Welcome Address by Vassula to gathered participants of the 4th Ecumenical TLIG Pilgrimage to Lebanon, Syria and Jordan in May 2005
We are gathered all of us here from different countries, different backgrounds, with God's grace, to be witnesses of God's Love. Therefore, revealing God as Love to others should be always our primary and central point in our life and in all our doings. This is our mission, because the Lord said in the messages that through love we will be able to obtain humility and through these two virtues, we come to understand God's Will.
God is asking us to renew ourselves through repentance to obtain the fruit of reconciliation and unity. Thus Peace will flow out like healing rivers and heal this world that is so much in need of peace. This is the central point of True Life in God.
We are here, not only to follow the traces of the prophets of old, but to open a wide path in our mind and heart to see their perfect faithfulness they had towards God when He called them to reveal His designs to them: let us meditate while crossing these deserts on their self-renunciation, their self-denial, and become aware of their untamable courage, zeal and love for God. They were also human and possessed no more than we do, except a will directed towards the good to glorify God. They were weak, but God gave them His strength. They did not have it easy, but they struggled putting their trust in God and persevered to accomplish their mission.
God stripped them from all that was worldly so as to imprint in them His own Holy Image. Hard as their oppressors harried them, they were not overcome, but instead their enemies cringed at their presence. In their poverty of spirit God invaded them with His Light enlightening them with Wisdom; in their wretchedness and incapacity, God gave them nobility of spirit to carry His Word fearlessly. Therefore, let us also flee from the worldly spirit as one flees from an enemy, and brake our shackles and free ourselves, to earn what they received and our soul will turn into a fountain of tears.
Each one of us on this earth has been given a mission. Our primary mission and that is for all of God's creatures is to love God and serve Him and love one another, doing good for the rest of our lives. To serve God is to serve others who are in need.
God is most generous and does not limit His generosity to only a few privileged souls but extends them always to everyone, giving Himself without reserve to the whole of His creation. He gives without us asking. All God asks of you is goodwill and an effort from your side. Yet, despite so many signs of His goodness, there are those, who still do not put their hope in God nor do they trust Him but cling on what they possess and do not let go. Few are those that love God as in the first Commandment. And fewer still are those who understand God and know Him in an intimate way.
Some would say, "But I have not enough fortitude to accomplish such an act..." Has not Jesus said once in the TLIG messages: "Do your best and I will do the rest?" But if one does not even try or put even the slightest effort how are they then to progress? As God gives with such generosity, so should we also give without counting, constantly renouncing one's self. In other words, prove your love by giving according to your capacity and God then will not refuse your goodwill but will encourage you with His grace to fulfill your act.
The Lord tells us several times in the messages, not to fear this impoverishment that will not only set us free, but also set free movement of hope and ensure its opening out for the attainment of supernatural goods and of God Himself. In that impoverishment of spirit we no longer hope for anything but God Himself and what He has promised us and that is: the Kingdom of God. These are Christ's words from the Scriptures: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Lord teaches us that impoverishment includes not only of goods and material things, but even spiritual riches, and intellectual. A man could be poor in money with holes in his shoes and yet be rich in the sense of never having died to his ego. God says that the path of nothingness and being nothing, which is renunciation to goods and self, will bring us to this perfect and absolute poverty. Then the All that is God will fill us with Himself, invading our soul and possessing it, and we, as well, in our turn, will possess God.
God wants us to approach Him with a pure heart, and our heart cannot be really pure when there is still in it earthly thoughts. When our Lord is preaching to us to reach the 3 ascents which He calls: detachment, dispassion and impassibility, he asks that a soul can be so pure and impoverished that will even no longer remember the events of life whether they would be of sorrowful nature or of joy. This is the perfect and perpetual contemplation to God. He wants us to live a True Life in Him.
We are here to worship together, pray together share and have a dialogue of life on our way, living and practicing the unity Jesus desires so much of us. If you want, you may call it a family gathering. When one joins such a pilgrimage you are then committed to the Call of Unity and Reconciliation. Solidarity gives us strength as you know and encourages us to continue this spiritual battle of our times where every good is transformed into evil.
Christ has gathered us from all around the world so that we, in our turn when returning home may tell our people that it is not so difficult to reconcile and live a unity in the heart with others who do not belong in our community or church. We are called to expand God's Kingdom in this dark world. We are called to make God's Love known. We are called to tell the world that Christ has truly risen. We are called to be witnesses of God's intimate love and teach the world the meaning of our Savior's words in John 17: 21 "may they all be one, Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me."
So long as the church remains divided she is not qualified or strong enough to fight the apostasy, the rationalistic minds and all the pressures she is getting from the "progressive" groups. The people of God together should fight against these evil currents that are not according to God's Law, currents of secularism, liberalism and relativism. These currents are at their strongest in the western world that has swirled away, like a shooting star, from the Divine Truth. This is why Christ says in the messages to the Church, to unite and turn their eyes towards the East, because as dawn, the light will come from the East, the hope will come from the East.
Here are His words given on the 20th April 2004: "Attention and listen well: pen every word you hear. Dawn will come from the East..."and in another passage, "have your mind oriented on the Orient as I have said previously to you. The light shall rise from there and everything will take the shape of a blossoming garden."Later, "in My Church nothing has been lost, rather the people lost the presence of My Church in their hearts. The world today in its extreme debauchery is filled not only with error but are conspicuously provoking Me and My Law..."
The Holy Spirit never ceased to stir us up with reminders, teaching us with Wisdom. And through the light of Wisdom, He made us understand the things that the mind could not have grasped on its own, allowing us to see Signs that the eye could not have perceived, allowing us to know His Will. His Will is that we must unite. It is imperative and our responsibility to read the signs of the times and put them into action, otherwise we will be accountable.
I am sure that in this pilgrimage we will obtain sanctifying graces from our Lord. Let us be receptive and ask our Lord to peel away from our heart the layers of crust that are stuck on it, choking us; to break our shackles that prohibit us to walk towards a divine union with God and towards unity; to heal our spiritual eyes and open them so that we may see the Light of God and His Will; We should allow God to penetrate fully in our sullied soul for a healing and a cleansing and to purify our life from passion and ego.
The poorer in spirit that we become, all the more attractive we are to God. The offering of one's will and the dying to one's self infatuates our Lord beyond words and glorifies Him. Therefore, let us be lenient and of a much greater receptivity to God's Call of Unity.
St. Paul said to the Colossians, 3: 1-3: "Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God's right hand. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God."
In our times God's calling is for a renewal of spirit and for reaching higher ascents that appear for the moment impenetrable and only reachable to saints. But faith in God will stir Him to respond to our needs. In the messages our Lord said: "I will go and visit My prodigal sons and call them back to Me reminding them of this ocean of goodness, reminding them to put their trust in Me, and never yield to evil..." 3.2.03
The paths that lead to detachment, dispassion and impassibility are above all to have renounced to the world and of one's own will; it is a life vigorously thrust in God and cleaved on God as an oyster is cleaved on a rock. The prophets that passed these lands we are passing never left that path; and as I said before, they were like us human as well. So, nothing is impossible if we truly decide for God.
When God is near and approaches a soul it cannot deny God's presence because His presence is like fire, divine Fire from which some spark will fly out at any moment and touch the soul putting it aflame. In a message God has given on the 6th October 1999 this is what He said: "It is right to say that God is Fire, or when you say this is the Fire of the Holy Spirit, for you can compare it to a physical fire, which enflames everything and goes through every opening. Whatever it touches it sets aflame. The Fire of God is a Fire of Love, (...) why which creature, if not consumed by Love would write prayers in religious poetry to Us? (...) The one seized by these enamored flames suffers as he is kindled by fire, but by love too."
When caught in the divine Fire the soul is tossed around, transforming it from a rock to a diamond. And the message continues: "The Holy Spirit in His enamored action prepares (the soul) to see God. Have you not read: "Happy the pure in heart, they shall see God?" once you see God, as Scripture says, you soul will cry out: "My Joy! How right it is to love You!" and immediately you will seize Us to possess Us... and I will descend from the clouds to lift you and carry you on My Wings to soar the skies; and as a tour-guide, I will tell you the history of the things that are invisible to the eye and inaccessible to touch; I will show you My Glorious Throne from where I rule but that you too, near Me, could rule with Us."
Therefore, after that, we cannot say anymore that we will see heaven and God only after death, when in reality God is telling us that we can see Him and heaven even now. We cannot say, we do not know if God's presence is in our heart and possess Him, after having put us aflame. We would know because after this purifying Fire we will be aware of God's presence. We can be entirely with Him while on earth, walk with Him and rule with Him. Once united with God, God then carries you and you no longer separate from Him. God becomes your holy Companion while He draws you everywhere He wants in His merciful love.
Therefore let us be worthy to say: "I have an understanding of God, whose Love is like a flash of Fire. I am now a child of God, why, I am on my way to be deified for having accepted our Father, and made peace with Him... ah, how I delight! For I have no frontiers now with My Creator; no, none at all, no more frontiers!" And the message finishes by the Lord saying: "Hence even the utmost wretched will have a Divine Visitation, for My Return is imminent. I will visit those who are not even familiar with My Divine Works. In their nothingness they have acquired nothing and have no knowledge of Me, nor have they ever known that I AM WHO I AM is their Master and God..." (24.4.2000)
In our life there will always be trials in it but let us turn towards Christ, and his saints, disciples, apostles and prophets and meditate upon how they too had trials but bore them with nobility and fortitude.
All of us, should, in this pilgrimage consider the great task in putting this pilgrimage together and not forget to thank the volunteers who made it possible to gather here. You should know that they were working for three whole years putting all their heart body and soul in it to satisfy us all here and make everything agreeable and easy. Therefore, should there be anything that does not go as you expected, try to be considerate and tolerant towards the organizers. They have done their best