Vassula in New York City: Part3
May 25-30, 2004
May 28, Friday, 7 p.m. Meeting at the Holy Face of Jesus Monastery in Clifton, New Jersey.
Fr. Bernard and Fr. Louis, the monks from this Benedictine Monastery had invited Vassula, with the help of Anne Matthews and Thecla Johnides of TLIG, to speak to their youth group but many of their friends and parishioners joined, filling the beautiful chapel. Fr. Louis' enthusiasm for True Life in God dates back many years, he has testified to the authenticity of the Messages and to the great influence they have in his contemplative life. Fr. Bernard introduced Vassula and then took his seat beside Fr. Louis to listen to Vassula's testimony. One could see the delight in both priests' faces as Vassula spoke of the early days of her conversion and the main themes of the Messages, dotting the profound teachings with her day to day experiences with the Lord. The atmosphere was warm and intimate; hearing her speak gave a calming and tranquil effect in the overfilled chapel. The Armenian TLIG songs contributed to the solemnity and warmth of the ambiance. A Greek Orthodox listener who had driven up from Massachusetts commented afterwards: "I felt that Vassula was genuine, a down-to-earth individual with extraordinary gifts, someone that does not flaunt her abilities, nor hide from them. She spoke with such faith and honesty..." Refreshments were laid out for everyone after the meeting; all were invited to share a few more beautiful moments together.
May 29, Saturday, 1 p.m. Meeting at the Armenian Church Center, New York City
This big Meeting organized by the TLIG Prayer Group of New York City fell on the Saturday afternoon of Memorial Day Weekend, one of the important holidays in the U.S. The pulse of the City slowed down almost to a halt as New Yorkers took some time out of their hectic rhythm to go out of town. The audience of approximately 500 people at the Armenian Church Center was satisfactory under the circumstances.
Vassula's old friend Al Barbarino sang praise songs as people filled the hall before the meeting, and Vergine rendered the beautiful True Life in God songs in Armenian while Tigranuhi read the English translation of the verses. Mark Jordan gave the welcoming address, followed by a short introduction of Vassula and True Life in God by Fr. Louis of the Monastery of the Holy Face of Jesus.
Vassula's talk introduced the Messages saying it is God speaking to us today, they are a foretaste of the Beatific Vision, and that in them, the Holy Trinity reveals Themselves to us. The True Life in God Messages call us for a radical transformation of self, mind and soul done with the power and grace of the Holy Spirit. This coming of the Holy Spirit to transform us is called the Baptism of the Holy Spirit or baptism by fire, the Day of the Lord or the Visitation of the Lord, to purify us and to make us realize who we really are. Also called a New Pentecost, the Holy Spirit enables us to reach levels of pure light, levels of divinization whereby we become gods by participation. The Holy Spirit will give us a deeper and better understanding of God's word, and of God's mysteries, calling us to reach deification.
"I alone can clothe you in My splendour and give you the indispensable light; I alone, in My Divinity can impress upon your soul My Image of Holiness. Come to Me and prolong your gaze on My Holy Face so that you may understand fully that you are joint heiress with Me, united to Me and in Me...receive more of Me, allowing Me to receive more of you. My wish is to give more of Myself to you, so that you can give more of yourself to me. I will be obtaining in this way all that belongs to Me already; through My divine Love that will be poured in you, you will be deified, transfiguring your soul, so that My Father identifies you on Judgment Day with Me." (April 25, 1999)
She continued about the need for Repentance and to confess our sins to empty ourselves and allow Him to burn to the root all that is not Him. In True Life in God, our soul answers the call to perfection, to rise above the heavens. It is a call to Detachment, leading to Dispassion, then to Impassibility, the 3 steps to holiness.
"If you allow My Holy Spirit to invade you, He can transfigure your soul from a desert into a garden (Detachment) where I can have My rest in you; If you allow My Holy Spirit He can transfigure your soul into a palace (Dispassion) where I can be King and reign over you; If you allow My Holy Spirit to transfigure your soul, He can transfigure your soul into a Heaven (Impassibility) where I can be glorified."
Detachment is to die to one's self, to die to one's will, and also to all material things a soul can be attached to.
Dispassion is a higher degree of perfection wherein the soul is freed from earthly passions, has a distaste for all worldly things, a distaste for all evil thoughts and evil acts, and is led into higher levels of contemplation. It is a total rejection of evil. Our Lord describes this state, saying: "And although you will still be among men, your mind will be in heaven. Although your body will be moving among men, your soul and mind will be as an angel's. I will teach you to live in Us, move in Us, and breathe in Us..."
Impassibility is the ultimate perfection of the soul; it is a wider aspect of dispassion, a detachment of lust and passion, of pleasures and desires of the flesh.
One must give one's heart to the Lord to mold it, He leads the soul through purification after purification. The experience of seeing our sins with His Eyes is a grace and since the purification of the soul is according to God's mind, if you ask, He will grant you this grace. Giving one's self to God is like jumping off a cliff blindfolded...and landing on a path of sapphires (virtues). The knowledge of God is the greatest spiritual gift to be obtained; it is the first principle of Wisdom. Failure to know God is a sin, it is essential to taste God while still on earth, and the first step to know Him is to become intimate with Him.
Vassula touched on the subjects of Intimacy with God, the Apostasy, the Second Pentecost and the Power of Prayer. The audience was made up of Catholics and Orthodox, lay people and clergy, many hearing of the Messages for the first time. No one saw time pass, Vassula spoke for 2 solid hours and everyone was transfixed in their seats, at perfect attention. After the meeting, some listeners came backstage to thank and congratulate her.
May 30, Sunday, 10 a.m. Liturgy at Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Church
It was Pentecost Sunday, and we attended the Liturgy at Fr. Eugene Pappas' church in Brooklyn. After the service, Fr. Eugene called some prominent members of his community to the fore to give special blessings, Vassula was included. After the service, she was accosted by a group of Russian and Greek churchgoers who had recognized her from the newspaper advertisement and the TV interview. Eager to speak to her and interested to know more, they requested her to pray over them with the cross in her hand. Janna, a Russian Orthodox in the TLIG Prayer Group spoke to a Russian gentleman who was homeless and an alcoholic, and who asked to be prayed over. He gave her his testimony weeks later that his life changed ever since Vassula blessed him: he has not had a drink and now has an apartment to live in!
May 31, Monday Departure for Buffalo, NY
Here ended Vassula's visit to New York City, many thanks to the New York TLIG Prayer Groups for all the good work and hospitality.