Vassula experiences the Passion of Jesus
On June 12,1993, prior to the conference at which Father Ljudevic Rupcic OFM (theologian and teacher of exegesis in Sarajevo; he had the courage to publish, in 1983, in Yugoslavia, under the communist government, 'The Apparition of Our Lady in Medjugorje', the first book published about these apparitions) was another speaker, Vassula Ryden, Father Michael O'Carroll, Mrs. Christine Lynch, publisher of the English Printed edition, Mr. Pat Callahan of Trinitas, publisher of the original handwritten edition and Mr. John Lynch met in Vassula's hotel room to discuss policies concerning the distribution of the Messages of True Life in God.
Vassula's experience began almost immediately at the start of the meeting. Vassula's own account of her experience is followed by accounts by Father Michael , Pat Callahan and Chris Lynch. (These accounts have been edited for this internet publication)
Prior to the meeting, Vassula had received this message from Jesus: June 11, 1993
They were discussing as the meeting started and I was listening. After around ten minutes their voices started to disturb my soul and were becoming heavy and painful, hurting my soul. An image struck me of how far everyone, including me, is from sanctity and how peace was missing within each soul.
Sorrow started to creep in me to the point that I felt great agony. I leaned toward Father Michael O'Carroll and whispered in his ear that I was not feeling well. At that moment he asked Pat Callahan to be with me while he left to pick up a document from his hotel room.
A few seconds after the agony reached its peak I found myself sinking and Pat helped me onto the floor, tormented. My soul was in great pain and I wept bitterly. I was pinned to the floor, because Jesus took over my whole being so that I felt what He felt as He acted and spoke through me. My body weight changed, becoming heavy as lead, although I myself did not feel the change.
I felt how the whole world was gnawing on Christ's Body. I experienced the whole world gnawing on Christ's Body. I felt Peace was missing from each person and that, instead of lifting our heads to look at Christ, we were all very busy tearing upon one another and ignoring His Holy Presence standing in our midst.
I saw how the world is being deceived, even those who are close to Christ and how love is missing. I felt how the Holy One is ignored because we are too busy being mean and spiteful to one another. I felt the wickedness of the world and the rejoicing at harming one another. I felt all this scourging and recrucifying Christ. The contrast of His Holy Countenance with our stained soul was striking! How far we all are from holiness and purity.
Then Jesus spoke through my mouth. A supplicating "Peace" was repeated over and over again while His Body was being gnawed by our cruelty. Sometimes the word came out in low whispers. Then I felt crucified. The agony of the crucifixion crept into or upon me. I do not remember for how long. I remember that my body took the death position. Head bowed to the chest with bent shoulders, which were lifted from the floor and remained in that position for a very long time. My wrists were pinned to the floor all that time. Coming out of this, I felt like someone was lifting my right hand and shaping it in a Byzantine benediction cross. I felt a power greater than I facilitating me to do the blessing, apparently on each person who was present. I could not remember this detail. When this was going on, I experienced peace and no agony.
Once this was over, I felt the agony creeping again in my soul and Christ's pain fully overtook me. I remember from lying flat on the ground how I suddenly found myself sitting up and I think I wailed loudly. Then I was thrust backwards again. My hands were being placed together as for prayer. Then I heard myself, while weeping, very slowly praying the Our Father. Every word that came out of my mouth had a space of two or three seconds in between. Every word was uttered with great difficulty and my voice was hardly audible. I remember that just before saying the words: "but deliver us from evil"... I felt as though my body was being torn into pieces and the sorrow was so intensified that I thought I would die.
Immediately after the prayer, I felt a longing for the Father. And I found myself searching for Him. My lips were uttering several times: "Abba?" Like: "Where are You?"
I thought everything was finished. The agony left me and I whispered Pat's name. He leaned toward me and put his ear near my lips since my voice was hardly audible. I asked him to lift me and place me on a chair because I had heard Father O'Carroll say that they should lift me onto the bed. So Pat tried to lift me into a sitting position first and I could see how hard he was trying, to the point that he was shaking from the effort, yet he could not lift me, not even a centimeter from the ground. I understood, from previous experiences, that Christ was still holding me. I must have asked twice or three times more, every few minutes, for them to lift me. But they failed. Father O'Carroll tried alone, and he failed.
I smiled because they seemed so utterly lost in the face of the supernatural. They decided that both of them would lift together, and still they could not succeed. Almost immediately, I myself, without much effort, sat up. My movements were very slow. I had no voice. They brought me some tea. I slowly poured myself some tea but could not manage to drink. I realized that Jesus held me still and before very long I collapsed again in the Crucified's position. I went through the crucifixion for the second time. At the end I signaled to Pat with my eyes since I could not move. My mouth was dry and my lips felt like parchment. I asked Pat to moisten my lips. He did this by dipping his finger in liquid, then wet my lips. He did it several times to relieve my thirst.
I think my hand was once more lifted and formed into the Byzantine blessing. When my eyes met Father Rupcic's, (see Pat Callahan's account) again my hand was used to bless him. Then Jesus spoke through my lips and prophesied:
Tell Father Rupcic that the Croatians will be delivered in the
end. All is not in vain.Everything hereto is for My Glory.
When everything was over, I was again alright and I had no "after effects".
(On Thursday, June 17, 1993, while traveling in the Philippines I received an experience of the stigmata in the right foot, where it remains today.)
Father Michael O'Carroll's Account
The meeting opened at 10am. Almost immediately Vassula turned to me and whispered, "I'm not feeling well." I mentioned this to the others, assuming that they would await the outcome and left the room for a few minutes. When I returned I saw that Vassula had collapsed into Pat Callahan's arms. Next she was lying on the floor. I had seen Vassula endure the Passion at least twice, once in Switzerland and once in Pittsburgh. The experience had not occurred in the last 18 months. But I recognized its recurrence, noting the features I had seen previously: a searching look in the eyes with the whole face strained, the arms held upward, occasional writhing motions of the whole body, accompanied by cries of anguish or moans. This time she was weeping occasionally.
Some of us were moved to tears. Pat Callahan knelt beside Vassula and wrote as she spoke. 'Peace' was repeated several times. There was a message for Father Ljudevit Rupcic, OFM, and a message for the Conference. Thinking of previous experiences, as Vassula seemed to come out of the experience, I suggested offering her some tea. She took a little. Then unexpectedly she told Pat the experience would recommence. This happened. Mrs. Lynch returned to the sales area. Later John joined her.
Pat and I moistened Vassula's lips with tea drops or water which she accepted. Each separately and both together we tried to raise Vassula from the floor. In the construction business Pat has had experience lifting objects weighing several hundred pounds. We could not even stir Vassula's body though she agreed to our efforts; she is very lightly built and could normally be easily carried. As our efforts failed she smiled humorously and I had the feeling that she was almost teasing me as to imply "keep trying".
Pat thought that in her body the Saviour was weighed down by the sins of the world. When the experience was finished, Vassula, with little noticeable effort, raised herself to a sitting position and reoccupied her chair. Pat estimates the duration of the experience at over three hours. We persuaded Vassula to take a little lunch. She was ready to give her hour long talk to the Conference at 4pm.
Pat Callahan's Account
We gathered in Vassula's room to discuss publishing procedures for the True Life in God messages. At the beginning of the meeting Vassula mentioned that she was not feeling well. Father O'Carroll went to his room to pick up some papers. Vassula looked at me and asked me to come near, saying, "Pat, will you stay close, I am not feeling well." She slumped forward as if she were going to faint. I moved toward her to be of assistance. And as I did, she began to fall forward. I reached out to break her fall, and lowered her to the floor. She was obviously in pain.
As we stood there by her, she began to moan and weep in a distressed, soft, pained way. Her pain became so severe the great distress her body was experiencing became quite evident. It was as if she could hardly encompass or incorporate the intense pain. Her body writhed in the agony. I am not clear how long this lasted.
She began to twist from side to side in response to the pain, her movements became more violent, almost as if she was being handled in some way and trying to escape from it. Then, rather suddenly, her arms were slung back as if put upon the cross. With her hands and arms fixed, her head and her torso moved back and forth in great pain. Her torso from her hips up came off the floor six to eight inches and her head would bend over her left shoulder. She was raised to this position, with her hands, as it were, pinned to the floor. Her feet were together side by side, her left knee was bent a little, and her right knee bent and slightly raised.
It was unreal that we could be witnessing what seemed to have the qualities of the Lord's Passion. With the torso being off the floor, an image I saw was of one being on the cross. Her moans and cries of agony were interrupted at times with the words, "peace ... peace...peace." (repeated many times). I do not know how long this lasted but her body stopped moving and she hung there suspended off the floor as I described.
At some point later her torso was again flat on the floor and she raised both hands. Her eyes opened and her face became radiant in a manner I had not seen before. She called out very softly "Abba" with her hands raised. Her lips moved as if talking but I heard nothing. She became quiet again but I could tell she was still suffering. At one point she kind of hung her head to the left and became very still, almost as if dead.
She uttered, hardly audibly, the words, "I am thirsty." Father O'Carroll got a glass of water to give her a drink but she could not take it. I was kneeling behind her right shoulder. She was laying with her arms outstretched and appeared to be in less pain. She raised her hand in the form of a blessing - holding her fingers like Jesus is sometimes depicted giving a blessing. She then very slowly blessed each of us. Very agonizingly and determinedly, as she moved her right arm, she would point at each person, but never look at them. I had the awareness as though Jesus was blessing us from the Cross. She became still, crossed her hands and laid them high on her stomach. She laid very still, with her eyes open. At this point one of the party had to leave.
I then moved to kneel below her feet on her right side. She continued to lay still for awhile. She turned her head slightly to look at me as if to say something. I leaned over and bent down to hear her. She asked me to help her sit up. It appeared that her suffering was about over. I placed one hand under her left shoulder and the other under her right shoulder to lift her, but as I tried, I discovered I could not move her. This was a very strange sensation. It was like I was trying to lift a live force, not like lifting something heavy, which I have done before in the construction business. Vassula looked me in the eyes as if she knew I could not lift her and she could not assist me. Then a little grin came over her face, so I knelt back. I did not understand the meaning of this grin at the time.
I moved near her feet. Several times she asked me (softly and barely audibly) to help her sit up. Each time, I tried and could not help her, and each time the little grin came momentarily over her face. I asked myself what this grin could mean. It was as though the Lord was telling me: "How very little you can do without My help. You cannot even help one so small to sit up." It was also an affirmation, as if the Lord wanted me to know "It's okay. You don't have to do everything because I have everything in the palm of My hand. Relax and be at peace."
Father O'Carroll moved to a bench nearby. She again asked for help to sit up. Even with both of us helping her, we could not budge her. And again, it was a different sensation than trying to lift something very heavy in dead weight, but rather liffing a living force. Shortly after Father O'Carroll and I tried to lift her, she, on her own accord, lifted one arm and sat up. It was as though the Lord was reminding us that "Everything is in My time. You can do little until you receive My help, My assistance."
As Vassula sat on the floor, she appeared to be very, very weak. We pulled a chair over and Father O'Carroll offered her a cup of tea. He explained to me that sometimes she likes a little tea after this kind of experience. We assisted her to the chair by the table. She sat there, very quiet and still, slumped over in her chair. After the tea was ordered, I looked at my watch. It was about 12:15 P.M. When the tea arrived, we offered it to her, but she could not hold the cup. We offered her some with a spoon, but she did not take it. She appeared to be very weak. Thinking that the Passion experience had ended, Father O'Carroll returned to his room. I believe John also left.
I again tried to assist Vassula with her tea, she looked at me and said, "Pat, I don't believe it is over yet." or words similar to that. And immediately she slumped forward a second time, as if she were about to fall off the chair. So again, I reached out to break her fall and lowered her to the floor. She experienced much the same as the first time, but not as long and not as severe. There was moaning, crying and deep, desperate weeping. She was stretched out again, like on the cross, in much agony and torment. After a while she looked at me. I knew she wanted to say something. Very softly, very gently, she said, "I am thirsty."
I remembered Father O'Carroll's first efforts to give her a drink from a glass and then remembered nursing family members and how we would moisten a cotton swab and rub their lips. We had no swab so I took my finger and moistened her lips (Our Lord's lips). As I sat back on my heels and knelt there silent, words from the messages came to me: "My lips are parched for lack of love." I became overwhelmed with sorrow. My first awareness was how little love we give to our Lord. Then it really came to me! How little love I give to My Lord! Yet how great is the love and tenderness that He has for me and for each of us. I became aware of the profound yet simple gift that He was giving to me to moisten 'His' parched lips, such a small act of love and kindness. Still He let me be aware of how important it was to Him.
As I raised my eyes I realized Vassula was looking at me as if to tell me something else. I bent low to hear her. She gave me a message for Father Rupcic. Speaking very softly and slowly she said, "Tell Father Rupcic that the Croatians will be delivered in the end." When she started to say something else I reached for paper to record it. She began: "All is not in vain. Everything hereto is for My Glory." She began speaking very softly and slowly, but gradually she spoke faster and faster, I became flustered trying to keep up with her. I started writing the fourth message: "Blessed are the Peacemakers ... (then I missed part of this ... They shall see God.)" The fifth message was "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God, too." Then the sixth message, "Blessed are ... (I missed the rest)." The final message I did get down. It was, "Rejoice! for your King is on the road of return. Salvation is at hand!" She was still in great pain as she was speaking. I continued kneeling there.
As I handed the message to Father O'Carroll he turned to answer a knock on the door. It was Father Rupcic. The two priests visited in the hallway for a few minutes while I stayed kneeling by Vassula. She said, "Ask Father Rupcic to come in." Then she asked me to read this message to him: "Tell Father Rupcic that the Croatians will be delivered in the end." He was off to the right of Vassula, at an angle. She was looking straight ahead.
When she was in this state, her face took on a different appearance - radiant, ecstatic, a very beautiful appearance; a mixture of joy and pain, perhaps transfigured. Her eyes were wide open and looking straight ahead. Shortly after I read the message to Father Rupcic she raised her hand in his direction, and blessed him (Jesus blessed him) in the same very slow, deliberate way as before, looking straight ahead, not at Father.
A little while later, Father Rupcic left the room with the papers the messages were on. He later returned and gave me the messages after removing the one that was for him.
Vassula's passion experience continued with what appeared to be excruciating pain and agony, first with arms stretched; and then folded across her chest, her eyes looking straight ahead into the distance with that different appearance, a beautiful appearance - almost radiant, somehow a mixture of deep peace, joy, and yet apparent pain. I was standing a little above her right shoulder. Father O'Carroll was trying to make her comfortable. Again I heard her say, "I am thirsty." Father reached for the water and gently, tenderly moistened her lips (Jesus' lips) with his finger. She seemed to be more at peace.
Father left the room. While I knelt, silent, a short distance from Vassula's feet, I prayed. I had prayed a lot during her passion. She stirred, looked at me and said, "I am thirsty." Overwhelmed, I again moistened her lips (Jesus' lips) with my finger. My heart was overflowing with the awareness of Jesus' desire for a little love. It was such a joy to serve Him in this way.
After awhile, she began to stir as if to sit up. I moved a little so that she could raise herself more easily. She reached out and held on to my arm to sit up. When she finally managed to raise up she was so weak she leaned back on me. I supported her there for a short time. I was still so filled with the reality of the sufferings of Jesus for my sins that I felt as if I were holding Our Lord in my arms after the crucifixion. I felt as if Mother Mary let me experience some of the great grief and the great tenderness She had for Her Son. For a brief moment, it was like I was Mary, holding my Son. I have no other way to express it.
Vassula gradually began to revive and I helped her sit in the chair by the table. I asked her if she would like to try again to have some tea. She did, so I prepared it.. She was so weak she could not hold the cup. I gave her some tea with a spoon. This time she drank some. She seemed to "come to" gradually.
Once again, I looked at my watch. It was about 1:45 P.M. Father O'Carroll came back and waited on the edge of the bed. Her strength was gradually returning. She looked very tired. She finished drinking her tea and said that she was all right. Father O'Carroll asked her if she would like something to eat before they went to give their presentations that afternoon. He was scheduled at 3:00 P.M. She thought she might have time for some soup.
Before we left the room, Vassula gave Father O'Carroll a warm embrace - a very tender moment. We then went to the restaurant. At that time I showed Vassula the paper on which I had written the messages. She corrected some of what I had written and completed the unfinished: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." And "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their's is the kingdom of Heaven."
Vassula had no time to rest between her passion experience and her presentation. It was miraculous that she could recover so quickly. After a brief lunch, the hospitality representative accompanied her to the conference where she spoke on the Messages of Jesus at 4:00 P.M.
Chris Lynch's Account
I had been invited to a meeting in Vassula's hotel room on Saturday, June 12, 1993 regarding publishing procedures. We had just begun the discussion when Vassula whispered to Father O'Carroll. Father stood up, told us Vassula was not feeling well and we would continue the discussion in his room. John and I stood up and Father moved toward the door. Pat Callahan sat beside Vassula and supported her as if she were feeling very weak.
Then a very strange thing happened. Vassula was lying fully stretched out in the center of the room, some feet from where she had been sitting. Although I was watching her at the time, I did not see her fall, or slump down - she seemed to just suddenly be there on the floor, her eyes looking upward, hands by her side, legs straight out, neatly together. I think all of us realized something out of the ordinary was happening as none of us moved or went to assist her. We just stood and watched. The next ninety minutes were so special and so strange yet very beautiful. Time literally stood still. We all watched this slim figure with long, blonde hair lying on the floor, slowly take on the position of Christ on the Cross. Her arms slowly went backwards and upwards, flat against the floor, until they reached a 45 degree angle, both knees together slightly bent to the left. After a few moments the shoulders and head literally rose into the air into a most unnatural position, hands still on the ground, and then her head fell down against her left shoulder, identical to figures of Christ nailed against the cross when the weight of His body sagged and His head fell forward onto His shoulder.
Slight moans could be heard. She remained in this position for a short time. How long, I will never know. I felt outside time and place. Her shoulders and head then relaxed back against the floor. This happened again and again over the next three hours.
In the quiet periods between these "crucifixion" positions, Father offered her a drink but she declined. He tried to give her a sip of ice water, but she was unable to raise her head. After the third time she attempted to speak, and very slowly, painfully, as if her mouth were dry and in great pain, the words, "peace, peace, peace" were slowly forced from her lips five times. I was in tears most of this time, very aware of my own sinfulness, in complete awe of what was happening.
At one point, again after the crucifixion position had been relaxed, Vassula's arms came down to her sides. After a pause, her soft brown eyes, always until now looking at the ceiling, looked at the three of us at her feet. Her right arm began to rise gradually in the sign of peace - thumb holding back the two little fingers, the middle fingers raised in the sign of peace. This was repeated three times, three to the front, where Pat, Father and I were, and a very long sign of peace to John who was standing to her right. This time her eyes, not her head, moved to look at him.
It was well over an hour after this extraordinary event started, just after a crucifixion position, when Vassula was asked if the would like to be lifted onto a chair or bed. She indicated with the closing of her eyes that she did. I knelt on one side of her, Pat on the other, and we tried to put our hands beneath her in order to lift her slight form from the floor. I was surprised and rather confused to find that I couldn't even get my fingers beneath her head. She was like a stone carving, solid, unmoveable. Father, who was standing behind me, whispered "it is the weight of the sin of the world."