Bishop Joäo Terra
The Message of the "True Life in God" and Pope Francis
In my opinion, the great theological charisma which Vassula possesses is to prepare the dialogue, or Christ's encounter with all humankind which, in all regions of the earth, is sincerely seeking God. Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a man who passes through life seeking a precious pearl (Mt. 13, 45).
Pope Francis in the Encyclical on faith, "Lumen Fidei", states that "the religious person is one who seeks to know God in the daily experiences of life (LF 35). An image of this search, are the Three Kings from the Orient being led by the star to the manger in Bethlehem (Mt. 2,1-12). The light of God manifested itself to them as the way; as a star that guides them along the path yet to be discovered... Hence, finding oneself along the way, the religious person must be ready to allow oneself to be led, to give up one's own self so as to encounter God who never ceases to astonish us. "Jesus' confession, as the one and only Savior, affirms that the Light of God concentrated itself in Him, in His "luminous life" by which He reveals the origin and the consummation of History" (LF #35). There is no human experience, no human itinerary for God which cannot be embraced, illuminated and purified by this light. The more one penetrates this open circle guided by the Light of Christ, even more so will one be able to comprehend and accompany the path of each person that leads to God (LF #35).
The focus of Pope Francis' Encyclical, which speaks of the value of the search for God in religions and of the polarization in Christ, the only Savior, is in complete attune with the writings of "True Life in God".
All of Vassula's efforts to encourage the dialogue of faith among the diverse christianities has now acquired a definite backing from the teachings in the Encyclical "Lumen Fidei". I will now transcribe some of the affirmations of paragraph #47 concerning "the unity and the intelligence of faith".
"Today it would appear to be quite realistic the union of Christians based upon a common commitment: through friendship, a sharing in the same successes having the same goals; but we still feel great difficulty in conceiving a unity in the same truth. It seems to us that a union of this kind would be in opposition to the freedom of thought and to the persons own autonomy. To the contrary, the experience of love tells us that it is possible for us to have a common vision precisely in the experience of love. Hence, we learn to see reality through the eyes of the other; and this, far from impoverishing us, enriches our way of seeing things. True love, in so far as divine love, demands truth and in the common understanding of truth, which is Jesus Christ, becomes firm and profound. This is also the joy of faith: the unity of a vision in one body and in one spirit. In this sense, Saint Leo the Great was able to affirm: "If faith is not one, it is not faith".
"What is the secret of this unity? 1) In first place, faith is one through God's Unity, known and professed. All articles of faith refer to Him; they are paths which lead us to the knowledge of His being and His action. In this way they possess a superior unity in regards to all else." (LF #47). 2) Next, faith is one because it directs itself to the One and Only Lord, to the life of Jesus, to the concrete history which He shares with us. (#47) 3) Finally, faith is one because it is shared by the entire church, which is one body and one spirit: in communion with the only subject which is the Church. Hence, we receive a common view. Confessing the same faith, we support ourselves on the same Spirit of love. In this way we shall radiate a one and only light having a one and only view in order to penetrate reality" (LF #47).
All efforts of the "True Life in God" for the purpose of fulfilling the Priestly Prayer of Christ: "Father, that they all may be one, as We are one" (Jn. 7), are now being affirmed by Pope Francis' first Encyclical "Lumen Fidei".
+ Joäo Evangelista Martins Terra, SJ
Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Brasilia-DF-Brazil Fone: + 55 61 3223.9452