Mission to China
At the end of Vassula’s visit to northern and southern Italy in May of 2016, I was informed of her next mission to China in 2017. Cardinal Prospero Grech had encouraged her to look toward spreading the messages of True Life in God in Asian countries, but she was waiting to receive an invitation to do so. Soon afterwards, however, Vassula had the unbelievable experience of being spotted on the terrace of a restaurant in Rome by a Chinese nun who had been her guide and interpreter in Beijing, China back in 2008! Sr. Mary Jibao was so happy to see Vassula and told her that she must come to China again. The Lord was drawing the plan before our very eyes…
After Sr. Mary returned to Beijing, all of Vassula’s friends who live in that part of the world took part in organizing this long-awaited return to the biggest country in Asia. The TLIG Taiwan Association instantly raised the funds to cover all necessary expenses for flights and accommodations, and more importantly, continued their efforts towards translating and publishing the TLIG messages in Mandarin, the dominant language of China.
In 2008, Vassula brought True Life in God to China, speaking in several churches and at a seminary in Hebei province in northern China. This province is home to one million Catholics. The publishers of the TLIG messages are located in Shijiazhuang, the capital city of Hebei. Thanks to Fr. John Baptist Zhang, the director of Faith Press, along with an ardent TLIG reader, Luke Kn Lam, Vassula’s second visit to China was organized for the cities of Beijing, Tangshan, and Guangzhou.
February 28, BEIJING
Vassula & Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi take a stroll in frosty but sunny Beijing with China with me (Cecilia Lutz) and organizers Luke & Marie.
Arriving at Beijing Airport with her traveling companions, Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi and myself, Vassula was met by Luke Kn Lam who had flown from Guangzhou in southern China. Marie-Madeleine Friberg, my daughter from TLIG Switzerland who had come from Geneva, was also with us. Amidst the wintery cold and frosty winds of Beijing, Vassula began her mission with Fr. Joseph, Luke Kn Lam, and Marie from Beijing West Church.
The Beijing West Church hosted Vassula's first Public Meeting
Vassula was greeted by Fr. Zhang (left), and Fr. Simon (right)
Vassula was welcomed by the parish priest of Beijing West Church, Fr. Zhang, together with many priests of the diocese, including Fr. Simon, parish priest of Beijing’s South Cathedral. Luke then started his heavy role as interpreter, since in many Asian countries especially China, English is not spoken.
March 1, West Church Public Meeting
The West church of Beijing is dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and is located in the western part of the capital of China. It was built in 1723, by an Italian priest and was destroyed three times by earthquakes. It is a beautiful church, well-preserved, and is a peaceful haven for its parishioners in this bustling city.
Just before the 6:30 p.m. public meeting, Vassula and the organizers were surprised to hear that the church was full! Its 350 seats were fully occupied, with the remaining audience standing. Many were parishioners from the Beijing South Cathedral.
The church was filled with people from different Beijing parishes
People from different Beijing parishes fill the church
The Beijing audience listened intently to Vassula speak
After the meeting, many books were sold and Fr. Zhang, of Faith Press, publishers of the True Life in God books since 2008, shared a delicious dinner with us. He arranged for Vassula and Fr. Joseph to meet the bishop of Haimen in Beijing the following day.
March 2, Vassula meets Bishop Joseph Bin Shen
The Bishop of Haimen, His Excellency Joseph Bin Shen was happy to meet Vassula
Accompanied by Fr. Zhang and Fr. Joseph, Vassula met the bishop of Haimen, His Excellency Joseph Bin Shen, who very warmly welcomed her and was so intrigued to hear of the many conversions that the Messages bring. Vassula told him about Padre Milheiro of TLIG Portugal who had translated and published the books in Portuguese many years ago. In his prison apostolate, he introduced and gave True Life in God books to the prisoners. Reading the Messages changed their lives and transformed their prisons into monasteries, as the inmates took down the earthly posters from their walls and replaced them with heavenly ones. They read, prayed, and were filled with hope for their lives and for their families while undergoing repentance and purification, and by returning to the Church and the Sacraments. Several books with these prisoners’ testimonies have been printed, showing how the Messages brought them back to God.
Bishop Joseph was very impressed with Vassula’s mission and extended his assistance towards furthering translations, along with the publication of the TLIG One Book in Chinese.
March 2: Meeting at the National Seminary of the Catholic Church, Beijing
China's Catholic Church announced the opening of the country’s largest seminary in Beijing on September 28, 2006. This seminary is the heart of the Chinese Catholic Church.
Vassula is welcomed to the National Seminary of Beijing.
Fr. Joseph introduces Vassula and the Messages at the hall of the National Seminary
At the start of the meeting, Fr. Joseph spoke to the audience, which was comprised of seminarians and some laypeople. As an exorcist, having obtained his doctorate in Dogmatic and Mystical Theology in Rome, he introduced the True Life in God messages of Our Lord Jesus Christ given to the mystic, Vassula Rydén. “A mystic is someone through whom God speaks,” Father Joseph explained.
He cited the Catholic catechism: "'The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.' Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 66)
Fr. Joseph explained: “In this article one discovers the progressive disclosure (explication) of public revelation. If, on the one hand, this article relates that Jesus revealed to us everything we need for salvation, no new ‘public’ revelation (the Deposit of Faith) is to be expected; on the other hand, it affirms that not everything in the public revelation of Christ was revealed to us ‘explicitly’! Concerning Jesus’ unexplicated doctrines, I recall Jesus’ words to his disciples before departing from this world: “I still have many things to say to you, but they would be too much for you to bear now. However, when the Spirit of truth comes, he will teach you all the truth since he will not be speaking of his own accord, but will say only what he has been told; and he will reveal to you the things to come.” (John 16:12-13) True Life in God is God’s Work revealed to us in our times through the Holy Spirit."
Vassula introduced herself as a person coming from the Greek Orthodox Church, but living a life without God. Nonetheless, through her Guardian Angel, God called her in 1985. She had no catechism; all she learned from then on was from Jesus. So we ask, why did God come to her? She didn’t pray nor go to church…why? His answer was: Wretchedness attracts Me. Through your wretchedness I will show My Mercy, through your nothingness I will show My Power and that I Am. (TLIG Messages, March 30, 1987 and October 20, 1994)
Jesus formed her to give His Message to all the world, to an apostatised generation. He said “Go and Christianize a de-christianized society!” (February 2, 1999) He then prepared her and sent her out to eighty-five countries to give His Message of True Life in God.
“I do not come by force upon you with My Holy Spirit to violate your liberty, nor do I come to condemn you; I come to you out of Mercy to give you freely the fullest Knowledge of My Will; through My Perfect Wisdom I come to augment in you the Knowledge I Myself have given you; I do not come to add new things into that which has been given you already, but I come to place My Kingdom in the middle of your hearts;” (TLIG Messages, June 2, 1991.)
Vassula spoke of the Holy Spirit’s role in repentance and in discerning God’s Will for each one of us. In the Messages, one learns what is Repentance - the soul must repudiate its evil thoughts and evil acts as well. If a person is humble, the Holy Spirit will easily find His Way in that person. He will shatter all imperfections so as to prepare him for union with God.
She went on by speaking about the great apostasy in our times, how disappointed God is in our generation. He says, “I look at the earth today and wish I never did .... My Eyes see what I never wanted to see and My Ears hear what I dreaded to ever hear! My Heart as a Father sinks with grief; I fashioned man in the likeness of My Image, yet they have degraded themselves and today, so many of them have taken the likeness of the Beast! their heart is so filled with lust, lawlessness, arrogance and perversion! their mouth is accustomed to cry out high and low abusive words; they swear against all heaven to make war against Me and against My Son .... ah .... they do all that My Heart detests; very often My Hand reaches out to My Cup that brims over with My Justice …” (TLIG Messages, April 15,1996),
What God likes is to hear priests talk about His sweetness, remembering David’s Psalms. He says it is a pity to die without having tasted the sweetness of God. “It is not enough to believe in God; even the demons believe in Him, but they have no love for Him. We should get to know God and understand Him. This is what God wants.” To know God and understand God is one of the richest spiritual gifts one can get. Vassula went on by speaking about True Life in God’s other main themes: Unceasing Prayer, Equality of Love, and Christian Unity. The seminarians and laypeople were mesmerized by Vassula’s talk, and eager for the follow-up Question & Answer session:
Question and Answer Session
1. Q: Is the second Pentecost based on the Bible or on your writings?
A: Pope John XXIII was praying to Jesus for the Unity of the Churches and for the second Pentecost. Thirty years ago, laypeople never thought of forming prayer groups and praying. Today, there are many prayer groups: of St. Padre Pio, St. Faustina, etc. Many laypeople are searching for God. Through True Life in God, there are many prayer groups around the world, as there is a thirst for God like never before. Laypeople receive gifts from the Holy Spirit. Why? Because God sees that the world has turned completely evil. We are now living in the End of Times which St. Paul talks about in 2 Thessalonians 2. The two signs indicating that we are at the end of this epoch are the apostasy & the spirit of rebellion.
2. Q: What can we do to prepare for the second Pentecost?
A: Tell the people about the sweetness of God.
3. Q: What does knowing God and understanding God mean?
A: In Jeremiah 9: 22-23, God tells the prophet that He is not impressed with a valiant man for his valor, or a rich man for his riches. What He likes is someone who knows and understands Him; for God this is important. The more we penetrate into God, the more we understand Him.
4. Q: We want to do God’s Will; but within us, do we truly respond to His Will?
A: First of all, repentance is needed. We must give our will to God; abandon ourselves completely; give all your heart. Once He has your heart, He can guide you. The Lord says: “Die to yourself, die to your ego … lower your voice so you can hear My Voice.” (TLIG Messages, June 19, 1995)
5. Q: Can you tell us about the Notification?
A: It was clarified in 2004 by the then Cardinal Ratzinger in the CDF. You can find many articles concerning the notification and the clarification by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on the TLIG.org website (click here). That article has the official July 10, 2004 letter and clarification. You can find many articles concerning the notification and the clarification by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on the TLIG.org website. Click on the word "Search" in the upper right corner. Then type Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in the Search box. Many articles on the notification will appear including one under the title of "Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger." That article has the official July 10, 2004 letter and clarification. The other articles have pertinent material regarding the same subject. In the back of the TLIG One Book, Appendix B contains all of the questions by the CDF along with my answers. It has now been thirty-three years since I was called by God, and since then, there has been manifested much good fruit. We have had thousands of conversions and the converted people all go back to the sacraments of the Church. Satan can make miracles, but can NEVER bring back souls to the sacraments. Cardinal Ratzinger approved True Life in God and many other theologians like Fr. O’Carroll, Fr. O’Connor, Msgr. Laurentin, and Fr. Joseph have written books on the Messages. If it were for Satan, there would have been no conversions, and the Messages would not have lasted thirty-three years.
March 4, Saturday - Tangshan, Hebei Province
Tangshan's Vicar General Fr. John Ren & Parish Priest Fr. Peter Hua welcomed Vassula
Tangshan is an industrial town, located 180 kilometers from Beijing. On arrival at the Tangshan Steel Hotel, Vassula was met by the Vicar General of the Tangshan Diocese, Fr. John Ren and the parish priest of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Fr. Peter Hua, where Vassula was invited to speak on Sunday after the 8:30 a.m. Mass.
The Immaculate Conception Cathedral of Tangshan
The Immaculate Conception Cathedral was built after the great 1976 earthquake which devastated the city and caused over two hundred thousand deaths. The Roman Catholic population in the Tangshan Diocese is now thirty thousand, of which six thousand live in the city of Tangshan. Thirty eight priests are now serving the diocese.
Fr. John Ren shared with us the history of Christianity in China. In the 7th century, Christianity entered China through the Silk Road, during the Tang Dynasty. It was brought by Persians involved in the Nestorian heresy. In 1953, during the Cultural Revolution of Mao Tse Tung, Christian churches and Buddhist temples were destroyed, missionaries were expelled, and priests were jailed. In the eighties, after Mao’s death, the people were again allowed to come out of hiding and worship. They were filled with fervor to rebuild their churches. Nonetheless, relations between Church and State remain strained.
March 5, Sunday-Public Meeting in Tangshan Cathedral
The priests were so happy to have Vassula in their Cathedral
After the 8:30 a.m. Mass, about 400 parishioners remained in the church to hear Vassula’s talk. Fr. Joseph presented a brief introduction, and after Vassula recited the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic, she began her talk by stating the fact that God purposefully brought her to the people of Tangshan as a postman who delivers God’s love letter to the entire world.
The audience of Tangshan parishioners
The audience listened intently to Vassula as she gave witness to her experience of God’s call in her life, and introduced True Life in God and all its themes.
Vassula was so warmly welcomed
Although the interior of this awesomely beautiful cathedral was freezing cold, one could feel the warmth and appreciation of the people of Tangshan to have God’s messenger come to their city and speak of God’s Love for all His children.
True Life in God Books for sale in Chinese
March 7, -Guangzhou
At the onset of plans for Vassula to visit China, Sr. Augustine of TLIG Taiwan recommended Luke Kn Lam to be Vassula’s interpreter. Luke had attended the TLIG retreat in Loutraki in May of 2016, and was happy that Vassula would visit his country. He was ready to assist in any way. When we found out he was from Guangzhou in southern China, Vassula accepted the invitation to speak in that city.
It is interesting to know that like the majority of Chinese today, living in China after the Cultural Revolution which suppressed all religions, Luke was an atheist. He came to the Catholic Church because of his attraction to prayer and the Liturgy. About four years ago, a catechist whose prayers impressed him very much, told him about True Life in God and recommended the Messages. In the beginning, the writings appeared to him very soft and syrupy, and had a too feminine tone for his liking…until sometime later. When he learned to pray the rosary regularly, his heart opened to the Messages. He immersed himself in True Life in God and learned to pray from his heart; he learned to know God and understand what He wants. The reason he is on fire to promulgate the Messages of True Life in God is very simple; he says that God is speaking to us; we should listen to Him and respond to Him. Luke is now a warrior for True Life in God.
By the time Vassula reached Guangzhou, there was news of opposition against her by some clergy in Beijing. The Catholic bishop of Guangzhou whom Luke had contacted earlier and who seemed open to the Messages, suddenly avoided him. The parish priest of the church who was scheduled to receive Vassula for a public meeting closed his doors! This is not unusual for Vassula’s mission. In the 31 years of her mission, having traveled to eighty-five countries and having given over one thousand talks, Vassula has always experienced persecution and opposition as part of the program. News of the 1995 Notification is always a focus, but the fact that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under then Cardinal Ratzinger had studied the Messages for two and a half years and had clarified all the questions is totally ignored. In November 2004, Cardinal Ratzinger personally received Vassula to tell her the Notification had been modified. In 2005, the Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat were given to the Messages. None of these positive updates are brought to light.
Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi immediately responded to this opposition by sending all the documents needed in defense of Vassula and True Life in God. Of course, at this point the plans for the public meeting were demolished, and the organizer, Luke, had to find an alternative venue at the last minute. A conference room was found at the other side of town, and many who knew of the Messages and wanted to hear Vassula speak were not able to come. All is in the Lord’s Hands. We had done our best; He will do the rest.
Guangzhou Public Meeting
Just before the Public Meeting, Vassula speaks to a pastor from the Union Church
Before the start of the meeting, Vassula was introduced to a pastor, the Rev. Lianshan Pei, who is a professor of Church History in the Guangdong Union Theological Seminary.
Vassula shows the audience the One-book edition of the Messages
During her talk, Vassula introduced the One Book English edition of the Messages to the audience. Only four volumes of the TLIG Messages have been translated in Chinese. An effort is underway towards the translation of all twelve volumes and the creation of the One Book in Chinese.
Book sales were successful, hopefully all the books will soon be translated and published.
All four translated volumes and the TLIG Prayer Guides were sold in bundles. We hope TLIG prayer groups will be formed in China. The great enthusiasm of the audiences in Beijing, Tangshan, and Guangzhou indicate a great potential towards the dissemination of True Life in God and its Messages in China.
We thank Luke and Fr. John B. Zhang for having organized these events which provided this opportunity for Vassula to witness for True Life in God in China. Our thanks also go to His Excellency Bishop Joseph Bin Shen for welcoming Vassula and her mission. We also thank the parish priests of the churches that received Vassula, Marie from Beijing West Church Parish, along with the laypeople who helped and showed their hospitality to Vassula, Fr. Joseph, Marie-Madeleine Friberg, and me. May God bless China!
Submitted by: Cecilia B. Lutz.