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Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Vassula Ryden - First Part

Opinion on Vassula Ryden 

Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo

Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo is considered by many the most important and experienced exorcist living today. He is known by many Italians and often appears on Italian television. He is the author of over 15 books, but the most well known in the English language is "Fighting Satan" and, so far, 10 books about him have appeared in different languages. In September 1998, Archbishop Milingo spoke at a conference in Cattolica, Italy along with Vassula and Fr. Rene Laurentin. During an interview of the 14th February '98 with his eminence on the topic of Christian Exorcism I took the opportunity to ask his opinion on True Life in God and Vassula Rydén. This is his answer: "Well, what I have read and what people have told me, what for example René Laurentin has written, I have found very positive. I think we should rely much more on Father Laurentin, because he goes very close to every visionary. He has said many good things about Vassula. I think the aim she has, the message for unity, is really very, very important, not only in the different regions of the Christian movement, but even within the churches themselves. There is a big need for unity."


Cardinal Ratzinger

Much has been said about the Notification concerning Vassula, yet Cardinal Ratzinger, the Prefect of the Congregation which issued that document, stated after its issue: "You may continue to promote her writings". The following comes from members of a prayer group in Guadalajara, Mexico who have been powerfully touched since 1992 by the messages of True Life in God and since then have been active in promoting the translating, printing and distribution of the messages throughout Mexico. The group was also involved in coordinating Vassula Ryden's three visits to Mexico, obtaining authorization for her presentations in churches from priests, bishops and cardinals. The group members sought the guidance of Cardinal Ratzinger when he was recently in Guadalajara as to what position they should take with regard to the Notification of October 6, 1995 (issued from his Congregation for the Doctrine of The Faith, of which he is Cardinal Prefect). Following is part of their letter and Cardinal Ratzinger's response to it which he gave to them personally: To His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger: .....We are a group of 14 persons committed to our parishes and desiring to offer our testimony that these messages have helped us greatly. We guard our obedience and love for the Pope in union with Jesus and Mary, living by Jesus in the Eucharist and in His Words, the Commandments and praying the Holy Rosary. We have lived various powerful and true conversions. There also exist important testimonies of conversions by Masons, Jehovah's Witnesses and Protestants, mostly professional people.
Many readers of True Life in God have experienced true thirst for Jesus in communion with the Pope and the Church. Confounded by the Notification of 6 October published in "Osservatore Romano" we are asking ourselves; What position should we adopt? What would you recommend to us? We implore Jesus and Mary to enlighten us to do the Will of God and we submit docilely to the Church. Hoping for your kind response, we greet you cordially. Sincerely, Signed: Lic Javier Pelayo Jones, Mrs Maria del Carmen de la Torre de Pelayo, 9 May 1996 Informed by the local news that the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, had come to our city of Guadalajara, Mexico to preside over a meeting of CELAM (Conference of Latin-American Bishops), we believed it would by opportune and providential to be able to give him our testimony as readers of True Life in God (the writings of Mrs. Vassula Ryden) and, at the same time, to ask him what should be our posture in the light of the Notification published 23-24 October 1995 in the "Osservatore Romano" newspaper. Yesterday, Thursday 9 May at 11.30 a.m. we-Lic Javier Pelayo Jones, Mrs Carmen de la Torre de Pelayo and Patricia Salwnin de Rivera (Swiss multi-linguist) went to the House of Spiritual Exercise in Guadalajara where the meeting was being held. Through a messenger we delivered to Cardinal Ratzinger, who was in the conference room, a letter along with the last three books printed in Guadalajara: Prayers extracted from 'True Life in God', The Sacred Heart of Jesus in the writings of Vassula,I - and Theologians Defend Vassula Ryden. To our surprise, the messenger returned to tell us that he had handed them directly to the Cardinal who gave us his response: "I am going to read the books and I will call you." The same day at 1.30 p.m. we were surprised to receive a call by order of Cardinal Ratzinger summoning us to meet with him at 3.45 p.m. We arrived punctually for the meeting, but we were informed that regrettably, due to unavoidable circumstances, the Cardinal was unable to meet with us as scheduled and that we would have to await another call from him. This came early the next morning, (Friday, 10th May) summoning us to a meeting at 10.15 am. We arrived accompanied by Father Tiberio Munari.
Cardinal Ratzinger received us very cordially during a break in the conference at 10.30am, apologizing for the shortness of the time available and proposing to speak in Italian to facilitate the dialogue. He told us the following: "On the basis of what you have told me in your letter about testimonies and conversions, that is very good. We only want you to proceed with discernment, - do not take as the word of God what is considered, for the moment, only human and personal. What we have said is that she should not witness in churches (inside the church) because she is an Orthodox and her marital status is not yet clear, being divorced, - and which we are studying." (click here for further information) "You may continue to promote her writings, but always with discernment." He concluded by citing St Paul: Do not stifle the Spirit, do not despise prophecy, but test everything,- hold on to what is good (I Th 5: 19-2 1) He took leave of us cordially, apologizing once more for the shortness of time. Forever united with the Pope in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and faithful to our Church. Signed Lic Javier Pelayo Jones, Carmen de la Torre de Pelayo, Patricia Salamin de Rivera Guadalajara, Mexico, 10 May 1996 Cardinal Ratzinger Confirms his Position on Vassula Ryden's True Life in God The Portuguese religious magazine [Annunciai a Boa Nova, 140 (November 1997) pp. 565-567.] has just published the following item: On October 10, 1997, in a prayer meeting organized for Vassula in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, the auxiliary Bishop raised the question of the position of the Church regarding her writings. His Excellency, Bishop João Terra spoke to a crowd that numbered in the thousands. He introduced his remarks with these words: "I would like to say a word of thanks, as auxiliary Bishop for the joy that we are experiencing by the presence of Vassula here in Brasilia. Certainly it is an extraordinary grace." The bishop then went on to speak of the Church's position: This year we had the regional meeting of bishops with the Holy Father. I asked at that time about Vassula. Cardinal Ratzinger said "I have been getting a mountain of letters from Cardinals." That anonymous 'monitum' (notification) which came out in the L'Osservatore Romano was a manoeuver of his secretary, Mgr Tarcisio (Bertone). Bishop Victor Tielbeek from the diocese of Formosa (Brazil) then asked him "But Cardinal, am I supposed to completely change (my support for her)?" Cardinal Ratzinger answered "Continue as you have been doing until now, just be prudent"

Fr. Emiliano Tardif speaks of Vassula

"It is certainly the Lord who speaks to her" Father Emiliano Tardif is one of the most important and powerful contemporary charismatic personalities. A Canadian, born in 1928, he was ordained in 1955 as Missionary of the Sacred Heart. He dedicated himself to humanitarian work with the poor till 1973, when he became seriously ill. However, through the prayers of a charismatic group he was instantly healed. He thus became interested in the Charismatic Movement and soon after discovered this extraordinary healing charism with which he is endowed. Since then he has been travelling all over the world to announce to everyone that 'Jesus is alive and still today accomplishes miracles and wonders just the way he did 2000 years ago': his healing Masses are extraordinarily overcrowded. Father Tardif is considered one of the greatest healers of all times. Hundred of thousands of healings are attributed to him, many of which are carefully documented. Among those healings are many cases of people who had terminal cancer and AIDS. In an interview in October 1996 with Italian journalist, Marino Parodi, Fr Tardif made clear his position on Vassula and True Life in God.
Asked what he thought about Vassula Ryden, he replied: I think she is an authentic and sincere mystic. It is certainly the Lord who speaks to her. True Life in God is full of treasures. How could this woman possibly have done it herself? I find the recent intervention of Cardinal Ratzinger very positive where, besides recognising the numerous evident and very positive fruits of Vassula's mission, he fully authorised the faithful the right to continue to diffuse the messages. Finally, the document issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Morals was absurd; without any signature, inspired by a total absence of knowledge of the message and the mission of this mystic. In 1980 Father Tardif founded a new charismatic community, Servants of Living Christ, which spread all over the world very quickly. The mother house of the community has its seat in Santo Domingo, where Father Tardif has been living for several years. However, he spends eight months a year travelling around the world, as already mentioned. Father Tardif is also endowed with a very strong 'knowledge charism' and just as strong 'discernment charism'. He is considered to be one of the leaders of the Charismatic World Movement. He is also the author of successful books; among them Jesus is the Messiah, In the Fire of Love, and The New Pentecost.

Testimonies 

 
Michael O'Carroll

Michael O'Carroll Vassula's spiritual adviser for many years, travelled widely with her on her speaking missions. He is a renowned theologian and member of the Pontifical Marian Academy. He released the following statement at the beginning of 1997 after having had to relinquish his travelling role. I wish my support for Vassula Ryden to be known, as is already evident from the two books which I have written: Vassula of the Sacred Heart's Passion and Bearer of the Light and a third in preparation which is: Vassula: Apostle of the Holy Trinity. It is scarcely necessary to add anything to this statement but I wish to make it clear that this priest, who has been her counsellor so far, wishes any listener to be relieved of any suspicion or doubt of any kind whatsoever about my belief in the divine origin of the messages given to Vassula.
This question has been discussed and an affirmative conclusion amply expressed by theologians around the world in North and South America, as far away as Japan, and by many in Europe. And I am pleased to state that I am in total agreement with all those who have voiced their fidelity, their faith in the messages, expressing this to the highest authority available; that is to the Cardinal Prefect of the Congragation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger, who eventually, after many letters had been sent to him, made an important statement to our friends in Guadalajara who have assured us that they are prepared to testify under oath what he had said to them, and I quote the essential words of his message: "You may continue to promote her writings..."
This, it seems to me, is sufficient evidence and I wish to affirm my total acceptance of this position which does not in any way compromise my attachment to the Holy See. I am known as a defender of the papacy. When I met the present Pope on the 29th November 1995, I asked him for a blessing for Vassula. I had previously offered to him my two books on himself, one on his Polish origins and one on his life and teachings and I assured him, "I am your defender." To this he replied, "There are many enemies." He gave me then a blessing, at my request, for Vassula. It is also known that when he knew there were representatives of our Spanish friends in an audience with him on August 11, 1996 he publicly gave them his encouragement and he asked them to continue to witness to the love of God, as we know is so beautifully expressed in the messages. I think this ought to reassure anyone who may be tempted to think that I have changed my opinion in regard to the messages in True Life in God. Father Michael O'Carroll CSSp, January 2, 1997 Black Rock College Dublin, Ireland

Sister Lucy Rooney, and Fr. Robert Faricy

S. Lucy Rooney and Bob Faricy have written widely on contemporary apparition events, having strongly defended Medjugorje and events in Scottsdale, Arizona. Vassula Ryden: national tennis champion of Bangladesh, Sheraton Hotel model, exhibiting painter, socialite, her husband's hostess, mother of two sons, the ideal person to receives revelations in our times? Perhaps so, since God's ways are always surprising, his choices not usually those we would make (cf. Isaiah 55:8) The extraordinary way in which these revelations are made - by Vassula's hand being taken over to write messages, is off-putting. She herself had doubts from time to time - yet knows in her heart that it really is Jesus who moves her hand. "I am too realistic, too skeptic. I can't help feeling again today doubtful that this is happening ... I who very well know that I can't handle my hand and that I know how powerless I become when God takes possession of my hand." (10:23) She has examined all the arguments: that she is influenced by the sub-conscious, or by evil spirits, by psychological disturbances. She knows what will be said about her: ridicule at least, even hatred. Yet courageously, risking all the scorn, she publishes these messages. She knows too her own lowliness as the messenger, as Jesus said to her: "Do not think for one moment that I gave you this charisma because I love you more than the rest of My children." (23 January 1987) But how do you know that the words here attributed to the Lord really come from Jesus? How can you be sure that Jesus spoke to Vassula, wrote through her, dictated to her? Do you have a right to believe that? Can you believe it? We believe that Vassula's experience is authentic. That is our personal discernment. We do not, of course, nor could we, make any kind of official recognition or pronouncement of validity.
On the contrary, we submit our judgment to the judgment of legitimate church authority. Obviously, no one is obliged to believe that Jesus says what Vassula says He says. But anyone can believe that these are Jesus' words. Should you believe? Make your own discernment. Read, and decide for yourself with the Lord's help. What is the message of Jesus to us through Vassula? He said: "I come and refresh all that has already been taught by Me." (I March 1987) "My message is one of Peace and Love ... I come to show this world My Mercy." (8 March 1987) It becomes clear from the multiplicity of apparitions and revelations in our times, and it is perfectly in accord with the Gospels, that the end of these times is near. There is a battle on, before Satan loses his power. There is no indication of the end of the world, but of a time of tribulation followed, for those who endure, by a new era of love and of peace. We are in training for those dark days. Meanwhile we are living in a time not of judgment, but of Mercy. Jesus said to Vassula: "Your era has lost all spiritual values ." (26 August 1987) "The world has incessantly been offending Me, and I, for my part, have incessantly been reminding them of My existence and of how I love them. My Chalice of Justice is full, creation! My Justice lies heavily upon you ... My cries resound and shake the entire heavens leaving My angels trembling for what has to come. I am a God of Justice and My eyes have grown weary watching hypocrisy, atheism, immorality; my creation has become in its decadence a replica what Sodom was.
I will thunder you with My Justice as I have thundered the Sodomites. Repent, creation, before I come.: (1 September 1987 and following) When Vassula pleaded that his children were only asleep, He replied: "They are sleeping hour after hour, year after year." Jesus says that He has sent signs and warnings but they have been rejected (1 September 1987) Here then in Vassula we have another message of mercy: "You are one of the many signs." (8 January 1987) And Jesus confirms what has startled us all - the present day outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all who ask, and the multiplication of apparitions and wonders all over the world: "I tell you solemnly that I shall keep spreading My Holy Spirit on your sons and daughters as has never happened among many generations, to nourish you from My Own Hand, and to place My entire Law in your hearts". (message from the Sacred Heart for England, February 1991). "All the messages bearing the call of love and peace, leading those that are lost to find their way back to me, are all from the Father and Me." (10 October 1986) This is the good news: "The weaker and more wretched you are the more I seek you and love you." (17 March 1987) It is our unbelievable privilege that Jesus can say to each one of us, through Vassula: "I love you to a degree you are unable to grasp." (8 January 1987) "I, God, love you to distraction." (8 December 1986) And most profoundly of all: "Love loves you."(29 August 1987) Read the book and share in Vassula's experience of the Lord. That sharing will constitute a part of your own experience of the Lord. Read with faith. Not with faith in Vassula, and not with faith in the authenticity of her experience, but with faith in Jesus.
Have faith, Jesus wants to share himself and His love for you with you through these messages. Through your reading, Jesus can lead you to know Him better, and to love Him more, and to follow Him more closely. What if you, the reader, are not a Roman Catholic? Neither is Vassula. This book is not just for Roman Catholics, but for everyone, for anyone that the Lord leads to read it. Whoever you are, if you know Jesus, this book will help you to know him better. And if you don't, the messages can help you to know him. He knows you. And He has already led you to read at least this far.

Fr. Rene Laurentin

Fr. Rene Laurentin is well known for his promotion of Medjugorje and for his investigations into the widespread apparitions of Our Lady throughout the world in recent years. He has written many definitive works on Church life, the Second Vatican Council and Marian theology. The following is taken from 'When God gives a Sign' a response to objections made against Vassula and published in 1993 by Trinitas in the United States (see sources of the books) Vassula is one of the most balanced and transparent seers that I know. I would even be tempted to say that she is, in a most satisfying way, more normal, more balanced than most others. Nevertheless, she has excited more opposition than any other. Why? Is it because she is Orthodox? A woman? Remarried? Is it the extent of her influence such to make one fear that the fruits of her activity give rise to persecutions from Satan? It is difficult to measure the role of each of these factors as well as several others. Vassula is Orthodox, thus it is presumed that she is certainly a heretic.
The Orthodox are separated from the Catholics by a schism, not by a heresy. They acknowledge all the dogmas before the separation of 1054. That leaves the Pope and the Immaculate Conception. The latter comes to us from their oriental tradition, but it is now rejected by most due to the papal definition. In these two points, Vassula adheres fully to the Catholic doctrine, and that creates a problem for certain Orthodox people. An Orthodox theologian who had been invited to write a preface for her messages declined the invitation, saying: "It is too Catholic." Vassula's ecumenism is not minimal; it is whole. Another prejudice: She is a woman who speaks of theology. That is still not accepted by all. She is of Greek origin. She comes from another culture. That causes misunderstanding for others. She is divorced and remarried. That seems to be the biggest problem. In fact, her marital status today is perfectly in order. She was married in church to a Protestant (1966) at a time when she was not practicing any religion. After a civil divorce (1980) she was remarried on June 13, 1981. She thought, at the time, that it was a Protestant ceremony according to her husband's religion, but, in fact, it was a civil marriage.
Only a nominal Christian, without contact with her Orthodox Church, she did not even know that her remarriage could be the source of problems. When she presented herself to her church to regularize her marriage, the first priest to whom she spoke could not even seem to feel that there was a problem since it was a mixed marriage. But she insisted, in order to be truly in accord with Orthodox legislation. It was then that she was referred to the priest in charge of marriage problems, and it was he who took care of the matter following the "law of economy" that deals with broken marriages in her church. The marriage was celebrated on October 13,1990, in the Greek Orthodox Church of Lausanne. Thus, according to church law her situation presents no problems. One might ask, but why did Christ not begin by asking her to straighten out this matter? It is because he has led her progressively, like a teacher, as he has done since the Old Testament. He did not ask Abraham and the Patriarchs to give up their polygamy. It was a tolerance that gradually disappeared by the spiritual progress of revelation. It was thus that Vassula gradually re-entered her church and took on values of Catholic teaching, including the Sacred Heart, the Pope and purgatory.

Todor Sabev

Todor Sabev is an Orthodox 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 charismas. 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 biblically based. 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 Life: "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 (Nt. 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. Heavenly Father, "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

Archbishop Frane Franic

Archbishop Franic is a retired Archbishop of Split and long-time president of the Yugoslav Episcopal Theological Commission. When I received two books written by the visionary, Vassula Ryden, and translated into Croatian by Mrs. Marija-Dragida Vukic, I was pleasantly surprised, all the more because the translation was made from English in Belgrade, where Mrs. Vukic lives. She asked me to write a preface for the third book which will appear in Croatian. There are already five volumes in English entitled True Life in God written by Vassula Ryden. It is a great pleasure for me to write this preface. The first news I heard about Vassula was two years ago, in 1991, in a Canadian Catholic review, L'Informateur Catholique. A great deal of that particular issue was devoted to Vassula. Thereafter, the review published information about her regularly. A good Catholic lady living in Canada, who is very interested in Medjugorje, a leader of frequent pilgrimages, directed strong criticism against Vassula, alleging that there were false theories in the messages which she is transmitting: for example, that Jesus calls Himself "Eternal Father" of men, as if He identifies Himself in every respect with the Father, thus denying the distinction between the Father and the Son. This devoted admirer of Our Lady is not happy either with the manner in which Jesus transmits His messages through Vassula's hand; she thinks of this in terms of spiritualistic transmission of messages. This critic of Vassula, about whom I read in the review I have mentioned, was Mrs. Darija Klanac, nee Skunca.
I had the honour to meet her on her way as a pilgrimage leader from Canada to Medjugorje. She visited me in Split, in St. Peter's Co-Cathedral, where I have lived since 1983. I spoke in French to the pilgrims about the Medjugorje messages of peace. Mrs. Klanac also talked with great zeal about Our Lady. I was very happy that Mrs. Klanac, one of our Croatians married in Canada, had such a high reputation among the Catholics of that country. Later on, when she had difficulties with the review I have mentioned because they supported Vassula, l noticed with what respect they wrote of her personality, that is, the experts working for them. This pleased me. But I am on Vassula's side, especially since I was given three books of her messages in Italian, entitled Peace and Love. A group of Italian pilgrims on their way to Medjugorje stopped in Split and visited St. Peter's. They invited me to Italy. So, on September 23,1992, celebrated Holy Mass in a large church in Como. The church was full and there I met Vassula. Before Mass she gave a testimony about her mystical experiences and messages., which, with the greatest conviction., she attributed to Jesus. I gave the homily on the Gospel of the day. I spoke about private revelations, and the importance they have for the Church and today's world. I added some words of support for Vassula, leaving the final judgment to the Church. I always use this precaution when I talk publicly about the Medjugorje messages. On the other hand, when I talk privately I express my constant conviction of the authenticity of the Medjugorje apparitions and messages; I rely on the Gospel test which says that a good tree may be recognized by good fruits. This is especially true of religious conversions, miracles in the moral order, and, most frequently, experiences in Medjugorje. This happens also through Vassula, who herself is a miracle, an object of wonder. True, she does not cause wonders in the physical sense, for she makes no claim to a charism of healing.
I was given a copy of the fourth book of Vassula's messages by the translator personally. I was delighted to note that the preface was by Fr. Rene Laurentin, whom I value highly; l have met him many times in Split on his way to and from Medjugorje. As I read Vassula's books, my first impressions of her were very much confirmed. Her messages, actually for me Jesus' messages, are alive and authentic. These messages can help us toward a better understanding of Jesus' messages in the Gospel, and also help us experience them in a personal way. These must always remain the authentic criteria in judging private messages, in recognizing healthy mystical experience. There always have been, always will be, mystical experiences in the Church. These we must not minimize, but we must leave the final judgment to the church. When I met Vassula in Como, on 23rd September, 1992, I had the feeling that she was under attack by many critics; they wrote disparagingly about her. This is understandable as through Vassula, Jesus is passing judgment on extremist theologians of our time, who distance themselves from divine revelations by too great proximity to the world. This Pope Paul VI found out, a short time before he died; he began to speak of the "devil's smoke" which had entered the Church and clouded fundamental truths of God's revelation. It seems to me the more I understand these things, that Vassula's main charisma is to show the PURITY OF THE INTEGRAL REVELATION OF GOD. Nothing must be taken from, nothing added to, the Revelation; there must be no yielding to the world and to the permissive civilization of our time, which penetrates even into the Church, causing disorder in her saving mission. Enculturation is necessary as the basis of a new evangelization. So Pope John Paul II says, following the Council. We must respect all cultures that we may plant in people of all nations God's revealed truths, strengthening them with love, always with due regard for human, national and social rights, and attention to social situations. This is the truth; the Second Vatican Council says it; so do the Popes of the Council and after it. But there is the truth which tells us that Christ and His Word judge all cultures, all human, national and social rights.
It is not, on the contrary, the cultures which judge Christ, but Christ who judges them. Christ protects., promotes, dignilies, raises to a higher level, to God's level, all cultures. Because of that do not be afraid to "open the door to Christ." He is our Creator, our Friend. He is our "Eternal Father" together with the Father and the Holy Spirit; He knows what we need to achieve our small earthly and great heavenly happiness. The Church, together with the Pope, and under the Pope, as the visible head of the Church and the Vicar of Jesus Christ, transmits the saving teachings of Christ. That is what Jesus is telling us through Vassula, though she makes it clear that she is of the Greek Orthodox Church. In this way she shows the way to healthy ecumenism, ecumenism which, today, is passing through its Calvary. But ecumenism is God's work,, so it must pass through its Calvary like Christ Himself. May God protect us so that the Calvary does not spread over the whole world. Ecumenism will, through its Calvary, have its resurrection. It seems that this is the core of all the messages that Jesus is giving us through Vassula Ryden, Greek Orthodox, living now in Switzerland.

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