LOVE HYMN FROM HEAVEN ECHOES IN THAILAND
by: Rose Padilla, Edgar Dante and Joan Daengsvang
The Kingdom of Thailand lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, roughly equidistant between India and China. The country is well known throughout the world for its beautiful tropical beaches, offshore islands, exotic food, rich culture and natural beauty, hence a major tourist destination. Buddhism is the dominant religion practiced by at least 95 per cent of the 60 million Thai people. Orange-robed monks and gold, marble and stone Buddha are common sights. Muslims account for four per cent, while Christians are less than one per cent of the population -- too insignificant to be noticed by God?
From 3 to 5 March 1998, Vassula Ryden visited Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, through an invitation made by a group of Filipino and British expatriates and a Thai national. It was Vassula's first visit to Bangkok with a mission, since her previous visits to Thailand before her conversion were to Phuket island in the South of the country as a tourist. Brother Christopher Chan, a deacon based in Switzerland, accompanied Vassula on this visit.
At Don Muang International airport in Bangkok, Vassula and Brother Chan were picked up by two of the organizers, Edgar Dante and Joan Daengsvang. Edgar Dante, who is a Filipino working for the United Nations' secretariat in Bangkok, has been reading the True Life in God messages since 1994. In November 1997, his work took him to Bangladesh where he met Fr. "X" at the seminary house where Vassula used to attend Mass during the early years of her conversion. This unexpected meeting with Fr. "X" was providential as it led to Vassula's visit in Thailand.
On 4 March, the day began at 10:00 a.m. with a meeting of Vassula and the seven local organizers in a function room of YMCA hotel where Vassula and Brother Chan stayed. Vassula shared with the group how TLIG messages have been spread to many parts of the world and encouraged them to participate in making the messages known in Thailand. She inspired them to become "disciples of the end times" by sharing what they had received from God to others with love. She added that everything she has learned and has been doing comes from the messages and anybody can do the same thing. For the organizers, the meeting was a wonderful experience to meet God's messenger and to become her friend.
Meeting with Thai bishop, priests and lay people
A group of 15 people, mostly Thai, led by Bishop Manat (John Bosco), in-charge of Inter-religious dialogue of the Catholic Church in Thailand, and three Thai priests had a private meeting with Vassula right after the organizers' meeting in the same function room. The group has been involved in the translation of True Life in God messages into the Thai language and, to the great surprise of Vassula and even to the organizers, the group have completed translation of volumes 1 to 7 with the exception of volume 4. Bishop Manat gave a copy of one translated book to Vassula, which she received with obvious pleasure.
Vassula shared God's messages with the group. She related briefly the beginning of her conversion and explained the preparation she underwent prior to her evangelization work. She explained that God's special grace on her is His way of intervening in the world's affairs because of the great apostasy in our generation - something greater than what the church has ever experienced before. God's choice of Vassula, whom she herself acknowledged as wretched and miserable before her conversion, is in fact a proof of the greatest of His mercy. Vassula shared how she suffered as she saw the state of her soul in the eyes of God, which was necessary to prepare her to meet God. God is Holy so to meet Him requires purification and repentance.
Vassula spoke about Unity as her main mission. She stressed that unity among Christian churches, i.e. Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants, will come about soon because of the work of the Holy Spirit. It will happen in the spirit of humility and love but not as a result of papers and meetings. Here Vassula pleaded for more sincere prayers for the Pope and his work in uniting the Christians. The meeting ended with numerous questions from the group to Vassula regarding various issues including the Notification from the Vatican about Vassula, psychic (pranic) healing which has recently become prevalent in the Catholic church of Thailand, the role of Jewish and other non-Christian groups in the salvation plan of God, and the efforts of some religious groups to abolish the Eucharist.
Big meeting attended by about 600 people
Vassula's main presentation was held at the Holy Redeemer Hall on 4 March 1998 from 7:30 to 11:00 p.m. The hall is located just behind the main Catholic Church serving the international community in Bangkok run by the Redemptorist priests. It has a sitting capacity of about 500 people yet about 600 people came.
The ceremony was simple and the atmosphere was prayerful and prayerful. Vassula arrived in the Hall at about 7:25 p.m. After a brief announcement, the Rosary was prayed, led by one of the organizers. On the fifth mystery Vassula led by praying the first part of each prayer in Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus. The words though strange, sounded so pleasing and yet familiar.
Vassula started her testimony on her conversion. After 12 years, she is back in Thailand, not as a tourist but as a witness of God's love. She shared how she had lived completely for herself before and how God chose to reveal Himself to her. Then she continued by sharing some of the messages written in the TLIG books and making some references to her experience. She suggested for the books to be read one after the other in order, because it is like a school, advancing in depth and is continuous. She also asked that it be read meditatively in the spirit of faith, putting our own name instead of her name in it.
Our Will, Intimacy with and Fear of the Lord
Vassula stressed that the True Life in God mission is God's work. Thus nothing can stop its progress and completion. The only thing that can slowdown God's work is our saying "No" to Him, by our will. Our own will is all we have to offer to Him, and He wants us to surrender this part of ourselves at every moment of our lives. Through this we may undergo purification, a grace/cleansing, for us to see and understand God, and to see ourselves as God sees us. Then we'll realize that "We belong to God" and hear God say, "You descend from Me." Thus the message is actually a call to intimacy with God, but notwithstanding fear of Him. Intimacy means to know and understand God. It involves love of God and lives in our constant prayer to Him. God calls us to die to ourselves, to be nothing for His sake, that He may lift us, transfigure our soul and reign over us. Yet He is gentle and does not violate our liberty, our free will. He said, "Do not fear me, fear me only when you rebel against me." Thus fear of the Lord means refusing to do evil.
The Holy Spirit
Vassula also talked about the apostasy that the world is experiencing now; the growing number of people who are baptized, but yet reject God's Divine Truth. But there is the promise of God's intervention, as He does through Mary. This is the Triumph of the Two Hearts. It promises hope, unity of the church, our spiritual growth and the return to the sacraments. God promises to let His Holy Spirit descend like a fire invading our hearts, enabling us to glorify, to love and to submit fully everything we are and everything we have to God. God calls for us to love Him, and to pray unceasingly. Loving Him will help us to learn to love others. For to have lost the gift of Love is to have lost the knowledge of God. An unceasing prayer is a constant longing and desire for God.
The Holy Spirit is the source of the gift of Love, He refreshes and renews us, and brings us the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. "Although you're still working among men, your mind is already in heaven." The promise of the second Pentecost is already happening. The key is to open our hearts to the Holy Spirit, to be set free and inflamed with love. But to love is to do the will of God. It must be alive and active. Even small things or duties, done with love, become great in the eyes of God. Because in doing so, we serve Jesus not the person. Love is the essence of all God's law. God wants us to find Him by loving Him selflessly, in abandonment, thus by observing His commandments.
These times mark the end of an epoch. The Holy Spirit is working in us slowly, step by step. He is like a tide, slowly washing over us. He is like the ocean and we the fish. The fish lives, moves, and breathes within the ocean. Out of the ocean, the fish dries up and dies (so we spiritually). The Holy Spirit promised that if we allow Him, He will break open the boundaries that hold us prisoners of the world." He will carry us and pour on us His blessings. He will teach us to live in Their fullness, to live, move, and breathe with Them. For in them we never cease to live.
Prayer and the Sacraments
Prayer is the strongest weapon we have against Evil and the strongest prayer is the Rosary. God calls us to prayer. He wants for us to ask Him to bless our meals and thank Him. He said, "Always be hungry for my bread." (The Eucharist). to long always to be united with Him. Vassula suggested to always use "we, us" instead of "I, me", to remember always His presence in whatever we do.
The Triumph of the Two Hearts
Vassula also talked about the Heart of Mary. Our devotion to her Heart amplifies and ascends to God because their union is so perfect. "Learn that my Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of your mother are so united that in their perfect unity those Two Hearts become one." Mary called us to honor her Heart by doing good and refusing to do evil, and to grow in her Heart.
After Vassula ended her talk, the healing session started off with a prayer of Consecration to the Two Hearts (of Jesus and Mary). Many people lined up for healing and again, the Holy Spirit was at work, manifested by the orderliness of the people and the prayerful atmosphere in the hall. Vassula prayed over the people, one by one. It was done in silence and with good order. It started with a hymn to the Holy Spirit led by the AITCC Choir. Vassula led a prayer to the Holy Spirit. The pray over was done by touching the cross with the relic of the real cross of Christ, to the forehead of one while she prayed over the person before him/her. The usherettes helped the people to line up and catchers were assigned to take care of those resting in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit touched many hearts. The choir sang hymns as a soothing, gentle background, while those in their seats prayed the Rosary. The pray over finished past 11:00 p.m. Then Vassula thanked the people especially the organizers of the activity. She also asked the people to pray for her, especially for her family.
After the healing service, some people came to the reporters to share their testimonies. At least five people reported to have seen Jesus' Face in Vassula's while she was speaking. One lady testified that she saw an image of the angel Gabriel besides Vassula when Vassula was praying over the people. This lady had a vision of the risen Christ, standing in front of her with open hands, while she was resting in the Spirit. Two other ladies reported to experience peace and healing, both physical and spiritual. One came to express her realization that indeed God is Love and Forgiveness.