Echo of the Gospel
Rev. Ljudevit Rupčić OFM
Theologian, Professor of Exegesis, Author
Every day Vassula Ryden has a new experience of the divine; she continues to spread her prophetic message in today’ world which is increasingly more remote from God, remote from the foundation on which it is established, risking its very existence. Vassula is a true prophet of our times. On the one hand, she deals with the problems and the needs of our times; on the other hand, she seeks new prospects from God, to come finally enriched from her difficulties and fin in Him harmony, peace, and fullness. Her message is imbued with the Gospel. Its special feature consists only in the way of transmitting it to us; besides, Vassula offers to the old and new problems of our world nothing but the everlasting Gospel.
Vassula is, like all other prophets, convinced of the truthfulness of her message and the authenticity of her mission. She knows her own weakness but she resolutely keeps to her commitment to diffuse the messages to others. She finds God’ help in continuous prayer and in the Eucharist. Persevering in her will and desires, she strives to be entirely united with God. She is conscious of the urgency to diffuse the message because time is running out and an inescapable great chastisement is looming; it can be avoided only if we come back to God, and accept Him again.
Vassula’ experience with God is a lasting and inexhaustible spring of wisdom, love enthusiasm for God and the salvation of the world. For that reason the testimony is convincing, joyful, and stimulating. Besides conversion and a call that humankind should answer love with love, there is also concern for church unity. “Love loves you” (3/7/92) means that, in Vassula’ talks and union with God, each one of us can and is allowed to, put himself or herself in Vassula’ place. God loves everyone in that way. Everywhere in here writings we feel the Breath of Love. Grace flows everywhere; the Holy Spirit is everywhere at work, giving profusely. Everywhere one hears to Lord’ steps.
Vassula’ writings are an echo of the Gospel. The One who speaks is, indeed, the very Word of God. Most readers and listeners recognise in His words the voice of God (14/7/92). Vassula does not tell anything basically new that God would not have already told, but Gods Word is brought up to date through her mouth, giving prominence to priorities and needed emphasis. In this way the Word is actualised, serious, convincing, a testimony.
The question, “Why repeat what has already been said?” means that one does not know the needs of humankind, who have the right to hear God’ Word in an understandable, updated way. Besides this, there is the obligation to become a messenger of the Word, which gives testimony within human experience. Due to the forgetfulness of men and women, one too easily overlooks the forthcoming disaster and the immediacy of the catastrophe to which mankind is exposed; it is necessary to take it out of this indifference so as to allow grace to flow continuously and to foster conversion.
Despite the objective authenticity of Vassula’ testimony, people, here and there, raise objections to its truth. Though they are not sufficient to call the testimony in question, the reasons are both of an objective and subjective nature. Reservations arise mainly from a narrow and fragmentary view of the mystery of race, especially when grace is poured out gratuitously, grace whereby God makes the human person a partner in this life and of his works. All these objections amount to human notions and language because they come from a limited human experience, unable by its limitations to accept the Mystery of God. Hence man questions the Word of God and refuses to accept God. For the sceptic the Word of God is always too difficult, even “scandalous”, and consequently taken as untrue. The initial assumption of the human mind should be to accept the fact that things which cannot be perceived do exist, and to this one should remain open. It is only in openness to God’ grace that human beings can attain a sure, valuable and adequate knowledge of the mystery.
Criticism arises from the fact that Vassula’ experiences and testimonies are not in harmony with the ignorance and prejudice of those who are prisoners of their own imagination. Vassula’ testimonies are witness against the false understanding of those who disparage her, not against the Gospel or the faith. In no way is she against the God of the Bible, or against faith in him. Those who disparage her are really seeing one opposed to their own way of imagining God whom they assume generally to be One seated on his Throne, far from humankind. For Vassula, human existence is capable of receiving God’ love, his grace and his omnipotence. This “scandalous” view is, in reality, a rediscovery of God. It is a baseless charge to represent Vassula as a supporter of “New Age”. It is as illogical as mixing fire and water. Such criticism merely shows that the critics do not know either Vassula or “New Age”.
On the other hand, one should reflect on where Vassula’ message would lead if it were put into practice. If people faced the reality of love in God an din men, they would be led to love God and one another. If people answered the request for prayer, the message would spread throughout the world the note of thankfulness ot God. If one accepted that there must be unity between the Christian Churches, already there would be a hope of the fulfilment of Jesus’ promise – “one fold and one Shepherd”. (Jn. 10:16). If people accepted God the way Vassula recommends, He would already be “everything in everyone” (1 Cor. 15:28). If people took seriously Vassula’ warning about Satan, the latter would already be banished from men’ hearts and form the world. If people would heed Vassula’ call to conversion, all men and women would be sains already. If everyone shared in Vassula’ experiences, the personal history of each one, and consequently the history of all humankind, would be a Song of Love.
All this is completely in the radical style of the Gospel. On this assumption there are no grounds for separating Vassula’ experiences with God from the Gospel, still less for opposing them. Vassula’ messages presuppose an aptitude in human nature for dialogue. Individual believers, those especially who are rich in the Spirit, have the right to evaluate the case of Vassula, not setting themselves up independently of the Church. In this way they can support the Church’ judgement efficaciously. The final judgement remains with the Church, which has its guarantee in god and His confirmation in the “sensus fidelium”, of which the Spirit of Truth is the author and the witness to veracity.
All the evidence before us so far shows that every day Vassula’ testimony is taken more seriously and is more fully accepted. This simultaneously facilitates and accelerates the final judgement of the entire Church, which judgement will, without doubt, take as a criteria, the many good fruits of Vassula’ message.