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The Asian Report Part IVb - Philippines Cont'd
An Explosion of Divine Graces!
November 25-28, 2005
Nov. 25, Visit to the Beth Myriam in Dasmariñas, Cavite, in Greater Manila
Francis Melmon and his wife have been the care-givers of this 3-year old Beth Myriam which was blessed and inaugurated in 2002 by His Excellency Bishop Antonio Tagle, DD of the diocese. When Vassula arrived, a Franciscan priest, Rector of a Capuchin seminary, was celebrating the Holy Mass for the indigent people fed by the Beth Myriam. After the Mass, the people paid their respects to Vassula and her companions. Francis introduced a lady who was a contemplative reader and who had lately gone blind. Vassula was so touched that she brought her crucifix out to say a healing prayer over her. In a subtle way, one could feel the vibration of God's compassion: "My Righteousness is eternal, My Love I have for you all is Infinite, My Compassion for the wretched and the sick is Great and beyond human understanding, ask and it shall be given to you, I open My Mouth panting eagerly for your prayers..." April 30, 1990
Joy was in Vassula's heart as she interviewed the youth and witnessed the feeding of the people who came from the surrounding towns and villages.
Nov. 26, Visit with Archbishop Arguelles in Lipa, Batangas, 80 kms. outside Manila
During all of Vassula's visits to the Philippines, she had been welcomed by Center for Peace-Asia, an association of people whose lives have been deeply touched by Our Lady in Medjugorje and have dedicated themselves to praying intensively for peace. They were the first in the Philippines to embrace True Life in God, publishing and diffusing the Messages, and helped lay the ground for the True Life in God Philippines Association. It was through their faithful assistance that Vassula met His Excellency, Bishop Arguelles in 2002; he was named Archbishop by Pope John Paul II in May 2004.
Back in 2002, the then Bishop Arguelles had invited Vassula to speak in his Cathedral. The very powerful Healing Service conducted by Vassula and Bishop Arguelles after the talk and the Holy Mass he celebrated were unforgettable, as, to this day, is his graciousness towards the Messages and his valuable help for Vassula's mission. Her visit to His Excellency's Residence in Lipa was an opportunity to show her gratitude and thank him for his steadfast and enduring support. His Excellency was very pleased to hear of the progress in her mission for Unity, commending her for her perseverance, and encouraging her to follow through in spite of the difficulties, setbacks, calumny and opposition she encountered. "God's Work is subject to all these," he remarked, "there would be no Resurrection without the Crucifixion." They spoke about the Holy Father's strong desire to see Christian Unity finally realized.
Meeting in Lipa Carmel Church, the Shrine of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces
The Church of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces, located in the Carmelite Convent of Lipa, was filled with 3,000 persons waiting to listen to Vassula. Our Lady had blessed this convent with a series of apparitions to a Carmelite novice in the 1940's, amidst showers of rose petals. She had given Herself the title of "Mediatrix of All Graces." After many miracles and much controversy, the shrine was erected and is now a holy place of pilgrimage for Filipinos. It is not a coincidence that these holy grounds are part of the Archdiocese of His Excellency, Archbishop Arguelles whose great devotion to Our Blessed Mother is unparalleled. "...all Wisdom is given to mere children, My Father delights in children..." February 10, 1987
Fr. Richie writes: Here is a happy revelation that would surprise many of us: Jesus, in the TLIG messages, allowed Vassula to listen to the words of Pope John Paul II, as he prayed: "Mediatrix of all graces, save us from the tempestuous floods of sin, multiply Your graces and turn the hearts of parents towards their children and the hearts of children towards their parents..." April 4, 1997
Mrs. Nanette P. Delariarte of Santa Ana, Manila, wrote in her testimony to Vassula: "My friend and I occupied the pews on the left wing of the second floor of the Church so we could listen well and see you better. While you were sharing with us, I closed my eyes so I could concentrate. There was a time when I opened my eyes when I felt like sleeping due to the gentle breeze blowing from the windows. Looking at you at first glance, I wondered: "Why was Vassula wearing dark glasses? There was no glare inside the Church." I looked at you again and I saw that your eyes were swollen, black and blue. Lo and behold, it was no longer you whom I saw but the Most Holy Face of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ!! Slowly your face was changing into the Most Holy Face of Jesus. From his first wounds at the start of His Passion till the end when It was full of wounds!! I also saw the Crown of Thorns on the Head of Jesus. The color of the face was darker than yours. His hair and beard were dark brown. The Face of Jesus was full of blood - some dry, some fresh. His Most Holy Face looked so gaunt, full of pain, of suffering yet still so full of love. ... After a long time, I thought that maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me or perhaps I was hallucinating! For confirmation, I stood up and approached my friends. I asked them to look at you. Most of them saw the Most Holy Face of Jesus. How blessed we were to see the Holy Face of Jesus." Reading the TLIG messages we discover that Jesus meant His face to be seen: "I am, in your days revealing My Holy Face to you all, yes, My Holy Face shall shine on you My beloved ones, I shall reveal to you My Glory and you who might not know Me yet, I shall come to you too..." January 22, 1990
God has given the Filipinos the gift of strong faith and devotion. Knowing this, Vassula shared the prophecies of the NY Towers and the Tsunami which had come to pass, and gave the strong warning of a much graver disaster in the near future. But the hope the Lord gives us in the Messages inspires bravery of heart and a renewed trust in God's Plan. She encouraged the faithful Filipinos to pray and offer acts of reparation for the conversion of the world, these could diminish the evil that draws God's Justice. During her last visit to the Philippines, she had appealed to the Filipinos for prayers: "Pray for the world to return to God...if you Filipinos do not, who will?" For two Sundays, weeks after Vassula left, the video of this conference in Carmel, Lipa was viewed by thousands of television viewers nationwide.
After Vassula's talk, a Healing Service was held with Vassula, His Excellency Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles, and priests laying hands on the faithful. A concelebrated Mass led by Archbishop Arguelles culminated the activity in Lipa, Batangas. After the Mass, Vassula met with the Discalced Carmelite Nuns before proceeding to her biggest meeting ever.
El Shaddai Meeting in Sucat, Metro Manila: Vassula speaks to 400,000!
The 400,000 persons gathering for the usual Saturday night of prayer and worship till dawn was a marvelous sight. An invitation for a person to speak before this mammoth Catholic Charismatic community is a grace from Heaven. The El Shaddai Movement has a large following; at times, this weekend gathering can swell with crowds of up to 1 million. Bro. Mike Velarde is its evangelist/founder who has worked very hard for about 20 yrs. to organize communities at home and abroad to help Filipinos sustain their spiritual life. Through TV and Radio, this weekly happening is broadcast all over Asia, Australia, Europe and America where large numbers of expatriate Filipinos are found.
Then the grace of God fell on us all, Vassula charmed her huge audience with the sharing of her experience of God's tremendous and burning love for every one without exception. Fr. Richie Santos translated her every phrase. When she declared: "our Father is a King!", hundreds of thousands of voices cheered joyfully. "He is the King of Kings!", she continued, and the crowd broke out in more cheers of celebration. "You are sons and daughters of the Most High, you descend from Majesty....!" The crowd was almost in a frenzy of happiness, applauding her every word. When she spoke about Unity of the Christian Churches, the same enthusiastic cries flooded the atmosphere, the applause blending in with singing and dancing. What a unique experience it was for us to be among this jubilant assembly of faithful praising the Lord in one voice! Thanks to the Holy Spirit's Grace, the openness of Bro. Mike Velarde and the cooperation of His Excellency Bishop Teodoro Bacani, DD and Ms. Mercy Tuason who all opened doors for Vassula and True Life in God.
May this excerpt from a December 27, 1994 message be a worthy tribute to the "explosion of Divine Graces" that happened just in this single day: "by the power of the Holy Spirit I have raised you, My child, to be in perfect union with Me and witness to the crowds in My Name, giving yourself to them to the utmost of your capacity; your fidelity pleases Me; this is why I will continue to build My Plan in you until it is completed...and the poor will hear something never told before and will see My Holy Countenance on you and those who never knew Me will approach Me and those whose eyes were veiled will see all My glory...whosoever will be moved by My Spirit, who, today, blows everywhere, will be heir to My Kingdom and the Father will welcome him together with throngs of angels in Heaven..."
This appearance of Vassula was broadcast live that evening, reaching the whole of the Philippines. The video of this talk was played and replayed on national television in succeeding weekends.
Nov. 27, Southern Philippines - Cebu Meeting in the Sacred Heart Jesuit School Gym
On 27 November 2005, Sunday, an airplane trip brought Vassula and company to Cebu City, the second city of the Philippines. It was Day 5 on the last leg of her trip to the Philippines. Msgr. Frederick Kriekenbeek, together with the Evangelization Ministry of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement (CCRM) of Cebu, and TLIG Cebu chapter, organized the event "The Final Glory is True Life in God" with Vassula as their special guest speaker. Although Msgr. Kriekenbeek was unable to welcome Vassula himself due to engagements in the US and Canada, his team of Charismatic Group Leaders organized a marvelous, joyful Meeting with 4,000 members coming from far away towns and neighboring provinces of southern Philippines.
With the beautiful backdrop on the stage, the lively singing of the Charismatic youth band and the visible eagerness of the audience listening to Vassula, the Lord had prepared an animated and grace-filled encounter, as Vassula narrated candid anecdotes about her experiences with the Lord. The calm of her voice contrasted with the enthusiastic praise expressed in song, as she spoke about the Intimacy God desires from us, the way to include Jesus in all instants of our lives by using "We,Us", about the sacrament of Reconciliation and the power in the Eucharist to make us one with the Lord when we receive Him in a state of grace. She continued with the other themes and read to them some of the Messages, and spoke about Our Blessed Mother, leading them gradually into a contemplative meditation.
Vassula's talk was a wonderful preparation for the Holy Mass that ensued. The Charismatics from different southern islands and the organizers were thankful for the success of their conference. The translation of the TLIG Messages to the Visayan language is now available and is finding its way throughout the Visayas region of the Philippines.
Cebu, November 28, 2005 - 20th Anniversary of True Life in God!
November 28, 2005 was a day of great privilege for TLIG Philippines. While all the TLIG Associations worldwide commemorated this day with Masses and festivities, our humble celebration took place in the intimacy of Vassula's hotel room, 3 hours before taking our flight out of the Philippines to Singapore. During the Mass concelebrated by three TLIG priests, Vassula read from the Message of November 28, 1995 encouraging us all:
"...celebrate annually the date of today where I have brought you and so many others to come into My Heart and discover those innumerable treasures I kept for your times - keep this great day in mind. Be by My side as you have been for the past ten years now: NEVER leave My side; walk with Me as you have done all these years - see how I educated you? See what I have accomplished? See My Wisdom? By adopting you, I have adopted so many others. My path is straight, My ways of approaching you are delightful...Your King is perfect and beautiful. "Revive My Church, embellish My Church, unite My Church" was My Order to you; and all I asked from you, to be able to work with you for My glory, was for you to consent to do My Will; and so you have won My friendship.
My Church benefits now with so many souls who have returned to Me...and now their praises to Me are joined with those of My angels' in heaven; and from your mouth I spoke, giving what My Heart desires most for Unity. You have not toiled in vain...
My words: "full you shall be many," were an enigma to you, then I made you understand what I meant: "when you shall be filled with My Holy Spirit, thrice Holy and giver of life, you shall, with the power of My Spirit, convert and bring to repentance many." ...Today, I can say, Vassula: I have not toiled in you for nothing; My Spirit set you free so that you would be a proper place to be lived in by Me. May My sons and daughters approach Me and I shall free them to join My assembly too."
Birthdays and Anniversaries are meaningful to Filipinos who are little children at heart, eager to give and receive gifts to honor any occasion. After the Mass, not being able to withhold their child-like inquisitiveness any longer, they asked her if Our Lord granted her a gift for TLIG's birthday. Vassula confided to us Jesus' gift to her. What a happy grace when she told us of her dream the night before: Jesus was quietly listening to Vassula witnessing to someone regarding the wonderful Love of God the Father who calls us to intimacy with Him. And then "we hugged each other;" a very simple picture which each one of us who works to evangelize and live a True Life in God can relate to. Our interpretation is one of gladness, our efforts to spread God's Message with love for Love please Him. In conclusion, Vassula reminded us never to forget that He is holy and we should worship Him.
A few minutes after the anniversary Mass, it was time for Vassula and Cecilia to say goodbye to their Filipino hosts and the TLIG Association. They were then taken to the Cebu International Airport for their flight to Singapore, the last leg of their trip. We give our thanks to His Excellency, Archbishop Arguelles, His Excellency, Bishop Bacani, Msgr. Kriekenbeek, Fr. Giron, Center for Peace-Asia, the TLIG Philippines Association - Manila and Cebu Chapters, and last but not least, Fr. Richie Santos and Fr. Julio Gaddi who accompanied us every step of the way. Our country has been blessed, we give thanks and praise to the Lord of Lords!
By: Fr. Jesus Richie Santos, Cecilia Lutz and the True Life in God Philippines Association