VASSULA'S MISSION IN ASIA - January 1998
On the day of our arrival in Bombay, Wednesday January 28, we were warmly welcomed by Sr. Johanna and her co-organizer Mrs. Elaine, who rushed us to our residence, where Vassula had 20 minutes to refresh herself and change for the meeting, which was scheduled at 6PM at St. Augustine's School in Bombay's area of Manickpur - Vesei. Due to the heavy traffic Sr. Johanna decided to take the public train to and from the meeting. Another unique adventure. Even though tickets had been bought for first class seats, the sister who was sent to buy them, never arrived. So we had to travel without any tickets. As we saw the train approach our station, we wondered where the first class would be, since the train was packed with people, hanging out from every entrance of the countless railway carriages. We had to rush to squeeze ourselves into the train, since it hardly stopped and people kept jumping off and some dropping out like figs while the train was still moving... but somehow we managed!
The carriage in the first class was very crowded. There was hardly a place to even stand. Kind passengers offered Vassula and her companions seats, seeing we had difficulties holding ourselves straight on the shaky ride, where one cannot help but wonder when the train will jump off the rail tracks. This adventure took about 20- minutes during which Vassula was even "visited" by a cockroach, who kept crawling towards her feet until Sister Johanna freed her from this dreadful sight...
On Thursday January 29, Vassula was asked to witness at the High School Hall of Cannosia's Convent in Mahim, Bombay, where about 500 selected Priests, Nuns and lay leaders of various charismatic and other groups attended the meeting. Fr. "X" in his introductory speech corrected his position towards Vassula, as never having been her Spiritual Director "for it is the Holy Spirit that guides her". He told how he, being the first witness in Bangladesh, persecuted Vassula so harshly, it was to the point that it made Jesus weep. Jesus promised Vassula that He will bend that Priest. Fr. "X" said that by gradually reading the message, he started to realise his mistake and that these messages were truly coming from God Himself. He explained the reason why he always was connected to Vassula. One time she asked God why have you chosen this priest? God replied; "so that he learns to humble himself and accept the fact that God can give even to the least, His Gifts, and raise those who are dead". He learned the meaning of what "the first will be last and the last first", meant. This testimony certainly will speak to many priests and other people who found or still find themselves destroying while God is building.
After Vassula had given a summary of her background living on the peak of her worldly success when her angel appeared to prepare her to meet God and all the attacks of Satan, who, as she said: "tore me into shreds" doing everything to discourage her from meeting God, she taught how to discern true prophets from false ones. Jesus tells in the messages, that these false prophets are many and are falling on us in our days like rain. Vassula said how to discern what comes truthfully from God and when God speaks, He speaks with clarity, simplicity and always with a tone of hope. He would never leave the soul devastated with messages of doom and gloom only. He as Father will come to reprimand us, but He speaks for our salvation and in Him there is no sensationalism or extravagance, but His language is that of an honest person who calls us to holiness, to grow in spirituality, and live a Eucharistic Life. She stressed also the fact that one of Satan's traps in our days is to overload clergy as well as laymen with administrative work that takes them away from prayer and recollection with Jesus alone, thus tearing them away from Christ's Heart and with this they dry up spiritually. After a prayer of Consecration to the two hearts, she concluded this meeting by reading aloud the message for India.
Immediately after, one journalist from a secular magazine called "The Week" wished to interview Vassula. She believed that Vassula was a true prophet and even asked for a blessing. Before the crowds swarmed around Vassula, we hastily drove through Bombay's crowded streets back to our residence where later at 7 p.m. at the Holy Cross Convent in Bombay, another "surprise meeting" was scheduled by our host Sr. Johanna Brandstaetter, the superior of the Convent who is Austrian and has lived for over 40 years now in India as a missionary. Two meetings a day is normally against the rules of Jesus who wishes Vassula not to have more than one official big meeting a day. Nevertheless, Vassula complied since people were waiting and gave a one hour presentation of a perfectly summarised True Life in God message. Later on the books were sold in quantities and the message was received very well. Many Priests and Nuns attended the meeting.
Next morning, January 30, we missed our morning flight to Cochin in Kerala. This was due to imprudent organisation preventing a prompt departure for the airport. After breakfast the nuns in the convent wished to take last pictures with Vassula and have individual blessings. As we were told that it would be enough to check in a half hour before the departure of the plane, Vassula, against her intuition, gave in to this suggestion and so we arrived too late at the airport. It is the little things that exhaust Vassula most and from which she always should be protected by those organising and those who accompany her. Vassula, together with Mrs. Elaine Murray, a co-organizer for Bombay, tried everything possible to persuade the Airport official to allow at least Vassula to board, so as not to miss her meeting that same afternoon in Cochin. To no avail. Without mercy we were left behind in Bombay, even though there still were 20 minutes before the official departure. Satan again, came to the surface and again it was to block the entrance of Kerala! That was the second attempt of the evil one.
In seeing this situation, we overheard Vassula say: "I'd rather die than miss once more the meetings of Kerala". The meeting was due for 3.30 p.m. Any other plane that would arrive after that hour, would force the organisers to cancel the meeting. We agonised to find another plane that would make it before that time. But surely "It is not against human enemies that we have to struggle, but against the principalities and ruling forces who are masters of the darkness in this world, the spirits of evil in the heavens". That is why we are told by St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians "we must take up all God's armor, or you will not be able to put up any resistance on the evil day, or stand your ground even though you exert yourselves to the full". Vassula's cry having realised she had missed the plane "I'd rather die than miss this meeting this afternoon", showed how she made God's word her home. How strong the word of God made her grow in Him, with the strength of his power; how she put on the full armor of God so as to be able to resist the devil's tactics who was doing his best to shut her mouth.
Therefore, she wasted not a minute in searching for any other way to reach her destination. With the help of Elaine and her travel agency, last minute tickets were bought on another flight with another company, which would take off only an hour later. But to our horror our plane was delayed and a while later, to our dismay, they announced once more another delay - we agonised. Nevertheless we reached Kerala just in time for the meeting. At St. Mary's Basilica grounds in Cochin, where Fr. Jose Nelliserry warmly welcomed her with the rest of the team of the organisers. They too agonised with us, when they saw that we did not arrive at the planned time and had no news of what had happened to us again! Praying in their hearts, they waited at the airport, still hoping that things would work out in the end. Vassula had not time to change or be refreshed, but in the peak of the heat, feeling happy that our Lord triumphed, she rushed with Mr. John Kottukapally and his wife Leelu, straight from the airport to the Basilica grounds where a roaring crowd of about 4000 were welcoming her with dance and clapping hands as she walked along the aisle to the podium.
It was breathtaking and very touching to watch how people reached out to her with joy, smiling faces and clapping hands. Fr. Kurian Mattam, the faithful interpreter of the Lord's message welcomed her. How God must delight in the childlike faith of His people of India. Again Vassula's 90 minute presentation left the audience deeply moved, where she called to repentance. That love will only grow within us when we truly repent from our heart and reconcile thus with God and our neighbour. That we need to live a life in the Holy Spirit, invoking Him untiringly, to move and guide us in every step we take. That without the Holy Spirit's action in our lives we are just like a desert, dried up and dead ... That this generation should resolve to put an end to stifling the Holy Spirit of Grace, and that we must begin to draw our breath in Him. The Holy Spirit will teach us to know God in intimacy, the greatest and richest treasure given to us ever.... That God in His faithful love is sending now an outpouring of His Holy Spirit upon us sooner than He had planned.
"I will neither keep the scores nor the records; as My Ways are above your ways; My Breath will be carried by the winds on My creation, so that they say: 'God has not forgotten us, this is His dew, this is His raindrops'. ...From there on you will aspire only after heavenly things that last; do not look for freedom elsewhere. Holy Spirit ... come! Come and win the friendship of My Holy Spirit to become collaborators with Him, for he will graciously initiate you into the mysteries by opening your mind and your eyes to understand and perceive the Imperceptible yet graciously offered to you at no cost ...".
On January 31, we had an exceptional day. Normally Jesus does not want Vassula to have two meetings in the same day. In fact, we were either traveling or attending meetings that day from almost 1:30 in the afternoon till midnight. It was therefore an exhausting day, but the harvest was great, and so Vassula cheerfully faced these difficulties. Jesus had taught her how to face all this with the prayer "O Father, be with me until the end; I am weak; give me Your Strength, To glorify You. Amen" (June 2, 1987). The reason why Vassula accepted another meeting in the same day was because it was a group of seminarians and their professors, and these shepherds of today and tomorrow are clearly persons to whom our Lord directs his message in a special way. We arrived at St. Joseph's Pontifical Seminary in Alwaye around 2:30 in the afternoon. The rector, Rev. Father George Oliapuram greeted us very warmly, and his attitude towards Vassula was one of profound respect.
When he introduced her to the students, he described her as a "prophet" and in many ways showed that he is a man of faith. About 350 students were present from both the Latin and Syrian rites. Vassula quickly turned her presentation to such grave matters as the fact that the clergy of today is divided into Abels (those who are faithful to God) and Cains (those who are not). She added that God will not abandon his Abels but will come to their aid. She also talked quite clearly about the fact that the Church is in a state of Apostasy with open rebellion against the Pope. She mentioned an idea that was first raised by Pope Paul VI, who said that the smoke of Satan had entered the Church.
She encouraged the students to grow in the spiritual life by making use of the simple method of saying "we" and "us" to always live in the presence of God. She also explained how to know if we are living the greatest commandment in a very clear way: when we long to leave this world and the things of this world behind to dwell forever in the presence of God, then we have that thirst and longing which is the highest form of prayer, the silent prayer, which fulfills the injunction to "pray always." A spokesman for the seminary then gave the concluding remarks which were filled with tremendous enthusiasm for Vassula and her mission.
From the seminary we returned briefly to our residence before embarking on a two hour journey along difficult and dangerous roads. We reached the IMS (Indian Mission Society) retreat center at Alleppey around 7:30 at night. Around 30,000 very enthusiastic people were present. The crowd included priests and nuns as well as all classes of people and religions. An observer described it as "the most wonderful meeting in Kerala." Fr. "X" stressed that the books of True Life in God are like a school of spirituality, and so we have to start with the first book and go in the proper order. Vassula too had repeated this idea on various occasions.
Vassula was described as looking "like an angel." The crowd listened with rapt attention even though they were crowded together and sitting on the floor. At the end of the evening, Vassula led the people in the recitation of the consecration to the Two Hearts as requested by Jesus. Finally, Fr. Kurian Mattom blessed the people, making use of the relic of the true cross that Vassula always carries to these meetings. By the time we were able to exit through the excited crowds, and had a snack, it was already late, and we reached our residence around midnight. Thus, Vassula had been talking and traveling for almost 11 hours.
On the morning of February 1st, our final day of departure, a final meeting was planned to give last instructions to the organising committee at Ashirbhaban Parish Hall in Cochin. To everyone's great surprise over 200 people gathered in this last minute meeting, most of which were newcomers, including Nuns and Priests. Nevertheless, as the Holy Spirit always guides to teach according to the needs of the attendants, so also this time Vassula addressed the listeners with a breathtaking talk on True Life in God. First she gave guidelines of how to form prayer groups in the Trinitarian Spirituality of True Life in God as this is Jesus' desire - to gather in His name and pray for the intentions of the Two Hearts. Further she stressed the importance of reading the messages in order to grow spiritually and thus enable us to live a True Life in God. She went on to say that one of God's signs, proving the authenticity of His messages is the fact that every nation, culture and peoples, of every age and race, are being touched by the same message, and experiencing profound and lasting conversion. Vassula stressed that the biggest miracle is conversion, since God never violates our liberty, but in His majestic way, He touches the hearts who respond to His grace.
Vassula clarified another very important point that is often confused. She said that whosoever is in any way supportive with some kind of voluntary work for True Life in God, must realise that this person is not working for Vassula, but for God alone, since True Life in God is his mighty work and we all have received the same grace, in spite of our unworthiness - to share in this precious harvest - not to please men but God alone. She concluded that God will always reward every charitable action a hundred fold, either in this or the next world.
Vassula read out a summary of the Trinitarian Spirituality of True Life in God, which revealed the holistic truth of God. This brought tears to the eyes of a businessman who was present. A Solemn Mass celebrated in the Parish church by Fr. "X" concluded our last day in India. This completed Vassula's mission in Asia, her longest and most difficult journey in her nine years of travelling. Certainly, one who never experienced such a missionary's journey will never be able to fathom the difficulties, the painful moments, the agonies and tremendous demands that such a mission requires and accompanies such a journey.
I personally tell you, my dear readers, please, therefore, out of charity towards the chosen one, who was raised to be God's gift to all humanity, let us, who by God's Grace have been privileged to be co-workers in this rich harvest of True Life in God, be mindful of the needs of our sister in the Lord and keep to the letter all that has been written down as rules to facilitate her journey to the different countries. Let us prove that we love our Saviour by caring not for our own selfish interests, but truly keeping every single dot laid out for organisers, who invite Vassula in their countries, for the hardships are plentiful.. There is no need to lay more crosses than necessary on the carrier of the Love Hymn. So you who read these lines, let us join in prayer, so that our love for one another may grow more and more, with the knowledge and complete understanding that will help us to come to true discernment, so that we will be innocent and free of any trace of guilt when the Day of Christ comes, entirely filled with the fruits of uprightness, for the glory and praise of God. Let us always remember in our prayers the vessel who carries the Love Hymn to all of us. May God bless you all.