for the salvation of the world. It is God’s Church. He has made it according to his plan and for his purposes. That the Church should be one and visibly one is certainly part of the founder’s will and intention. The visible unity belongs to the nature of the Church and is very important – a top priority. Visible unity demands a visible center of unity. For the local community there is the parish priest. For the diocese the bishop. For the patriarchate there is the patriarch. And for the whole fold, for the universal Church, there is the Pope.
That there should be a pope is part of Christ’s plans for his Church. This is not what was in dispute from the beginning by the reformers, only the misuse of the papal power. That there is and should be a petrine primacy is clear from the gospels. And as certain as there is an apostolical succession from the apostles to the bishops, there is a petrine succession from St. Peter to his followers on the apostolic throne in the Church of Rome.
Can a Protestant really say so? There are liberals who wouldn’t, because they would say the papacy is part of a patriarcalistic structure. There are others who would reiterate the confessional formulas from the sixteenth century and would eventually say the pope is the antichrist. But if by ‘Protestant’ you mean a person who wants to be true to the Bible, read with the glasses of the old orthodox and catholic tradition, a Protestant certainly could say that the papacy is instituted by Christ.
In the papal encyclical letter from 1995, “Ut Unum Sint”, John Paul II asks the non-Roman Catholic Church leaders to consider with him the forms in which the Petrine Primacy could best serve its mission, “that they all may be one … so that the world may believe ..” With regard to the Church of Sweden and the Anglican Churches this invitation should have been very interesting three years earlier, but in 1995 there had already happened things in these churches that made dialogue seem impossible.
The ecumenical dialogue between The Church of Sweden and Rome was for some years, between 1989 and 1993 very promising. The Swedish archbishop declared from the high altar in St. Peter’s in the presence of John Paul II: “The moment has come to declare that the denunciations from the time of the reformation are no longer valid.” The Pope visited Sweden and Cardinal Cassidy the head of the Papal secretariat of Christian Unity wanted an examination of and a dialogue about the apostolic succession in the Churches of Finland and Sweden, to see what was needed for a full recognition.
In the question of the important reformation doctrine of “Justification by faith” a consensus has been reached between Rome and the Lutherans. A dialogue at least as promising was also going on between Rome and the Church of England. But in both cases it came to an end because of new divisive developments. John Paul II declared at Pentecost 1994 that the Church has no right whatsoever to ordain women for the priesthood and that this decision is definitive for all the faithful in the Church. Only four and a half months later the Bishops and other leaders in the Church of Sweden declared that “You cannot be ordained to the priesthood unless you acknowledge women as priests.”
The Lutheran World Federation declared that they would not be without or sacrifice women priests for the sake of unity. After this, two women have been made bishops in Sweden and more women than men are ordained and on their way to ordination. There is also a very vocal feministic theology, which makes new interpretations of the faith and also, of morals. This development has made a total relativism necessary. You cannot criticize and say that it is not according to the Bible. They will answer: It is just pictures and symbols and anything will do. You could just as well say that God is our mother as our father.
This development (in Sweden and England and also in other countries) has made divisions within the Churches of Sweden and England seem necessary and groups are now trying to find their way. The eyes are of course on Rome. The situation is felt to be so serious for the Church of Sweden that many people ask whether it will survive at all. My personal feeling is that only being with the Church which Christ has built on Peter could save us from being transformed into something else than a Christian Church or from annihilation. Only a Church in communion with Peter could rightly put its trust in the promise of Christ: “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it” (Mt,16:18)
Our Holy Mother Mary is together with the Pope, by the typical Protestant, considered to be what is typically Catholic, and therefore to be shunned. The Pope was by one blow of the sword severed from the Church in Sweden. Mary probably remained in the hearts of the faithful of the first reformation-generation. That was a thing the king couldn’t do anything about. But as the Rosary was forbidden and most of the Marian statues were removed, neither was there any place for our lady in the Protestant Swedish hearts. You can only speculate about what this has meant. To live without the Mother Our Lord has given to his Church.
Typically enough in liberal Protestantism Jesus is not Immanuel, that is God with man, but he is man with God and that is what Mary in reality is. To live without Mary as mother and ideal has made Protestant Christianity more of a teaching to understand, than a life to live. The Church in the reformation became more of a school than a place for prayer and adoration. At the same time it must be said that Mar