Bishop JoÃ£o Evangelista Terra
Bishop JoÃ£o Evangelista Terra is a well-known exegete who has worked in different parts of the world, including the Vatican where he worked with Cardinal Ratzinger for ten years. Totally supportive of Vassula, he wished to give the following testimony at the conclusion of the prayer meeting in Brasilia, October 12, 1997.
Continuously applauded by the thousands of participants at the meeting, Bishop JoÃ£o Terra, an imperturbable smile on his lips, spoke with such firmness and conviction that he did not seem to notice the uninterrupted applause. His firm conviction, as well as the extraordinary joy he was feeling, were obvious in this atmosphere of faith and charismatic evangelisation. Attentive and thankful, we listen to Bishop Terra:
-- I would like to say a few words of thanks, as auxiliary bishop, for the joy we are feeling at Vassula's presence here in Brasilia. It is truly an extraordinary grace!
We have all of us, this week, lived with the Pope's presence in Rio de Janeiro. This was worth more than many missions. There were two million people. It was truly the presence of transforming grace. We, who were there, came back truly renewed. The Pope urged us to prepare during these three years for the Third Millennium. We are now coming to the end of the first of those years.
This year, we are meditating on Jesus Christ, on the theological virtue of Faith, on the Sacrament of Baptism. The Pope himself is now inviting us to meditate, as of now, in November, on the next year which is entirely dedicated to the Holy Spirit. The year 1998 will be the year of charismatic renewal, a year filled with the Holy Spirit, during which we will meditate on the Sacrament of Confirmation, the theological virtue of Hope, and Mary, the Model of Hope.
The year 1999, the vigil of the Great Jubilee of the coming Third Millennium, is entirely dedicated to God the Father. And we see how Vassula speaks with such tenderness, calling God "Dad", very boldly, as Jesus did. During 1999, we are, all of us, going to meditate also on the Father, the theological virtue of Love -- the Father is the fountain of Love -- , on the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We see that Mary is the Model of Love, the Mother of Tender Love. This is the preparation, the three years of preparation.
Last year we were at a conference in Jerusalem at the invitation of Rabbis. There were a hundred Rabbis, five hundred Christian bishops -- Catholic and Orthodox -- and twelve Cardinals. On my return, I spoke to the Pope. He was enthusiastic. I have lived two years in Jerusalem. So I told the Pope of my great hope. For the year 2000, he (the Pope) is actively preparing the meeting of Christians with the members of the monotheistic religions -- Jews and Muslims. There will be a big meeting on Mount Sinai where Jews, Christians and Muslims will gather: a hope, a dream of the Pope. This Pope is a saint! His dream is truly inspired by God: a great meeting in Jerusalem of Christian Churches, dealing intensively with the Orthodox Church, the Evangelical Churches -- the great Evangelical churches -- in the hope that Jesus's prayer will be fulfilled: that there will be only one heart, one flock and one Shepherd.
That is Vassula's mission. This is what her mission amounts to also: to make this prayer of Jesus come true in the year 2000. This prayer of Jesus is truly scandalous. Scandalous! "Father, I want that all be one." Pardon me! Is that the way to ask? One should at least say "please". But He said: "Father, I want!" He wants. It's not lack of education, no, He knows that this is what the Father wants -- that the Father's Will be His own will: that there be only one flock and one Shepherd. It is Christ's prayer.
This millennium, from year 1000 to year 2000, has been a millennium of great trials, and divisions within the Church. May the Third Millennium be a millennium of unity. God is sending us this charismatic person. I have known Vassula for five years, since I first met her in Recife (It was Vassula's first visit to Brazil, accompanied with Fr. O'Carroll and the representatives of the Ediciones Boa Nova). I speak her mother tongue a little. I have also worked two years in the Middle East, in Egypt, I greeted her and she replied with tenderness, in Arabic
As a matter of fact, what joy that Mass was!... I don't know if she remembers: in the Colegio de las Damas (the Ladies' College), in the overflowing gymnasium. When I began to read the Gospel, in the manner of Jesus, saying: "be silent and come out of this man", suddenly, from the mouth of a man possessed, a thundering voice cried out "I'm not coming out! I don't want to come out!" Ten thousand people stood petrified. I said nothing and remained quiet. I didn't want to argue with Satan. I lowered my head. Everybody started to recite the Our Father, to pray... suddenly all were silent: he was standing up there, on the third floor, ready to throw himself over.. It took five people to hold him back. The Mass ended. The possessed man came to ask Vassula to forgive him, saying: "I don't know what happened." And he went on: "when I was born my father dedicated me to Satan. My life has been hell. My only hope is that you lay hands on me." He was kneeling, transformed. It was amazing!...
Our great friend, Bishop Victor (Most Reverend Victor Tielbeeck, Bishop of the diocese of Formosa, in the state of GoÃas, Brazil), used to say: "every time Vassula shows up, Satan acts up!" Last year, you'll remember, the lights went out, here, before the meeting started.
And speaking of Bishop Victor, this year we had a meeting of the Regional Bishops' Conference with the Holy Father. So he asked about Vassula. Cardinal Ratzinger then said "I've received a mountain of letters from cardinals." Although the Cardinal was speaking only in Italian, Bishop Victor asked him in German: "But, Cardinal, should I change my attitude?" "Continue as you have done until now," the Cardinal replied, in German, (in front of us who understood him) but be prudent." (This reply by Cardinal Ratzinger is in perfect agreement with what he had said in Mexico on May 10, 1996: "you may continue to promote her writings, but always with discernment.")
So, let us look at the deeds... by their fruits we'll know them. Ask yourself: "in this movement, what have you observed? What are the fruits? How many transformations? How many conversions? By its fruit you will know the tree.
Today, you've filled this hall. Why did you come here? Why? Because there was an invitation, I don't know why... But this is an opportunity. The reason why we have come is that Someone has drawn us here. "No one can come to me unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me." (Jn 6:44). You have been drawn by someone who loved you first. Someone who has drawn us here to listen to a word of light, a word of salvation. Do you understand? You should be very happy; you have been given an opportunity.
In a way you represent a select part of this diocese. Those who were drawn by the Father have come here. What beauty in this welcome! You are seeing what signifies the presence of a charismatic person. A charism is not a grace for one's (personal) sanctification. It does not mean that Vassula is holier than you are. It is a grace for the sanctification of others. We should be grateful because this grace sanctifies us, brings us closer to Jesus Christ. It prepares us for the Third Millennium..
Vassula, a few words in French: Je veux vous dire ma grande joie. Nous sommes vraiment trÃ¨s heureux de voir votre prÃ©sence chez nous; c'est une prÃ©sence de grÃ¢ce, de lumi re et de soleil. Merci bien, Vassula. ("I would like to tell you what a great joy it is for me. We are really very happy that you are with us; your presence is one of grace, light, and sunshine. Thank you very much, Vassula")
Source: EdiÃ§oes Boa Nova and "Actualizando Medjugorje"