Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi
Rhodes September 2012
My name is Reverend Joseph Leo Iannuzzi, from Rome, Italy where I’ve been studying for the last twenty one years, interspersed with pastoral assignments abroad. I recently finished a doctoral dissertation at the pontificial university in Rome entitled, “The Operation of the Divine and Human Will in the Writings of the Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta – an Inquiry into the Early Ecumenical Councils and Patristic and Scholastic Theology”. I’m here to speak on the importance of the True Life in God Messages as dictated by Our Lord to his scribe, Vassula Ryden.
Why are these messages important? Because the one public revelation that Christ preached to his apostles and that his apostles transmitted to us (kerygma ton apostolon) is continually being explicated by the Holy Spirit that Christ promised to send us so that we may come to the knowledge of “all the truth”. Before departing from this world Jesus told his disciples: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when the Spirit of truth comes, He will teach you all the truth” (Jn. 16:12). Among these “things” Jesus did not tell his disciples are the teachings of the TLIG messages, which the Holy Spirit of truth continues to explicate to Vassula. Although such TLIG messages on unity, love, mercy, intimacy with the Trinity and a holy fear of God are implied in Scripture, they are explicated in Vassula’s messages.
We find in Sacred Scripture that if everything that Christ said was contained in Scripture, there would not be enough libraries on earth to contain all of his teachings (Jn. 21.25) – to suggest that although Christ gave us everything we need for salvation and holiness, not everything is fully understood or fully “explicated”. I here recall the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states the following: “No new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet even if revelation is already complete, it had not been completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries” (CCC, 66).
In this article, one discovers the progressive disclosure (explication) of public revelation. If, on the one hand, article 66 relates that Jesus revealed to us everything we need for salvation and no new “public” revelation (the Deposit of Faith) is to be expected, on the other hand, it affirms that not everything in the public revelation of Christ was revealed to us “explicitly”!
Church documents of the past 2,000 years further testify to the continuing, ongoing disclosure of public revelation, as such documents never affirm God’s revelation has “ended” with Christ, but rather that Christ’s public revelation is “constituted”. In point of fact, the term constituted doesn’t signify “end” at all, but instead it means that the foundation of revelation is established in Christ once and for all. While private revelation can never match Sacred Scripture, for Sacred Scripture is forever the irreplaceable and inerrant foundation of our faith, private revelation assists Scripture and even Tradition in their role of continuously explicating “over the course of the centuries” and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, God’s revealed truths. Now, the work of the Spirit’s explication of revelation occurs through the official teaching voice of the Church (Magisterium) and through the office of prophet (e.g., Vassula, through whom the Church today receives private revelations) whom St. Paul lists immediately after the office of apostle: “God has appointed in his Church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, fourth miracles…” (1 Cor. 12:28).
To better grasp the complimentarity between public and private revelation, let the human eye represent public revelation, and a magnifying glass represent private revelation. Now, if I were to look at a blade of grass with the human eye, I would not see all the veins in that blade of grass as closely and with as much detail as I would with a magnifying glass. So public revelation, represented by the human eye, is clarified and is explicated by private revelation, represented by the magnifying glass. And it is in this sense that private revelation reveals to the human mind those truths of Christ that, while contained in the one public revelation of Christ, were never fully disclosed or comprehended.
That private revelations contributed to certain doctrinal formulations among the scholastic theologians is evident in the writings of Ss. Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure, both of whom referred to private revelations when postulating the institution of the Sacrament of Confirmation. Also, the female mystics Ss. Bridget of Sweden and Catherine of Siena exhorted the true pope to return from Avignon to Rome, and guess what, the pope listened to them, thereby punctuating the importance of private revelations.
These are but few of the many examples that tell us why the Church’s private revelations – when they are well respected by scores of theologians and bishops, like those of Vassula – are of such tremendous value today, which constitute the continuing and ongoing unfolding of Christ’s public revelation. Their importance is further witnessed in the spiritually devastating consequences that would have ensued if the Church had ignored them: Had the Church ignored the private revelations of St. Margaret Mary, we would not have Christ’s assurance that we may peacefully die in the state of grace with the grace of final repentance (cf. 12th promise of the 1st Friday Devotions); had the Church ignored the private revelations of St. Faustina, we would not have the Feast of Divine Mercy that grants a total remission of all sin and punishment; had the Church ignored the private revelations of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, we would not have the new mystical gift to the “Living in the Divine Will”.
As in the past, so today Christ comes to us through his prophet Vassula with a message of unity. He wants us to join under the one banner of Jesus Christ. Christ is calling all of us to unite through these the TLIG messages by way of love. However, he asks us all to bend. He reminds us that he would never break our human will. Therefore, he wants us to freely bend our wills so that we might choose unity, and in so doing, forge together our love and compassion in order to join under the one banner of Christ.
Now, this unity doesn’t in any way denigrate the independent rites of different denominations of the Orthodox, of the Protestants, or of the Catholics; it respects these rites. Such rites are encouraged to continue, but we are to join in our common belief. Why? Because Satan’s dictum is “divide and conquer”, whereas Jesus’ dictum is “unite and conquer”! So in uniting in one belief, we will stave off the impending disaster that threatens our world today and the faith of our children. If we unite, we will have more impact in the political world and in religious arena, and dispose ourselves for the era of peace that our Lady prophesied at Fatima.
Therefore, we can respect and eagerly embrace the iconography of the Eastern Orthodox Church, which they look to in many respects as a font of revelation, and to their profoundly rich patrimony of literature on “divinization” and mystical union with the Trinity; we can respect and embrace the scriptural contributions of the Protestants and their well-preserved charismatic gifts that enable us to deepen our faith and develop our gifts received in Confirmation. In sum, the Catholics, the Orthodox, the Protestants, all of us who are in God’s eyes Christian brothers, are asked by the Son of God himself to join NOW under the one banner of Jesus Christ. Without placing superiority or inferiority on these different roles that we all occupy in the Church, we can humbly acknowledge that we are all equal in God’s eyes, while carrying out different roles. And all we need to do is freely bend our human wills so that God’s Divine Will can reign in us. All it takes is two things: intention and desire; we have to have an intention to unite and a desire to make it happen. Then, little by little, we will begin to establish on earth the New Jerusalem, the New Heavens and the New Earth.
Given the foregoing, one can readily see that the True Life in God messages are part and parcel of the Church’s scriptural teachings and traditions. They are messages not meant for a thousand years ago, but for today! The way God spoke through his apostles and through his prophets, is now being spoken through the messages of Vassula. Let us thank God the Father for these revelations of his Son Jesus Christ through his secretary of True Life in God, Vassula Ryden, who writes under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and let us receive them with spirit of docility to the Spirit of truth who is speaking to his Church today. May God bless you.
Rev. J. L. Iannuzzi