Vassula in San Francisco
Report of Vassula's Meeting on May 21, 2004
Vassula made a one-day stop in San Francisco. Accompanied by her traveling companion Cecilia Lutz, she arrived from L.A. around 1 p.m. on Friday afternoon, May 21, and left early next morning at 6:15 a.m. to catch an 8 o’clock flight to Caracas, Venezuela. Truly a whistle stop but one packed with excitement and anticipation.
Two meetings were held: a meeting with clergy and religious in the afternoon from 3 to 5, and the public meeting in the evening from 7 - 9. Both events took place in the Cathedral Hill Hotel where she stayed.
Although over 20 invitations were sent to local church leaders such as Catholic, Orthodox, Episcopalian, Baptist, Lutheran and other Protestant denominations, the 13 participants of this meeting were all Roman Catholic. Except for three or four, they were mostly slightly acquainted with TLIG. In the intimacy of a small meeting room with everyone seated around a large round table, Vassula described the beginnings of her charism and discussed a variety of subjects in TLIG. After speaking for one and a half hours, she invited questions from the group and answered each with grace, clarity and patience. The meeting lasted a full 2 hours. If her schedule were not that tight no doubt she would have gone on even longer.
The meeting opened promptly at 7 p.m. with two TLIG songs by Armenian soprano Vergine Chakaryan. Each song was preceded by a recitation of the song’s TLIG message by Tigranuhi Markosyan, her Armenian interpreter. Sr. Josephine of the American Association followed with an inspiring introduction of Vassula, telling the people that they were "some of the world’s most fortunate people to be here tonight."
The Cathedral Hill Hotel’s Grand Ballroom was expanded to accommodate 1,000 people. It looked nearly full. The consensus was that about 900 people came. Many were new to TLIG. Some began arriving over 2 hours early to line up for a front seat. Some left work across the Bay two hours early to get there on time. People who had to be late because of work continued to come in well after the meeting had begun. All the clergy and religious who had met Vassula in the afternoon meeting also attended the evening meeting. Noticeable in religious garb were additional Catholic clergy and religious.
Vassula began by praying the Our Father in Aramaic with the audience, then talked for about nearly 1-1/2 hours. She concluded with a blessing over the people. Holding up her special crucifix, she said a prayer of healing and deliverance given by Jesus.
Instantaneous translation into Mandarin and Cantonese were provided unobtrusively via FM transmission by Wendy Ho and Stella Chan respectively. Steve Chan videotaped the meeting.
What did Vassula say?
Since Vassula saw that over half the people were new to the Messages, she spent some time talking about the beginning of the Messages. She explained the two ways in which God communicates with her: by inner locution in which she hears Him, and by infusion of intellect in which she understands what He is telling her without the utterance of speech. She described how tender and paternal the Father is, and how she gradually recognized Him as family and her "Source". In the first three years He personally taught her the faith in a special way. "The word of God would come like a ray of light." She compared it to a river that leads to many rivulets leading to many words of knowledge. Once transmitted, "it is sealed" and she never forgets it.
God told her to transmit the messages but not to insist. "Let those who have ears, hear...True Life in God walks on its own because it is God’s work".
Why the Sacred Heart
Jesus came to her, an Orthodox, as the Sacred Heart, which is Catholic. Much later she realized why. Firstly, to show that He does not differentiate one person from another. Secondly, "the language of the Sacred Heart is sweet and intimate, and this sweetness of God is missing in our times and in the Orthodox Church."
In asking Vassula to revive, unite and embellish His house, Jesus wanted Vassula to remain "a nothing." He wants no rivals within us. Vassula told us that the biggest rival is our own will competing with God’s will. To know God’s will, we have to die to ourselves, in Jesus’ word, "annihilate" ourselves. This will create space (kenosis) in our souls for the Holy Spirit to breathe in us. But first, we must repent. True repentance is repenting according to the way God wants us to repent. The more sincere it is, the more unworthy we feel, and the more space (kenosis) is provided for the Holy Spirit "to invade" and "transfigure" us.
Three Levels of Transfiguration
"From a desert my Holy Spirit can transfigure your soul into a garden where I can have my rest in you. My Holy Spirit can transfigure your soul into a palace where I can be King and reign over you. My Holy Spirit can transfigure your soul into a heaven where in this heaven you will be able to glorify Me."
In these words Vassula realized later that Jesus was referring to three levels in the transfiguration of souls. The first is to be "detached", abandoning ourselves to God; the second is to be "dispassionate", not to have passions; and the third is the virtue of "impassibility", dying to all passions and all carnal thoughts. Known as the "angelic virtue", to possess this virtue is to be like angels on earth. "It is all light." In this transfiguration the Holy Spirit "will give us such light that we will shine from within and without and all our acts will become divine. All our sayings will be according to God’s mind. All that we think will be according to Jesus’ thoughts". And "that is why you can rule with Me (Us - the Holy Trinity) even while still on earth."
Other topics that Vassula talked about included the following:
- The need to love God and do everything with love; the practice of "we, us" and the desire for God as unceasing prayer; and looking upon God as our Holy Companion.
- Our Times - the End Times, which is characterized by apostasy and rebellion is also a time of mercy and a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
- The Second Pentecost has already begun. It came slowly, in a "natural" way as opposed to flaming tongues landing on our heads. It can be detected in the way people are now thirsting for God; and how by the Holy Spirit’s grace alone, a "dead" soul can be resurrected and inflamed to become an apostle of God, like the Samaritan woman. Vassula compared the conversions of souls, which is the biggest prodigy of all, to the water of an incoming tide that first laps around the ankles, then rises to the knees and later wells up to reach the waist, until it covers ALL creation - Christians and non-Christians alike.
- The image of the cracked cistern. When we were born, we were filled with the sweetness of God like a cistern full of water. But the cistern soon developed cracks and loses its water. We must repair it by acts of reparation. (Odes of the Holy Trinity, p. 10 )
- Why we pray and pray and there’s no answer to our prayers. Vassula gave "a small message from the Lord (July 8, 1989) that would help us".:
"Come, you who err still in this wilderness, saying: "I have sought My Redeemer, but I have not found Him."; find Me, My beloved, in purity of heart, by loving Me without self-interest; find Me in holiness, in the abandonment I desire of you; find Me by observing My Commandments; find Me by replacing evil with love, find Me in simplicity of heart; sin no more; cease in doing evil; learn to do good; search for justice; help the oppressed; let this wilderness and this aridity exult; let your tepidness enflame into an ardent flame; relinquish your apathy and replace it by fervor; do all these things so that you may be able to say: "I have sought my Redeemer and I have found Him, He was near me all the time but in my darkness I failed to see Him; O Glory be to God! Blessed be our Lord! how could I have been so blind?" I shall then remind you to keep and treasure My Principles, so that you may live."
Change of heart must accompany acts of devotion. "For those who pray and pray, going to Mass, sometimes twice a day, say the full Rosary and fast often, they are all in vain if the heart does not change. God wants a simple heart, contrite, without malice and filled with goodness."
Vassula concluded with an exhortation to those who desire to read the Messages to promise Jesus to LIVE them, just as we read the Scriptures and live them. "The Messages are a re-spelling of the Gospel," she said.
Vassula on TV
Taking advantage of free access to San Francisco’s community access television (Cable Channel 29), we put Vassula on TV. We prepared a half-hour special from the first portion of Trinitas’ Video One, superimposing a subtitle about the upcoming Vassula meeting. The special was broadcast (to San Francisco viewers only) altogether twelve (12) times in the two months leading up to the meeting, at all sorts of hours on both weekdays and weekends. In each show, the subtitle publicizing the Vassula Meeting flashed on the screen every ten minutes.
To publicize the showtimes of the TV special we emailed friends, told bookstore customers, posted showtimes on the store window, and included this information when mailing flyers or tickets to people living in the City.
The results were very positive. One viewer called only after watching 20 minutes of the program. Another called after having caught only the last 5-10 minutes. Still another wrote: "I saw her on television and found her message to be very interesting, to say the least! Please send me what information will help me get seats for this fine event."
We are very grateful to several "anonymous" workers for their spontaneity and initiative in supporting and working for the meeting. Unknown to us, a TLIG reader active in prayer group formation in Eugene Oregon had run an ad in their local newspaper. Sr. Veronica Brutosky of Fresno (4 hours away) faxed flyers and sent email’s to scores of religious sisters in the Bay Area. A member of her prayer group even spent his own money to run an ad in the Fresno Bee about the LA and SF meetings. In SF, we discovered that other people had xeroxed copies of our flyers to post on their own church bulletin boards. On SF’s free community access channel-29, we spotted an announcement of Vassula’s meeting on an Assyrian TV program! It turned out that the program producer, an Assyrian Catholic, was on our mailing list as a one-time customer several years ago.
Where did the audience come from?
They came from nearly every neighborhood in San Francisco, thanks to those churches that allowed our flyers. Many came from the South Bay and East Bay cities also, some asking their grown-up sons and daughters and in-laws to drive them into the City at night. Since the meeting was held in downtown San Francisco on Friday night, many office workers who commute into the City stayed behind work to attend. As a result a good proportion of the audience was working age young adults.
From outside the Bay Area, a busload of 20 came from the Central Valley, 3 hours away, pooling all the money they had for gas. Several families flew in from Oregon. A long-time TLIG reader flew in from Atlanta. Internationally, a man enroute to Brazil learnt about TLIG from Sr. Josephine on the plane, and in a stopover in San Jose came up to hear Vassula in San Francisco! At the meeting there were also a married couple from India who had attended Vassula meetings before in their country, and a Frenchman on business for a month from France who knew of Vassula but had not yet seen her. The Frenchman walked into the bookstore at noon holding a flyer from a downtown church, the one that both posted up our flyer and allowed us to deposit them for distribution. Many of the newcomers to TLIG that night came "through" that church.
How did they react?
With advance registration, we knew beforehand that most of the people coming were new to TLIG, or had only heard of Vassula’s name but not done anything about it because of recent church opposition, or were reading TLIG (through evangelizing in the bookstore) but would be seeing Vassula in person for the first time. The thrill of expectancy was palpable.
At the meeting, the people were inspired, deeply touched, overjoyed, enthused, excited, spirited, euphoric! After Vassula had started speaking, one man was observed calling his friend on his cell phone to come over right away and hear her. We received profuse and repeated thanks from right and left, before and after. It was amazing. Our prayers for the meeting were answered beyond our wildest dreams.
- "Thank you so much for telling me about Vassula!"
- From those who had been reading TLIG these years, "Thank you so much bringing her to San Francisco. I never thought I’d be so blessed to ever see her!"
- "When is she coming again? Here is my business card. Put me on your mailing list."
- "I had left the church for a long time and returned to it three years ago after undergoing a crisis. I began to read Scripture in a new way. What Vassula said that night is exactly what I now understand Scripture to be saying."
- From a devout, contemplative, and theologically well-read Catholic who has always doubted the Messages even after reading (in Vol. 12) all the documents related to Cardinal Ratzinger’s re-evaluation, "There is a lot I have to learn."
- "She spoke to me like a SISTER!"
- From a man coming into the bookstore a day later who bought some audiotapes, as he did not read books very well, "When I attended talks by other people I could never make out what they were talking about. Vassula is different. Her talk was so simple. I understood what she was saying! I understood what she told me that God expects of me, and the wonderful thing is, it is something I can do!"
- From a doubter of seven years, who had read the first two volumes, "Frankly, I had my doubts before the meeting, but the minute she started speaking, I knew it was God’s Message."
- From someone who had stopped going to church, "I didn’t know, until Vassula told us, that God is actually so fond of us. I’d always thought of Him as stern and forbidding."
- From some who remained unmoved after years of evangelizing and who even after going to the talk, was not totally convinced that TLIG was for her, "It was VERY GOOD! I enjoyed it. She is an EXCELLENT SPEAKER!" and "I now know how to say the "Our Father" when I pray it at night, VERY SLOWLY and putting all my heart into EVERY WORD I say."
Whatever grace each soul received at the meeting, God tailored it just so perfectly. On behalf of everyone in the prayer groups in the San Francisco Bay Area, and everyone who came, we want to express our warmest and most heartfelt thanks to Vassula for bringing Jesus here, teaching us so many truths, and speaking to us "like a sister" -- like family. THANK YOU, Vassula! We are also very grateful to Cecilia Lutz, her traveling companion, who quietly and unassumingly gave us help and direction at both the clergy and public meetings.
All Thanks, and All Glory Be to God!
Steve and Stella Chan
San Francisco, U.S.A.