Vassula's Answers the CDF through Fr. Prospero Grech
Question 1: Relationship between TLIG and Revelation.
You know very well that, for both Catholics and Orthodox there is only one Revelation that of God in Jesus Christ, which is contained in the Holy Scriptures and in Tradition. Within the Catholic Church even accepted "private revelations" as in Lourdes or Fatima, although taken seriously, are not matters of faith. In which sense, therefore, do you define your writings as revelations and how should they be accepted by your hearers and readers?
I never had any lessons of catechism let alone theology, nor did I know of any theological nuances as the ones mentioned above at the beginning of my call and my conversion. I was taught these differences gradually as the gentle guidance of the Holy Spirit proceeded. In the very beginning of this call, I was very confused and early, during the manifestation of my angel, this is what I said: "But I can't understand. We have already the Bible, so why do we need messages?" My angel replied: "So you do feel that all has been given in the Bible?" I responded: "Yes. That is why I do not see the reason of all this. I mean nothing is new." Then the angel said: "God wants these messages to be given." I said: "Is there a special reason why me?" The angel responded: "No. God loves you all. These messages are just a reminder to remind you how your foundations begun" (07.08.1986).
A Protestant minister once said to me that there is no reason why God would want to speak to us now that we have the Holy Bible. Confused, I said to Christ: "Lord, there are some ministers who refuse to hear or believe that You can manifest Yourself like this, through me, they say that You, Jesus, have brought us all the truth and they need nothing else but the Holy Bible, in other words all these works are false." The response of Christ was the following:
I have said to you all that the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you. I am not giving you any new doctrine, I am only reminding you of the truth and leading those who wandered astray back to the complete truth. I, the Lord, will keep stirring you up with Reminders and My Holy Spirit, the Advocate, will always be among you as the Reminder of My Word. So do not be astonished when My Holy Spirit speaks to you - these reminders are given by My Grace to convert you and to remind you of My Ways (20.12.1988).
Another passage 11 years later our Lord asked me to write the following:
All of these messages come from on high and are inspired by Me. They can profitably be used for teaching and for refuting error. They can be used for guiding the church into unity and for guiding people's lives and teaching them to be holy. They are given to you for a better explanation 1 to the Revelation 2 given to you. They are an inexhaustible source of amazing grace for you all to renew you (30.07.1999).
I believe that there is but one Revelation and I never said the contrary, nor do you find this in the writings. I do not expect the readers of TLIG to take the messages for more than Holy Scripture and I am sure that nothing in the TLIG books can induce all those who hear and read me to think in another way. In fact in my witnessing I quote all the time many passages from the Scriptures, sometimes even more than the messages themselves. Within the messages there is a clear and continuous insistence of focusing on the Holy Bible and of living by its truth. The writings are an actualisation and a reminder of the one and only Revelation in Christ, held in Scripture and Tradition, transmitted through the church; they are but an appeal to this Revelation. In fact, these writings never affected readers to take them above the Scriptures, but testimonies shed that they helped them to understand much better the Word of God. Yet, we know that God can remind us of His blessed Word when He knows it is necessary for the benefit of the church. Favours of this kind, for a favour it is, illumine or make manifest a truth already known, giving a better understanding of it.
One could ask then, why did God call someone so limited and unworthy, totally disinterested and ignorant in church matters, who never aspired for God, to receive a "reminder of His Word?" Are not the priests and theologians called to do the same? Yes, I believe they are, and I, in no way ever intended to compete with the priests and theologians that God has called to do their duty; yet, I do believe that God has called me unexpectedly by a direct action from His part.
I have recently learnt that the second Vatican Council has underlined how important it is that the laity contributes to spreading the Good News through the various gifts God bestows upon His Church. In Lumen Gentium, the Council clearly states that the laity participates in the prophetic office of Christ and that Christ "fulfils this office, not only by the hierarchy but also by the laity. He accordingly both establishes them as witnesses and provides them with the sense of the faith (sensus fidei) and the grace of the word" (LG 35). Every lay-person, therefore, has a part to play in this service of the Gospel according to the charism God has given him or her and through those gifts he or she is at once the witness and the living instrument of the mission of the church itself, "according to the measure of Christ's bestowal."
In most Classic works of Catholic Fundamental Theology there is a distinction between Revelation as a concept of reflection (Revelation with capital R) and revelation as a concept of experience (revelation with minor r, often revelations in plural). When I speak of my humble experience as "revelation", I speak of revelation with a minor "r" from the experiential point of view.
I do not speak of my experience as revelation from a doctrinal point of view in any way wanting to compete with Revelation. Just as with other "private revelations" or "prophetic revelations" my work adds nothing to the Deposit of Faith. On the contrary, God's calling to me aims at pointing to the fullness of the truth of the Deposit of Faith, to enter more fully into and live by this truth.
The constitution Dei Verbum of the Second Vatican Council has made it clear that the Public Revelation is complete and perfect and that "no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord, Jesus Christ" (Dei Verbum 4). On the other hand, Dei Verbum also makes it clear that the people of God constantly needs to deepen the appreciation of this truth:
The Tradition that comes from the apostles makes progress in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. There is a growth in insight into the realities and words that are being passed on. This comes about in various ways. It comes through contemplation and study of believers who ponder these things in their hearts (cf. Lk. 2:19 and 51). It comes from the intimate sense of spiritual realities which they experience. And it comes from the preaching of those who have received, along with their right of succession in the episcopate, the sure charism of truth. Thus, as the centuries go by, the Church is always advancing towards the plenitude of divine truth, until eventually the words of God are fulfilled in her (Dei Verbum 8).
His Eminence, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has said very explicitly on the relationship between Christian prophecy and Revelation that the thesis that prophecy should end with the completion of Revelation in Christ harbours misunderstandings. His position was phrased in an interview on Christian prophecy and again in a commentary to the disclosure of the Third Secret of Fatima. I allow myself to quote him directly from the interview:
The Revelation is essentially God who gives himself to us, who constructs history with us and who reunites us gathering us all together. It is the unfolding of an encounter that has also an inherent communicative dimension and a cognitive structure. This also carries implications for knowledge of the truth of Revelation. Understood in the proper way, the Revelation has attained its goal with Christ because - in those beautiful words of Saint John of the Cross - when God has spoken personally there is nothing more to add. Nothing more about the Logos can be said. He is among us in a complete way and God has nothing greater to give us, to say to us than Himself. But this very wholeness of God's giving of himself - that is, that He, the Logos, is present in the flesh - also means that we must continue to penetrate this Mystery. This brings us back to the structure of hope. The coming of Christ is the beginning of an ever-deepening knowledge and of a gradual discovery of what, in the Logos, is being given. Thus, a new way is inaugurated of leading man into the whole truth, as Jesus puts it in the Gospel of John when he says that the Holy Spirit will come down. I believe that the pneumatological Christology of Jesus' leave-taking discourse is very important to our theme given that Christ explains that his coming in the flesh was just a first step. The real coming will happen when Christ is no longer bound to a place or to a body locally limited but when he comes to all of us in the Spirit as the Risen One, so that entering into the truth may also acquire more and more profundity. It seems clear to me that - considering that the time of the church, that is, the time when Christ comes to us in Spirit is determined by this very pneumatological Christology - the prophetic element, as element of hope and appeal, cannot naturally be lacking or allowed to fade away (30 Giorni, January 1999).
In the same manner, I do not claim in any way, a status or an authority of my writings coming close to Holy Scripture. The Holy Bible is inspired in an infallible way. I humbly believe that the Lord touched me to journey with Him through a direct action in my soul assisting me when called to write, but it is not inspiration in the same sense as Scripture is and the result is not infallibility, but this does not mean either that there should be doctrinal errors in my writings, which I am assured there are not.
In Fr. Marie-Eugne's book I am a Daughter of the Church, he reminds us how God can adapt Himself to the soul:
God's direct action, being thus grounded in the human of which it makes use, is marvellously adapted to the psychological life of the soul. This adaptation of God should be underlined as an important characteristic of His interventions. God, who consents to speak the language of human signs to give us His light, pushes condescendence to the point of adapting Himself to our temperaments and our particular needs in the choice of these signs, so as to reach us more surely. For a faith that has kept its purity and its simplicity, He will speak in a language of external brilliant signs that will make faith vibrate. For a faith that rationalism has rendered prudent and critical, He will have a more intellectual language. 3
Cardinal Ratzinger has said, "that being able to set oneself up as the word and image of interior contact with God, even in the case of authentic mysticism, always depends on the possibilities of the human soul and its limitations". I thus experience the Word of God without effort, in other words, without me forcing anything, it just comes. I receive these communications (interior words) namely in two forms. Please note here that in no way I intend to say I know perfectly well how to express this phenomenon and how God can do such things, but this explanation below is the best I can do:
1. Through the intervention of interior words, namely locutions. The words I perceive are substantial ones, much clearer than were I to hear them through my ears. One single word alone may contain a world of meaning such as the understanding on its own could never put rapidly into human language. Any divine word or instruction given to teach me, will not be in the manner of school teaching, that perhaps due to limited time cannot be wholly explained all at once, or because of human frailty may be forgotten, or even not quite understood. But the divine instruction or the word given, will be given in such lapse of time and engraved in the mind in such a way that it will be difficult to forget. The light it spreads is so vast, just like a bright light that sheds far and wide, giving you a wealth of knowledge instantly more than just the word itself. The word given is like a wide river that breaks into other rivulets leading you everywhere and in different places but always coming from the one river. Any normal teaching in a school would have taken me months to learn. While I experience the words so strongly, I am equally aware that the written form and the way I should express the words still depends on my limited capacities of language and expression.
2. The second way I receive the words of God is through a light of understanding in my intellect without any utterance of speech. It is like God transmits His thought into mine. I would immediately know what God wants, or wishes to say. Then I have to write down this "non-expressed message" as well as I could by selecting my own words.
I have been told later here in Rome, that St. Bridget of Sweden had similar ways of writing down her messages.
Why the Lord chose this special form of writing down the messages to which He even seizes my hand? I really do not know. The Lord just told me when I asked him why: "Because I like it in this way". So I do not know how this happens. I would like to point out though that theologians who are also expert graphologists and who have investigated the writings called them "hieratic", describing many groundbreaking differences between the way I write and the so-called automatic writing. I have later come to know that known mystics such as Theresa of Avila experienced raptures of her body or sometimes part of her body. I believe this to be a mitigated form of rapture of my hand and trust that the Lord has his own purposes in this.
1 I heard at the same time the word "understanding".
2 The Holy Bible
3 Fr. Marie-Eugène, O.C.D.. I am a daughter of the Church, Vol. II, Chicago, 1955. p. 283.