Vassula in Abingdon, Cardiff and Belfast
September 19 - 21, 1997
The latest visit of Vassula in the UK happened almost two years after the November 1995 meeting in London. We had only two dates at our disposal, 19 5eptember for a meeting in Abingdon near Oxford and 20 September for Gardiff. The following day, early Sunday morning Vassula had to take a flight to Belfast where a meeting was scheduled for 3pm. Anne-Marie Peters, Ann Seaman and myself were going to Belfast also, where we wanted to promote the magazine and listen again to Vassula speak. Anne-Marie had an additional job of translating a part of Fr Theophil's speech from French into English.
Having listened to all three speeches I noticed how different they were. It was not only the content but also the scope and approach to each audience. In Abingdon, I felt Vassula felt most 'at home'. The venue was beautiful and beautifully prepared; an old Barn, consecrated and a venue of many religious gatherings. Vassula spoke softly, almost intimately, she was sharing her love of God and experiences with close friends; her insights which were encouraging us to greater sanctity were deep, yet simple, yet profound. Looking at the audience from time to time I felt as if the Holy Spirit was individually touching everyone. As one of the organizers I worried about the many people left standing, but when the speeches were over and it came to individual blessings and prayers it became obvious that it did not matter. The prayer ministry lasted well over two hours and everyone waited still standing! Many fell in the Spirit while Mary Harrison most beautifully sang praises to God.
The main thrust of Vassula's speech in Abingdon was on attaining closeness, intimacy with God, submitting our free will entirely to God and living, breathing for God, with God and being in God. Father Theophil compared Vassula's ministry to that of the prophet Elijah reminding us that his spirit is not dead, and then introduced St John the Apostle's physical expression of love; his head rested on Our Saviour's chest. This scene should be in our eyes helping us to remember where we are heading ourselves. Jesus Himself rests on His Father's bosom as the Bible teaches us (John 1:28 - end of that chapter). Love cannot be simply of words, an abstract intellectual concept; it is a reality of actions, feelings emotions; it is the outcome of the feelings of the heart. Fr Theophil reminded us that the source of our good actions and bad ones is the heart. It is in our heart that we sin or love. Examining our heart is therefore absolutely necessary in order to confront whatever is stopping us from travelling deeper into love and therefore towards God.
In Cardiff Vassula was different. She started her speech by sharing with the audience that Jesus asked her just before coming to 'allow Him' to speak through her. When the speech was over and the prayer ministry was over she asked us if we had noticed that she was hardly moving on the podium. She said she was rooted to the spot, her feet had not shifted for the duration of her speech. Normally, she would move her feet, if only to relieve the strain of standing far over an hour. Well, in Cardiff she was rooted to the floor. Thank you Jesus far giving us this visible sign of Your Presence among us, of Your Concern for us, of Your Desire to reach out to everyone.
Balfast was different in another way. It seemed to me as if there was only one subject God wanted Vassula to talk about in Belfast; it was Love. What is love? How do you show love? Do you desire to love? Do you think you really love? Each time Vassula would start on a new subject like prayer or unity she would come back with force to the understanding of love. Love, Love, Love. And then came the topic of the Holy Spirit. God seemed to be saying through her that we have gone a long, long way away from Love; that we do not realty have love in our hearts, but that there is God's mercy, His Love and if we want to change and ask for help the Holy Spirit will transform us 'so ask the Holy Spirit and He will divinise you'. Unfortunately, the organizers did not tape or video the meeting, but I shall never forget the stark, black background, no religious images just a small figure of Vassula with lights on her, in a vast modern theatre, begging everyone to reconsider, to turn to God the only way possible, through love, through our own desire to understand God's Love. When we overcome our own pride admitting that we have gone a long way away from God (even wlthin our Churches, our personal worship) we will be able to change because we will invite the Holy Spirit, the only one who can turn our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.
Oh, Lord we do love you, we beg forgiveness, we beg for the Holy Spirit to blot out the evil inclinations in us through opening of our eyes, our ears, our minds and our hearts to the reality of our intentions, our actions, our words. Come Holy Spirit, come! Maranatha!