I received a comment from "Father Terry" pointing me to two particular among several articles critical of the book. That one was largely outdated, and the other erroneous is not surprising, since with the internet there are praises and criticisms of everything you can imagine.
What is important is discernment, particularly in matters of faith. Here is what Jesus says in the book to Vassula on January 22, 1989 "pray for the Spirit of discernment and of truth to come upon you always".
Either something is of God or it is not. If it is not of God, then it is of one of two things. It is either of the devil, or of one's own imaginings.
Vassula Ryden, whose hand has written the messages found in 'True Life in God", was born in a Greek Orthodox home, though she knew next to nothing about the Orthodox faith. She was married, divorced, and remarried, and had little interest in matters of God. If you read the progression of the messages in "True Life in God" what is evident on one level, is that the Vassula grows into a deep faith in and love of Jesus Christ. What is also evident from her background is that what is written could not be written by her without some kind of serious intervention.
Simply put, how could a woman of her background imagine what is contained in the book? This is not J. K. Rowling kind of writing, where her imagination runs free and comes up with fantastic stories. This is a book about faith in Jesus Christ, where the reader is led back to the Bible, and where Jesus explains the meaning of matters of faith to Vassula.
So, if the book is not a product of Vassula Ryden's imaginings, then maybe it is of the devil. On January 13, 1989 Jesus and Vassula have this conversation:
Jesus? One priest now has said that Your works You are giving me are spiritism, because of the writings. Please help me.
Vassula, I will help you; Glory be to God for delivering you from evil; let all those who doubt and accuse you of all sorts of calumnies, remember My words in Scriptures: a good tree produces good fruit; peace, My Vassula; rejoice when people abuse you and persecute you, for your reward will be great in Heaven;
beloved, those that assert that these Works are not from Me, the Lord, but are through spiritism or occultism, I ask them this question: can Satan divide himself against himself? if he is divided against himself, how can his kingdom then stand? – My grace is upon you, My child; but they have not understood.You may remember from the Bible where when Jesus was told he was a demon, he said this same sort of thing. In 1989, Vassula was still very much of a blank canvas, like us if we are fortunate, and so had no real knowledge of what "spiritism" was, and so no way to respond to it. Jesus, being very patient with her gives her the answer.
In the book, Jesus invites Vassula and all of us to pray the prayers that are found to the left of this page under the heading "Daily Prayers Requested by Jesus". They consist of the prayer to Saint Michael, in which we ask Saint Michael to be "our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil." I may not know the mind of the devil, but I am pretty sure that the devil would not be urging us to pray the Prayer to Saint Michael. The Memorare prayer to the Blessed Virgin is also not likely to be on the devil's list of things he wants us to do, and the "Novena of confidence to the Sacred heart of Jesus" is definitely not on his to do list. Oh, and throughout the book Jesus and Mary urge Christians to pray the Rosary.
So, really, do you think the devil is writing this?
So, if the book is not a product of Vassula Ryden's imaginings, and not of the devil, then that kind of leaves us with only one option. It must be of God.
Well, aside from things like I just pointed out, which are found on every page of the book, the urgings of God for us to get our heads out of the way and turn our hearts to him dominate.
Most important is the fruit.
When people read this book, and stick with it for a while it bears fruit. It takes about 100 pages or so for us to drop our guard and let it sink into the depths of our hearts. At least, it did for me, and friends of mine who have read it as well.
The result in me and in them has been a desire to pray more slowly and carefully, realising to whom we are praying. In those I know who have read it or heard the messages, or even watched videos on the True Life in God web site, growth in abandonment to God has occurred, sinful compulsions slowly wane, and hearts grow in love of God, love of neighbour and love of self as a Child of God.
"True Life in God" is not about Vassula Ryden. Though it is her story to an extent, it is my story and your story, and above that, it is the story of a God who loves us so much as to pursue us by any means we will allow him to.
Do not judge a book by its cover, but by the fruit that it brings about in you.