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VASSULA'S MISSION IN ASIA - January 1998
BANGLADESH - PHILIPPINES - INDIA
Asia, this mighty continent, created by the will of God for his glory was once more richly blessed by God's desire to send the seeds of His love Hymn to it's soil. This time Bngladesh, the Philippines and India were the privileged countries to which God sent Vassula to address His message of asking everyone to come and truly repent from the heart; to reconcile with God and our neighbour and fan into a flame the gift of God bringing us back to our senses.
For God who has saved us, has called us to be holy - not because of anything we ourselves have done, but for his own purpose and by his own grace.
Thus, Vassula's journey began on January 6th, 1998 with a ten hour flight from London to Dhaka via Bombay. A crowded plane and many crying infants made this trip a sleepless and most uncomfortable journey. This was only a foretaste of what this four week mission, would demand as sacrifice.
Vassula's journey was especially noteworthy for three reasons that imediately come to mind. For the second time, she returned to Bangladesh, the land where True Life in God was born. For the fourth time she returned to the Philippines, the only Christian nation in Asia and the only Catholic nation in Asia. She came to India, the second most populous nation in the world, with more than 800 million people, and a land which is still largely not evangelized, with Christians numbering just three percent of the population. The underlying theme of this visit to Asia is aptly summed up in the words of St. Paul in reference to the ministry of the prophets: "The sound of their voice went out to all the world; their words reached the ends of the earth" (Rom 10:18).
Vassula arrived in Bangladesh on the evening of January 7. Remembering the importance of Russia in messages of Fatima and True Life in God, it seemed appropriated that she arrived as Russians celebrated their Christmas day. In her journey she was escorted this time by two people. One was Erwim Schlacher, a Catholic, whom many 'True Lifers' know because of his work for True Life in God in Israel. He came along with the camera so that there would be a visual record of this journey. Vassula was also accompanied by a Greek Orthodox friend. Giorgia Braun who throughout the journey was always there to help in any way possible.
At the airport, they were picked up by Carol Chamberlain, who had made the arrangements for their accommodations. Carol has been involved in True Life in God since just before her arrival in Dhaka in 1993. Fr. "X", PIME, from the National Major Seminary was also there to accompany them from the airport. After a brief stop at their accommodations, all five went to the seminary chapel for the Mass. This is the very same place where Vassula used to attend Mass after the dawning of True Life in God.
On January 9, we began the day with the Mass, which was concelebrated at the seminary chapel by Fr. "X" and Fr. Bernard Palma, the dean of studies at the seminary. Fr. Bernard is one of the senior members of the staff who remembers Vassula from the early days of True Life in God. That evening, after an early supper, we left for the venue. Fr. Arturo took full responsibility for organizing everything at the venue, and had brought in extra seats to accommodate everyone so that there were sufficient seats for all. Tapes and books, both in Bengali and English were on sale at the door. A number of clergy also attended. The rector of the National Major Seminary, Fr. Francis Sima, was the translator that evening, and he knows the messages well since he also supervised the Bengali translation of the first three volumes.
After introductions by Fr. Arturo and Fr. "X", Vassula spoke to the crowds. Vassula always stresses in every talk she gives that she had not "merited" all these graces. However, by God's grace she was brought to the point of total self-offering. As she once said (June 21, 1998): "Lord, I am but following You, and my soul is in peace as a child with his mother, trusting You fully, and as a child I want to obey You." Besides some background information on the beginning of True Life in God, Vassula also stressed much the coming of the Holy Spirit and the Second Pentecost. And this was true of subsequent meetings throughout this journey in Asia. As the prophets said "I will put my laws in their hearts and write them on their minds" (Heb 10:16). Coupled with this idea was the idea of purification. Vassula reminded the listeners that all mankind will undergo a spiritual purification which is now imminent. To prepared ourselves we must be reconciled, not only at the level of Christian unity, but also especially at the most basic level of society, the family. ("Happy are those who work for peace, God will call them His children" Mt. 5:9.)
The meeting was interrupted by a power failure, but this occurs so regularly that preparations had been made in advance and a portable power system made it possible for her to continue. The meeting closed with the consecration to the Two Hearts as found in the True Life in God prayer book. Vassula then blessed the people with the relic of the True Cross as Jesus desires her to do. "The message of Christ's Death on the cross is nonsense to those who are being lost, but for us, who are being saved, it is God's power" (1 Cor 1:18). Because of the darkness at this time, it is impossible to say how many rested in the Spirit.
Although it has not been scheduled, Vassula remained afterwards to patiently bless the foreheads of all those who approached her. They were quite numerous, and a number of people from various nationalities were present as well, especially Filipinos. This variety of nationalities contributed to the atmosphere of preparation for a new Pentecost: "When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place... religious men had come from every country in the world" (Acts 2:1,5). Christians in Bangladesh number around three tenths of one percent of the general population which is 85% Muslim. Thus, we know that at this point one in every hundred Catholics actully has bought a volume of True Life in God, which costs more than half a day's income in this impoverished nation. This is all the more significant due to the fact that the national literacy rate is only around 30%: "He has filled the hungry with good things" (Lk 1:53). It would be accurate to say that in Bangladesh Vassula is the most widely-read and best known of all contemporary visionaries put together.
In spite of confusing statements coming from the Vatican, the local bishops avoided any sort of negative publicity against her during the recent period of confusion, and Prodipon, the only Catholic scholarly magazine, recently published an article strongly defending her. The imminent publication of volume three will hopefully galvanize the clergy which until now has remained at the periphery. The reluctance of the clergy in many nations to take seriously messages like Vassula's is no doubt yet another example of what St. Paul meant when he spoke about prophets in these words: "We do not speak in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, as we explain spiritual truths to those who have the Spirit. Whoever does not have the Spirit cannot receive the gifts that come from God's Spirit. Such a person really does not understand them; they are nonsense to him, because their value can be judged only on a spiritual basis. Whoever has the Spirit, however, is able to judge the value of everything, but no one is able to judge him. As the Scripture says: 'who has known the mind of the Lord? Who is able to give him advice? We however have the mind of Christ" (1 Cor 2:13-15).
The following morning, January 10, we left at 5:45 AM for our flight to Manila via Singapore. Once again it was Carol Chamberlain who drove us. In our weariness, we could reflect on the words of Scripture: "All of this I do for the Gospel's sake, in order to share in its blessings!" (1 Cor 9:23). Our plane in Dhaka left at 7.30 a.m. and we arrived in Manila Airport around 8 p.m. We were welcomed in VIP style by Mrs. Cecilia Lutz, and other hard working organisers of the True Life in God committee.
Despite a very late night due to luggage problems at the airport, a late dinner, 11:45 pm mass and jetlag, a press conference was scheduled for the next morning at 10 a.m. This was thanks to the organisational efforts and media connections of a person in the local prayer group. Thus opened Vassula's 4th visit to the Philippines.
Her introductory speech summarised the latest messages of Jesus and God the Father who desire to draw all of us into the nuptial chambers of their Heart. Vassula stressed the importance of reading the messages in a spirit of prayer, in a meditative way, beginning from Volume One.
Jesus, our Teacher, in this way, schools us in True Life in God, to understand the mystical language used in the latest messages. This manner of reading will help us to enter into the mysteries of Christ comprehending them with our Saviour's mind, and see them with his divine light. If we also allow our Lord, he could mould and form us into his likeness, so that we radiate his light to the world.
The reporters, who represented national TV, newspapers and magazines, displayed their interest on Unity through the focus of their questions. Vassula relayed Jesus' earnest desire of how to bring unity about. Vassula said; "only a sincere repentance and a spirit of forgiveness, will bring forth the fruit of love and humility, which are the key to unity. We will then be able to serve God's purpose for unity by unifying the dates of Easter as desired by Christ. From there God will do the rest". This message was received with great interest and appreciation. Philippine national Catholic TV and Radio stations will broadcast this press conference at a later date.
Immdeiately afterwards, we boarded a plane that flew us in two hours to Tuguegarao, a city in the north of the main island of Luzon. Here, the local True Life in God group had organised a meeting with their Archbishop Monsignor Talamayan, who warmly welcomed Vassula and gave her a 30 minute audience. Monsignor had given permission to invite Vassula to his city and so wished to hear the testimony on God's love and the action of the Holy Spirit from Vassula herself. He listened with great interest, rejoicing especially when Vassula told him that the Holy Spirit already is very active. Archbishop Monsignor Talamayan encouraged us to arrange a meeting with Cardinal Sin, but because of time pressure, it was not able to take place.
On the same day about 700 people attended the main meeting in Tuguegarao at 5 pm in Baseball Hall. Fr. "X" gave the introductory speech to Vassula, then Vassula came up to address the people. She echoed God's word fervently, following the Lord's command to, "be His Echo". We were reminded of the Father's real Image. The world has a distorted image seeing Him as harsh judge, whereas Jesus described Him in the messages as follows: "My Father is a King, yet so motherly, a judge, yet so tender and loving. He is the Alpha and Omega, yet so meek".
Vassula asked us to learn to trust Him, for He delights so much when we do. For this, we need to approach Him and get to know Him intimately. Thus we will learn to love Him as our Father who will never break us, but treat us kindly according to our capacity. Vassula continued saying that when our Father in Heaven gives a message, He will always give it with a tone of hope, but as Father He will also reprimand us, for we deserve it, because it is for our salvation that He speaks. Her 90 minute presentation was followed by a Mass concelebrated by Fr. "X" and Fr. Richie, a young Philippine Priest of Don Bosco, who experienced a re-conversion in reading the True Life in God messages. One could say that Fr. Richie is a fruit of True Life in God. He accompanied Vassula in all her meetings in his country, supporting her in prayer as she prayed over each individual. He too, rested in the embrace of the Holy Spirit as Vassula prayed over him.
During the healing service many fell backwards resting in the Holy Spirit. Others, without even being prayed over were surprised with the gift of praying in tongues. God was manifest which could be read in every face being lit up with joy praising the Lord for His Generosity. The excitement of the crowd reached it's peak as Vassula left the hall along the aisle and everyone flocked to get a close glimpse of her and even touch her. Those escorting her had to make a great effort to keep the crowd from crushing Vassula, who hastened her steps to the waiting car, as the people turned wild.
Next morning, January 12th, we flew back to Manila. Vassula was invited to Kamunig Quezon City, Manila, for a Conference in the Parish hall for clergy only. About 80 Priests and Nuns from different congregations eagerly listened to the words of God through His chosen one.
Fr. "X" introduced Vassula briefly, paving the way for her powerful 90 minute presentation. First Vassula gave an overall picture of the Divine Message, then she conveyed Jesus' latest teachings on the Sacred Heart's desire for all His children to draw from His riches and to live in His Heart. Vassula said; one should respond to His invitation to make a retreat and a pilgrimage in His Divine body, where He would restore and nourish our soul with the riches of His Heart in intimate privacy, filling us with His Peace and Joy. The treasures that one finds in the Sacred Heart's Heart, above all, Vassula says, is tasting the sweetness of His Divine presence and intimacy. She went on saying, the Hope that God offers in these messages is the Holy Spirit who is already at work renewing His sanctuaries (our souls), and that through a Second Pentecost, (for which Pope John XXIII prayed), the face of the earth will be transformed into a New Heaven and a New Earth, the promise of Apocalypse 21. This New Heaven and New Earth will be within us. We will be the New Jerusalem.
Vassula, as in the previous meetings, concluded her powerful presentation with a courageous appeal to all Cardinals, Bishops and Priests to join their voices with that of Pope John Paul II regarding Unity. She quoted his Encyclical "Ut unum sint" (That they all be one) and read out the Holy Father's statement during the Prayer of Angelus on August 11, 1996 where he talked about the urgency of reconciliation between Catholics and Orthodox. He said: "the things which unite us are much greater than the things that divide us".
Vassula openly declared her desire for all Cardinals, Bishops and Priests to join in the Pope's voice becoming an echo to him and one in this work for unity, rather than ignoring or stifling his voice. By doing this they would be of great help to the Pope, who needs their support. The clergy present were amazed at this inspired mesage and flocked around Vassula who had to escape because everyone rushed to her wishing to receive a bleesing and wanted their books to be signed.
After Vassula's talk, one priest, in fact the chaplain of Quezon City Prison, stood up to give a word of thanks to Vassula and left us speechless with a message coming from the prisoners, who wished Vassula to address them on that same afternoon. But this meeting was somehow cancelled in order to give the message to a group of clergy instead. The Priest said the prisoners were very disappointed, but that such "let downs" for people in jail are a daily occurence. He kindly asked Vassula to give him a few words for them, which he would transmit later on in the evening as a small consolation. To everyone's great surprise, Vassula stood up and promised the chaplain to sacrifice her only morning off, to go to visit the prisoners. This was to be the last day of her stay in Manila. On hearing this compassionate news, everyone showed their joy with long applause.
Next day, January 13th, the meeting at Green Hills theatre in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila began with a mass at 6.30 PM followed by Vassula's presentation. God's presence was so powerful that the 1,000 people in attendance of every age and class seemed to be as though enwrapped by the Holy Spirit. Many young people attended. During her talk the long line of people for confession seemed to have no end.
Vassula called out for repentance and proclaimed a resurrected Christ who acts, is alive, and always among us. Vassula went on to say; Christ himself will now shatter the dead image people made out of him; as if He was still lying dead for 2,000 years in the Sepulchre collecting dust. Actually, he is now more alive than ever, knocking on every heart without ceasing. Christ is calling us to Him to live a sacramental life in his Church. Then Vassula told us of God's grief, and his appeal to all the faithful to do everything possible to lessen His wrath.
Rebellion in the Church against the Holy Father's teachings, the Church's tradition and the aim to abolish the Perpetual Sacrifice (Holy Eucharist) is the cause of this wrath. This spirit of apostasy which infiltrated into the sanctuary itself like smoke has turned our souls into a desert. Vassula said, God always intervenes when his creation rebelled against him with a call for conversion promising those who pray with all their heart for the conversion of the world will receive a reward for eternity. She encouraged everyone to ask more from God and with a greater faith; to be intimate with Him, invoking more the Holy Spirit.
She gave us a parable of a fish, Vassula said that we should be living in the Spirit like a fish lives in the ocean; moving, breathing and living in the Holy Sprit, just like a fish moves, breathes and lives in the ocean, we should remain in the Spirit, lest we dry up and die like a fish outside of water, since the Holy Spirit is the giver of life and the inner power of the body which is the Church.
The atmosphere and the presence of the Holy Spirit increased as the 3 and a half hour meeting concluded with a healing service, where Vassula and Fr. Richie prayed individually over everyone present. Vassula must have been praying over the people for more than an hour and a half with her arms raised all the time. She did not feel fatigue nor pain in her arms as normally one would after only ten minutes. It is obvious that our good Lord supports her arms. Many people rested in the Holy Spirit. It was reported later, that in one of the pictures taken of Vassula during her talk, a white dove was visible above her head. This is a clear sign how the Holy Spirit moves, guides and inspires her when she speaks of True Life in God. Another day enjoying the fullness of God's Grace ended shortly after midnight.
We had very little rest before the next official program scheduled on her final day in the Philippines, January 14th, 10 a.m. we were to addresss the prisoners, in Quezon City Jail, Metro Manila.
On the way to this meeting Vassula was asked to briefly visit the headquarters of the Phillipine's True Life in God Association, located in the same area and sign her name on their office wall. There, everyone witnessed a God - full of surprises! For Jesus Himself took over Vassula's hand to sign His Name on the wall, for every eye to see. Vassula explained later that Jesus took over to sign His Name because the prayer group is the fruit of His Divine Work and not Vassula's. Everyone fell on their knees, with tears in their eyes, beholding Jesus manifesting Himself through His instrument, allowing us to witness this Holy moment, when He is present and dictating. Certainly a special grace for the hard working association committee who indeed showed their devotion to True Life in God by their untiring commitment to being a perfect host for Vassula and her companions.
One can learn from their organisation skills, their union with Love, and the love they showed to their guests. Jesus rewarded them by leaving his signature for ever with the following mesage on their office wall: "I bless you all, I Jesus love you." We were very moved and with this feeling we drove to Quezon City Jail.
Vassula said it is the worst prison she's ever seen in her travels around the world. It truly is an appalling place. How these 1,700 prisoners are being kept in a total area that amounts to 1 sq. meter per person (as Vassula was told), is beyond comprehension. UN regulations state 3 sq. meter living conditions are required. Vassula was also told that the prison does not have the UN minimum portion of food required per day per inmate. God's mercy again was shown by sending His mouthpiece to convey to the least privileged His message of love and forgiveness.
The prisoners were touched at the opening words of Vassula who told them: This was answered with much applause. Vassula spoke of the importance of offering our will daily to God so that He can do His will in each one of us, since we descend from Him and are of Royal descent. She shared a message given by our Lord to prisoners on May 6, 1992, where He invited them with the following words:
"Come today and confide in Me heart to heart. Which father would hear his child's lament and not have every fibre of his heart broken? I am your Eternal Father, He who loves you with an Eternal Love and like a father who invites his children to share and inherit his property; so am I calling you to be heirs of My Kingdom. ... I know well what is in your mind but I am not here to accuse you for your deeds. I am here today to show you how Compassion and Tenderness were treated... if I have come all the way to you in your cell, it is because of the greatness of the Love I have for you ...".
At these words, many were touched to tears. One man especially, sobbed like a child. He was in prison for several murders. Vassula concluded with a healing service praying individually over each person for healing. Some were slain, others cried tears of repentance, experiencing the warmth of God's love and mercy. It was reported later on that there were several conversions. May God receive all Glory for His gesture of mercy and compassion for visiting those in prison ...
Vassula hardly had time to return to her residence let alone breathe, when at 5 p.m. an interview was scheduled with a journalist from "The Philippine Daily Inquirer". Vassula focused on the needs for Quezon's City Jail appealing to all local Christians to prove their love to God by acts of charity, visiting Jesus in prison now and then. This would be following the second greatest commandment to "love one another... just as I have loved you. It is by your love for one another, that everyone will recognise you as my disciples" (Jn 13:34-35).
No sooner had the reporter left that Vassula had to meet a friend of hers by the name of Gerard, to work on recording the Rosary in the Aramaic language combining it with his own composed music. Gerard, a young man, has a natural talent and recently opened the world's first "Rosary Theatre" featuring the life of Jesus, providing thus another effective form for evangelization in his country. Vassula's final day in Manila again reminded me of the words Jesus said about her mission "... and you will have no rest...". Hardly had the long requested project with Gerard been accomplished when another journalist from "The Manila Bulletin" arrived to interview Vassula on her world-wide Apostolate for the Most High. Meanwhile friends poured in to say good-bye before Vassula left the Phillipines early the following morning. Late at night, after having certainly done her best for Jesus, she slipped away from the crowds and retreated to her room to pack her luggage and have a few hours rest.
Days later, while in a taxi to another airport, Jesus spoke to Vassula the following words: "Do not grieve, my road is rough, full of brambles and thorns and very few take it". These words came as an encouraging breeze from God's mouth in the light of the events in this mission to Asia. The hardships, obstacles, sufferings, the agonies one goes through and the extraordinary pressures, reminded us of the obstacles in St. Paul's journeys, when preaching the gospel. His way to Rome, sailing in the midst of storms, until the final shipwreck before Malta, could be compared to Vassula's most difficult mission of entering India.
In her nine years of travel, Vassula never experienced such a battle by Satan as this one. Just as Jesus confirms by saying in His love Hymn; the times we are living in are evil, and that; "Satan is observing all of you and has sworn to stop My Plan by obstructing it and by using strong oppositions, his threats are reaching heaven daily ..." The way he was barricading the entrance to Kerala, showed us that India, was truly precious in God's sight and ready to receive the seeds of God's message.
Still, Vassula's unwavering trust in God and His guidance showed the fruits of being indeed the Lord's pupil for the last 12 years. Persevering in her trials, always trusting in the Lord to support her, until God's final command to the evil one to be silent. For in the end, the victory belongs to God. Thus Vassula in her mission to evangelise in God's Assemblies, was to taste once more the hardships like her forerunners the Apostles. For it is through the daily confrontation with obstacles that one day leads to our sanctification.
Leaving the Philippines on January 15 we were already prevented from boarding the plane due to no entry visas to India. No one had informed Vassula about the need of a visa, neither the travel agency, nor the organisers. After an endless waiting period and harsh treatment by the airport ground staff, we were finally allowed to board the plane due to Cecilia's connections. Another 10 hour journey took us via Hong Kong to Bombay, where we arrived late in the evening.
Exhausted from a long trip, Vassula and her companions had to face an ordeal. India's officials refused to let us enter because of the visa problem. Nothing would change the policy of the person in charge who strictly followed the rules, treating us like criminals. He ordered us to be deported without delay. This news shattered Sr. Johanna, the main organiser for the Bombay meetings, who waited at the arrival hall to welcome Vassula and her companions in India. Vassula got permission to go and meet her, accompanied by a security guard, in order to tell her of the problem.
Sr. Johanna, nearing a stroke upon hearing the shocking news, did everything possible for us to receive a Visa at the airport, as was the case when we entered Bangladesh. Still, nothing could impress the Immigration officer. Greatly distressed, Sr. Johanna, not knowing what would happen to us or where we would be sent to, had to leave with Fr. "X", who, having a visa, entered India. God is known to turn evil into good so in His designs this obstacle might have opened a new door. Vassula asked Fr. "X" to be her echo as she is Jesus' echo and witness instead of her for an hour in the meetings she missed.
Fr. "X" was the first witness of the birth of True Life in God in Dhaka. Now, he was being literally hurled out like a net to echo God's call for repentance, reconciliation, peace, love and unity, to vast audiences of five to twelve thousand people in the first three meetings in Kerala, the south of India. Thus a new 'era' might have begun where God is calling the first fruits of True Life in God to go out, just as Vassula, and testify to the truth, "shouting it from the roof-tops", God's infinite Love for all humanity. In the meantime Vassula and her companions were to 'drink the last drops of the bitter cup' until their final arrival in India, which was not to happen until after a delay of five days.
The airport officials wanted to send us back to Europe which would have meant the loss of even more time. But other officials intervened and arrangements were made for tickets to Colombo in Sri Lanka where we would be able to apply for a visa. We had to spend a sleepless night in the airport with our luggage and passports impounded. Dressed in summer clothing appropriate for the Philippines we shivered all night sitting under the lounge's air-conditioning system. We thought we would freeze to death but finally we numbly boarded our plane at 5 a.m. Upon our arrival in Colombo, we were allowed to meet with God's caring faithfulness.
Jesus had sent us a young Indian lady who observed us during the night in the lounge in Bombay and was concerned about our well being. She asked whether she could be of any help to us. Hearing about our search for a visa, she gave us her phone number should any more problems arise. Her friend happened to work as the 2nd secretary in the Indian High Commission of Colombo. On the Friday morning, after an hour's drive to the city we arrived at the Embassy, thinking we'd have our passports stamped and could be off in the afternoon for India. We filled out forms and discovered to our great disappointment that they had to be sent to our home countries. A reply would only come in about two weeks. This was becoming a major problem so we decided to phone this young lady. She contacted her friend who perhaps could speed things up, and urged him to meet us right away.
Before going back to the Indian Embassy, since we were asked by them to hand in photographs, we searched for, and found a photo service in a little grocery shop nearby. We than returned to the Indian Embassy to meet the 2nd secretary. He was a real gentleman who understood our problem and promised to help us as much as he could. The problem was that it was Friday, and all the Embassies were closed at the weekend. Nevertheless he promised to fax our forms on Saturday and keep us informed. We had already given up on the idea of being back in India that day or the next and hoped that Sunday would be possible. We left and put ourselves up in the hotel closest to the Indian embassy.
Vassula was on the phone Saturday all day long, trying desperately to contact several people in India to explain our present situation. In the meantime she was losing her voice. Sunday came and Vassula phoned the 2nd secretary at his residence to find out if there was any progress. He said to come the next day, Monday afternoon and he'll give us the stamp for a visa. In the meantime we had been advised by Fr. Kurian in Kerala who was in touch with us to go ahead and book our tickets for Kerala on Monday, since there was only one flight through Madras, at 2 p.m. We booked that one and not the one on Monday early morning via Bombay, as we had to be in the Indian Embassy to first receive our visas. These were going to be given to us exceptionally fast as promised by the secretary who had been informed by Fr. Kurian of the importance of our entry.
Now, when Vassula called him on Sunday, the secretary asked us to come on Monday afternoon at 4 p.m. in his office, which meant we would miss our plane at 2 p.m. Vassula begged him to shift this to the morning since it would mean another flight cancellation for us. After some hesitation, the secretary finally agreed to meet us at 10.30 a.m. Due to his kind help we were able to receive our visas on Monday morning but with hours of delay. Had our plane to Madras not been delayed we would have missed it for sure. The traffic at that hour was at its peak. Already Vassula was trying to spot out a reasonably decent looking hotel while we were approaching Colombo's airport in case we would need it. One whole hour of agony in the taxi passed not knowing whether we would make it this time or not. Ever since our departure from Manila, every step we took was literally filled with obstacles. As if this was not enough, Vassula started to suffer from flu symptoms and had lost her voice entirely. At this moment of grief Jesus came with his consoling words and told her as mentioned before : "do not grieve, did you not know that my path is filled with thorns and brambles and very few take it". We are sure it was no coincidence that the plane was delayed and we were able to reach our destination.