Rhodes Retreat, September, 2010
The following is the complete text of a talk that Vassula gave to people who attended the most recent retreat in Rhodes, Greece. It also contains remarks given to the audience apart from the text. These remarks are enclosed in brackets.
[ I start with Matthew, chapter 5, verse 3, which is: ] "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Mt. 5:3)
"Blessed" because when we recognize in what condition is the poverty of our spirit, only then God can lift us high. "The humbler you get to be the easier My Holy Spirit can lift you," said the Lord in the Messages. When we lower ourselves to ground level and even annihilating ourselves, then God's favor is upon us. Therefore, we must never cease testing and examining our self because believing in our smugness and contentment with our self love can risk us from becoming distant from God but closer to the dark regions of the Devil.
[ And the dying part is the very difficult thing, because sometimes we ourselves don't see it but others see it, and it will be good for some kind of brotherly correction. You know like it will help out. And this is the ego. And I remember that Father Vincent from South Africa told us an anecdote. He said when a man dies, his ego dies ten minutes after. ]
During the majority of some people's lives, the Devil appears to leave them alone. They go their own way and live the lives they wish, oblivious to the fact that if there is a power for good in creation, its opposite also exists. In reality the Devil will not disturb us if we are living without God and keeping away from a prayerful life—unless we choose to denounce him by brushing up our lives and becoming God's own people. When we do take such actions we immediately appear on the Devil's radar.
People these days and even people I know often ignore the existence of God, but they also fail to realise the very real power of the Devil and his demons. This undoubted power of evil hates us to be in direct communion with God, with Jesus or with the Angels, and he will do almost anything to try and prevent God's will being done on Earth. [All that we have to do is to ignore God or to pretend that we are okay on our own and that we don't need moral or spiritual guidance.]
When the Lord said metaphorically that He drags the souls in the desert where he shows their sins to them and fills them with remorse to hate themselves, this experience on its own brings them to realize that God is above all things. From there on nothing more will count in their eyes as before; the things they thought and esteemed important suddenly become like ashes to them. They no longer desire them as before, in fact, they become unbearable to them, for so powerful is this sort of revelation of one's true self.
After they come to realise that God is 'all' love, 'all' compassion and 'all' understanding, and that He is our Father, and after God had brought them to a true repentance, the Devil who is a totally opposite force will show his fury to that soul that escaped him with rage and threats of destruction. He will wage war against them to gain them back by all sorts of methods up his sleeve. This is why it is advisable to be close to the Holy Sacraments of the Church and to turn our lives into an unceasing prayer. From the moment they were shown their sins and they repented they should try hard to resist temptation, in other words, to resist the Devil.
To most people these days the whole comprehension of the Devil seems like a medieval construct or a kind of superstition. But we must understand, as does anyone who eventually recognizes God, that aside from the way we portray the Devil there is no doubt of his reality and his presence in our world. The Devil pervades everything and is as present in our world as is the love of God. Indeed for many people he is more real.
True, we barely notice that the Devil is even around us, but that is his latest trick. His trick is to hide and come by us unnoticed pretending that he does not exist. However, when we look today at the rebellious spirit that has entered the hearts of God's creatures and how they have fallen in apostasy and how the world has turned more wicked, when one looks at these things with a spiritual eye, one cannot deny Satan's presence.
I came across the words of Father Marie-Eugene, who wrote a book entitled 'I am a Daughter of the Church.' In this book Father Marie-Eugene said: "What is at stake in this encounter between the human and the divine, the purity of God and the soul's impurity, is too important for the Devil not to intervene in it with all the power at this disposal."
I had learned [with experiences and I'm talking now really through experiences in these 25 years and especially in the beginning when Christ approached and I was being converted through purifications and you know my story, it is the soul very immature still, fragile and weak. So that is where the devil has his chance to attack and destroy everything before God accomplishes his plan in the soul.
And I had, as you read the True Life in God, several attacks obviously from Satan—to attack, to demoralize me, to annoy me, you know like burning my fingers when I was holding the pencil, with oil, and with blisters. And I was writing with the blisters and the blisters used to open. And then you know I remember that incident where I wanted to shut the door once, from one room to the other, and I shut the door and I felt something splash on my face. And then I opened to see what was this kind of liquid and it was one of those huge cockroaches they have in Bangladesh—squashed. And I heard him laughing and saying, "This is the way I baptize."
So you know physical attacks I had and many other things and, when you read True Life in God you realize until then, when the soul becomes stronger and nearer to God and more united with God and starting with the unceasing prayer, then it's more difficult for Satan but he'll never leave, he's always there at the heels. So what does he do, he raises persecutors to attack, because then it is easier for him to put misunderstandings, confusion in good people's minds, to start attacking, to demoralize me, and to destroy the message. So we know of all these signs I've gone through experiences. And it's not from books that I've learned Satan really exists.]
[And] I had learned that the devil carries another name too, he is called The Accuser, because in Judgment Day he will be accusing us of every sin we've done while Jesus would be justifying us. Today when I meet people and converse with them about these regions of good and evil, although I see some of them giving me a sign of disbelief by grinning at me I warn them to be very careful not to mess around and be deceived, thinking that the Devil does not exist.
[And I know also that even scientists want to prove to us that the devil does not exist and all sorts of things they do to prove. Well, of course, what do you expect, the devil hides more than ever to show them that he doesn't exist. So they can't win there. They think they can outsmart an evil spirit who is super smart and it's a spirit, it's not human.]
Sometimes we find extraordinary demonic activities going hand in hand with mental problems. The Devil is a great deceiver; he is a strategist and a legalist. If he finds an opening in us, if it is from our sinfulness or our faults or weaknesses, or if we are under a curse, he, as a legalist, will say that he has all the rights to do his dirty business in us and through us. Each natural weakness is like a magnet that can draw demons in us. Satan can use many different methods to catch us off our guard. He can come as an angel of light, and he can imitate God's action; but even though if he appeared and would be shaped like Jesus or an angel he cannot ever counterfeit the glory and the brightness that comes from God's presence.
[And he cannot, because it is in spite of him—I mean he cannot play as much as he can copy God and ape Him, he kind of suffocates not to give a little bit of himself in the end. So that is when he gives himself up.] It is known that Satan is like a wild dog that is tied and cannot approach you unless you approach him.
Anyone who snatches souls from him [through evangelizing], drawing them to God becomes a threat to him; this is one of the reasons why he never loses any occasion to aim at those souls. Very often he uses people for his purpose; out of nothing at all he can produce an act of accusation to utterly ruin the one he wants to strike. But this is not all; one of his most malicious acts is to suggest in the 'sleeping' soul all sorts of ideas that lead the soul into an agitation and a total unrest, wrenching out all peace within that soul, this why we must stay alert and close to God in prayer. Do not let him find you sleeping.
[So] why did I think of doing this retreat with this subject? I thought it is time to share with others the reality of good and evil, of angels and demons, because these are not a myth nor have they been invented by the Scriptures or any other holy book to fill up the cravings of people's lives, but Scriptures speak the truth.
[And especially why Rhodos, because way back I would say maybe 20 years ago or perhaps 18 years ago, I don't have the date, when Jesus spoke about this island. He said this island is the haven of Satan, not heaven, haven of Satan. And with time I started to see things, happenings. Once I was invited in a TV program—now, I'm not invited anymore because there's so much persecution, but still, in the beginning when they didn't really realize the messages that were here in this country, I spoke. And as I found out that many, many Greek people practice magic, here in Rhodos, especially.
They produce—it's a pact with Satan, because magic is like collaborating with Satan to use his power and many people do it without even realizing that it is really collaboration with Satan. They say we'll do some magic to this person, you know, my son married somebody I didn't like so I'll do some black magic on her to get rid of her, and they do that, and they produce and they see feathers and they see ashes and some strange things outside the doors and so they practice this, and when I spoke about this magic, that it is really a collaboration and a pact with the demons, like you are hand in hand with the devil—in the TV program.
When I went back to the hotel, because I was staying in a hotel then—we didn't have our house yet—and the girl or the lady rather, who was having a little shop in the hotel, saw me and she rushed to me, and said, "You know, I saw you on the TV and I saw you speaking about magic. I used to practice it often and now I realize when you spoke that this is really bad, and it's with Satan. I didn't know."
You know, first of all they are not very hot for God, and then they will go to church, but not every Sunday. They would go Easter, just for being good and having it good with God. It's more superstition I would say, than really out of love for, you know, out of their orthodoxy. I'm not saying everybody is like that. There are many good people, but there is also that, and the bad thing now is that it's so modern, it is now becoming very fashionable to start believing in the twelve gods again. So there are many, many Christian Orthodox who are leaving the Church and saying we have to believe in the gods of before. And when you talk about the real God, they start fighting with you with words.
So there are things which are not good, and you know in places like this, which are called a small, small place—it's not a big city—and everything is known, they do practice evil things. And, this is an island that really needs to be healed and delivered. This is why I have made also this retreat, because with our prayers it might help somehow.]
We have learned that quantities of angels fell, and later, man's soul fell as well and their fall brought misery, sin and death. If it were not for God who, under His command ordered light and light began, all of the spiritual world would have been in shambles, sucked away as asteroids are sucked and disappear in a black hole.
Many people in our days prefer not to talk or believe that hell exists as a place, lying to themselves and saying that hell is within us when we are evil or having a bad time. Saint Padre Pio once said to a man who told him that he did not believe that hell existed; he replied to him dryly, "You will believe when you'll be there." Hell was created after the fall of the angels, after the battle between Saint Michael and Lucifer with his adepts. That is their domain. To start with here, we have to believe in the spirit world, we have to believe in the supernatural, because it does not mean that the things we don't see with our bare eyes do not exist. Heaven and hell exist. We have been given and still are being given too many signs of the supernatural to normal people, not to lunatics, so that we ignore them and turn away from them.
[And remember in the very beginning when Jesus wanted to show me a vision about hell and then I saw, not everything because, you know, it's a vision. So it started and when he finished the message and the vision was over, He said, "I wanted you to see that so that you write it down, because there are many people who do not believe."]
The majority of people avoid discussing these matters and prefer to change the subject or close their ears. If they are afraid, it means they believe but do not want to approach the issue for various reasons.
On the 7th March 1987 our good Lord called me to give me a vision of hell, [which I just said]. He said, "I want you to write all of this down; I want My children to understand that their souls live and evil exists and seeks to ruin your souls."
During the past years I have learned an interesting thing, that a higher ranked demon can impose and give his orders to a lower ranked demon to obey his orders. Like e.g., when someone is possessed with low ranked demons and this person is exorcised the exorcist ordering the demons to leave, sometimes they don't leave immediately although they would like to go out of the person since remaining in that soul they do suffer as well, but they remain, since orders were given to them by higher ranked demons to stay put.
We have to be aware now that giving a foothold to Satan gives him the right to step in. People ask, "What foothold?" Sins. Every day accumulated sins, like lack of charity, hardness of heart, lack of forgiving, pride, hostility, calumny, slander, prejudice and arrogance. Satan as I said before is a legalist. Under these circumstances he will say, "Ah, now these are my favorite sins and I have the legal right to abide in these regions for they are mine!" But we can undermine him with confession. Confession is also a powerful act of exorcism.
Our life then, being aware that evil does exist, should be revolving around God and around divine love, because love unites the soul with God and is under His protection. A soul cannot live without God but takes its life from God; without God our table is empty but with God our table is full. Every person who desires salvation will feel the need to repent and God will listen to his repentance. We can be freed, healed and protected from the poison of sin and the evil one if we humble ourselves and realize that the only remedy to our evils and misfortunes is to change our hearts through repentance and to live a True Life in God.