Below are some extracts from an excellent book “A Call from the Lord” by Monsignor Nicholas Vidalis, a Catholic Priest currently living in Greece. As you will see, Msgr. Vidalis has been given many wonderful and extraordinary graces from our Lord over the course of his lifetime, and has agreed to publish in this book some of these graces for the sake of the Church, stating-
“As I approach the fiftieth year of my ordination, I hope this booklet will be an example for religious vocations.”
Many who visit this website will also be pleased to know that Monsignor Vidalis has a deep devotion St Gemma, and I was told that recently when he was questioned about her “he cried tears of joy when speaking of her.” In fact, he recently wrote a book in Greek entitled-
“Η ΠΑΙΔΙΚΟΤΗΤΑ" (which loosely translated means “childishness”, or in other words, spiritually childlike), which is a collection of biographies of various Saints (Edited and published by Graphion Kalou Typou, Athens 2007). In the book he writes an extensive biography of Saint Gemma, thereby revealing his fondness and devotion for the Saint. Also, when he decided to publish the monthly christian magazine "Angelos" (translated means Angel), he dedicated the first issue to the Holy Rosary, the second to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the third issue to St Gemma.
In an email, Monsignor Nicholas’ friend, Demetrius Hadjistavrides, who is the co-copyright holder of the book, explained to me how the book came about-
“This book, at first, was just a series of oral, confidential discussions, between Fr Nicholas and I. Sometimes, he decided to give these discussions in a book form, but anonymously. That was the first edition. However, when the faithful read that book, they went to him and said: "Father, it is very strange! When we read this book, simultaneously we heard your voice saying the same!" He realized then that he can no longer be hidden, and he admitted that he was the writer. He did not want himself or his name to be known, nor does he want anyone to somehow believe him to be a saint. Finally, seeing that many were those that publish private revelations, he decided on the second publication as well as on the English translation, to sign up his book.”
I joyfully present the extracts of his book below because of the wonderful impression it has left upon me, and I thank God that Monsignor Nicholas agreed to publish it. May God be thanked and praised for all the wonderful graces that He wrought in the life of Father Nicholas! And, while there are spiritual lessons to be learned in almost every grace that he was given, such as respect and devotion for the Eucharist, the great honor of the Priesthood, God's love for each person, the importance of Holy Mass, Eucharistic adoration and devotion to our Blessed Mother Mary, however, most of all it is God's love and goodness that shines through in every grace that He has given to Msgr. Nicholas. May He be blessed for His everlasting love, kindness and mercy!
Extracts from Monsignor Nicholas Vidalis' book entitled “A CALL FROM THE LORD -which is different for each one” Published by: J & J Hellas Publications, Athens 2008. (**Note: Subject headings, photographs and some bolding/italics were added by the webmaster)
During the day I was all alone, as my mother was cleaning houses, and I think that she did not eat her food in order to bring it to me ... I was often waiting for her on the street, because she used to come home in the same way she went, on foot, so as not to spend the little they paid her. And the distances were in fact very large!
Although there was no church in the neighborhood, we both went to Mass every Sunday, always on foot. I remember how once my mother, on the way back home, found a 50 drachmas banknote (which had much more value then than it has today; this was a little before 1940) near a heap of garbage and she said to me:
"Do you see? Because we went to Mass, the Good Lord sent this to us so that we can eat today!"
Often, especially during World War II, we had nothing to eat. Nettles only! Not even greens! I remember once when my mother, having found some potato peelings in a garbage heap, boiled them in order to eat. I remember my body becoming hairy overnight, a sign that death from starvation was at hand! It was then that one of my sisters brought me something to eat, hoping that I would recover. From the neighborhood of Tourkovounia we could see the bombs falling over the city of Piraeus ...
During the great starvation of the war I was often telling my mother:
"Mum, I am starving!"
And since she had nothing to give me, I remember that she averted her face, so that I could not see her tears. It is very difficult for me to go on ... I wish and pray to God from the bottom of my heart, that she may enjoy great happiness in Heaven.
Importance of making a good Confession
Every Sunday, when we used to go to Mass, my mother used to suggest that I had to confess in order to receive Holy Communion.
It was in 1945. This I can tell considering where my home was then. It was Sunday, in St Therese church (1). The confessional was at the back of the Church. I confessed “as usual”. Afterwards I returned to my place, in the middle of the church, on the right. My mother was sitting at the opposite side.
I had confessed before Mass started. As I was walking towards my seat, something happened to me. Some kind of confusion, of loss of memory occurred. The Holy Mass proceeded as usual, the homily, the hymns, the Holy Communion. It was the fact that not only I did not pay attention -but of course I did not receive Holy Communion- I did not even realize when Mass finished! People left, the church was empty, and I was standing still there! Motionless!
I remember my mother nudging me and saying:
“Nico, let’s go!”
So I looked at her and followed her outside. On the way, my mother told me:
“You confessed, but you didn’t go to receive Holy Communion!”
I did not answer, I was still shocked… I pondered over what I had heard and what I had to do… My mother, being very distinctive, did not ask anything else.
Surely, the Holy Mass must have lasted at least one hour. During that moment I was talking with The Lord! I cannot tell whether it was internal or external, but I can tell that I was feeling Him close to my ear.
It was a catechism in depth and an examination of conscience, from my First Communion (that was not done properly), until my latest Confession. The Lord mentioned all the sins that I had omitted to confess. Of course, He was not stern. I did object in many cases, but He explained everything, so that there was no doubt left in me.
I remember telling Him:
“…I didn’t know it was a sin…”
“Now, you know. That is why you are going to confess”.
“How can I remember all this?”
“Each time, you are going to confess what you remember. You are going to Confession as many times as needed”.
“I am ashamed, because here everybody knows me!”
“Go elsewhere; To the Cathedral”.
And so I did ; I obeyed.
Since then, everything changed for me. I understood things better. I was enlightened. The difference between my old self (before the dialogue with Jesus) and my new self was very obvious to me. I understood that The Lord does not deny His Mercy even to the most sinful and embraces all souls with love and affection.
So, I knew then the difference between sin and not sin, although confessors had a different opinion, even nowadays.
(1) The author talks about the old St Therese de Lisieux church in 32, Eptanisou str. and not the new one which was erected later.
Extraordinary Call to the Priesthood
During that period of time I stopped going to the cinema, due to the bad influence of various films (here, I must say that I have never watched “bad” films). Afterwards, gradually, I started not going out with my friends and sharing their opinions. Once, they invited me to go with them to find “something pleasant” meaning sexual. I carried in my pocket the rosary and I was praying silently, not to find that kind of pleasure! And so it happened!
Once, a schoolmate and friend of mine was having a party. I was there too, dancing with a girl who suddenly told me:
“Dance with…(a girl’s name)”.
I understood that they had talked about me, because she liked me. I cannot deny that I too, felt something for her. It was the onset of a mutual attraction that could have evolved to something more.
So I started dancing with her, and then, I heard a very familiar Voice telling me:
“Nico, these things are not for you!”
I turned my head abruptly on the right (from where I had heard the Lord’s Voice) but I did not see anyone. I pushed the girl away and sat on the couch ignoring all the others.
I spoke internally, almost angrily:
“This is not for me; that is not for me… What then on earth is for me?”
And that was the end of all that stuff. From then on, I stopped going to my friends’ parties. However, I did not confide to anyone what was happening to me. I even did not mention it when I was confessing. I did not do that, because I wanted to hide something, but I simply thought that it was the right thing to do.
Let’s go back to the early years, just before I joined the Navy and a while after the party when I heard the Voice of Jesus… It was only the beginning of a mutual attraction… Once again, the Lord is acting on time! Here is the occurring:
I left behind me the Municipal Market of Kypseli and while I was walking towards Aghia Zoni I crossed perpendicularly Fokionos Negri str. In the middle of the street there was a garden. On both the left and right side streams were running. There were tree-shaded pavements, roads on both sides, then pavements again and then the houses. There was even a pond where I used to swim in the summer. The eucalyptuses were really very high!
While I was crossing the road, suddenly I stopped on the pavement of the garden, in front of a very high eucalyptus from the top of which sprung a powerful but not blinding yellow-red Light! As I was standing still, looking at that Light, a dialogue with the Lord begun (2) about my feelings for that girl. The Lord said to me:
“This love is not a bad thing, however it does not last forever… MY LOVE IS ETERNAL! WHICH ONE DO YOU PREFER?”
“Yours, which is eternal!”
I cannot recall anything else… Of course, more things where said before and after.
I kept on walking as if I was lost… I was still shocked by the phenomenon and my dialogue with the Lord. I was thinking of the consequences of my choice for the future…
I am still marveling at the subtlety concerning freedom of the Lord; It was an lifelong experience for me, the benefit of the souls as a confessor. I admired that He warns all of us in time, like me, before I went on… I believe that this is the way He acts for every soul. I think that it is not possible for anyone to use the excuse “I did not know” when the Day of Judgment is at hand.
So, I have never met that girl again! I was so sure that it was the Lord who was talking to me, so that I always obeyed without any doubt or hesitation. I have never felt sorry for the path I chose; I always feel happy fulfilling Hiss Will, provided that I know that it is Him talking to me.
(2) A note by the Author "I cannot tell how long it lasted, like the Confession I described before, during Mass."
I was still in the Navy, when on a Sunday I attended Holy Mass. I served as an Altar boy, because I wanted to be next to the Altar and look at the Holy Gifts.
A conversation with the Lord begun again during Mass (here I have to remind you of the deal I made with my friends, about not becoming priests). During this conversation, the Lord convinced me about the greatness of Priesthood! I was enumerating the reasons why I did not want to be a priest and I admit that He always answered convincingly to my uncertainties or difficulties. I recall telling Him:
“But (those) priests do (that)!”
The Lord answered:
“Well, do not do that!”
“But they behave (that way)!”
“Well, do not behave like that!”
“But being a priest is humiliating!”
“No, it’s not! It is a great honor! Just think that not only army officers leave down their swords and caps in order to serve Holy Mass, but even kings and nobles kneel in front of the priest, to receive Remission!”
The Lord told me a lot more things which unfortunately I do not remember now. However, when Holy Mass finished, I had no doubt for becoming a priest, and I was capable of making the best homily referring to Priesthood and its greatness! Of course, today I know much mre about the Priesthood, but at that certain period of time, I knew only what the Lord had told me. I had not known anything before, nor had I read anything relative to it.
Devotion to the Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary
After the 2nd Ecumenical Council of Vatican there was crisis in the Church, on various topics. I read somewhere that in certain countries there was even profanation of the Holy Eucharist! I was in front of the Tabernacle, very sad, even crying and I asked the Lord:
“What can I do, a humble person?”
The Lord answered:
“Organize a Week dedicated to the Holy Eucharist!”
In addition, when Hierarchy in Greece abolished the obligatory celebration of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, I asked the Lord the same thing and He answered clearly:
“Organize a week dedicated to the Mother of God. In order to repair…”
So, both Weeks were celebrated with great success and much attendance. Everything was properly organized; as in similar Weeks that take place in other countries (as I learned afterwards). It was as if I knew how these Weeks were organized, although I was not aware of the way they are organized and I had never attended one.
My achievement was that each Bishop and priest of my Diocese came to my parish, and celebrated Mass for a universal purpose. Those purposes were related to the Church and the whole World intending to Salvation.
Indeed, for the Eucharistic Week, Pope Paul VI sent his Apostolic Blessing.
Everybody was asking me whose the idea had been. What could I answer? I did not want to lie -I do not usually do that - so I was telling them the truth:
I do not know if they believed me. Even to me, this answer reminded me of the words of the Gospel:
“Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (3)
I have to remind to my readers of the fact that the work of the Lord is not done without fatigue and sacrifice. Prior to asking the Archbishop’s permission for these Weeks I had been fasting and prayed intensely for a month (!) and I asked others too, to pray for this purpose. When I went to ask for permission and saw the expression of his face… I still remember how hardly he said “yes” while I was praying mentally to the Mother of God! I thanked Her promptly for Her Intervention!
(3) John 1: 46
The Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist
“What about Me, down here?”
Without getting up, I turned around, and what did I see? A Host, in a fissure between the Altar and the wooden floor, among cobwebs and small pieces of litter! The fissure was smaller than 6 cm. I picked up the Host immediately, reopened the ciborium and put It inside. Then I placed again the ciborium into the Tabernacle, excited of what I had just heard and seen…
I thanked the Lord for choosing me to perform this kind of action. I wondered how long the Body of Christ must have remained there, whilst many priests had been saying Mass on this Altar. Someone may have opened the ciborium quickly and carelessly, so the Host may have been lifted by the air and fell on the floor.
One time, I was celebrating the Holy Mass in the Church of Our Lady of the Victory, known as “Santa Maria”, in Rhodes. After Transubstantiation, when the Body and Blood of Christ are commixed into the Chalice, spots of Blood appeared on the left side of the consecrated Host, whilst I was holding It into my hand. The phenomenon lasted some seconds, then those spots of Blood disappeared. The people who attended Mass saw that phenomenon too.
Attacks from the Devil
Apart from being often favored by the Lord, I suffered many attacks from Satan, like loud noises in the church and in the presbytery. I remember once, when a very loud noise woke me up at 3 a.m. I got up and went in the direction from which I had heard the noise, to find what had caused it. But simultaneously, I could hear the same noise coming from the office! I entered the room. There was nothing, however I was terrified. I looked then at the statue of the Virgin, and at my mother's photo that was behind it. So, I begged my mother, who knew that I was easily scared, and told her:
“You, who used to love Our Lady so much, tell Her to make me feel no fear anymore, even if Satan is trying to harm me". From then on, I has never been frightened ...
During the time I was parish priest in my first parish, while in front of the same Tabernacle where I had heard the Lord telling me that "It's the last time you will giving Me to your mother!", this happened:
I was really in a very bad psychological condition ... my morale was low and I was suffering from sadness, and a spiritual dryness that I had never experienced before. I was sobbing, kneeling in front of the Tabernacle, and I recall telling the Lord:
“I can't stand it any more!"
Then I got up and went to the back of the Altar, to kiss the Tabernacle, which I had not opened until that time. Whilst I was kissing it, as my lips where touching it, a voice (4) whispered in my left ear:
"It's cold, it's frozen. There's nothing in it!"
I turned to the left and said: "Because there is, I worship Him!”
And suddenly, I was kneeling on the floor, worshiping Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. And ... miracle! All that sadness was over, like it had been cut away with a knife, and I felt wonderful! At once! Then I thanked the Lord ...
Sometimes, I started saying Mass healthy and feeling fine. In a while, I was suffering from pain in many parts of my body, such as my liver, my stomach or my head, and I was sure that "the other" (5) was causing all these unpleasant things to me. So I thought:
"I'm not going to do you that favor! I'm going to speak! (6)
After the homily and the Creed, whist I was returning to the Altar, I was looking at the Tabernacle saying:
"Lord, send him away!"
Suddenly, I began feeling better and I went on with Mass. Usually, I would try to find the provenance of that "bad vibe" and I knew from which particular person it was coming ...
I am recounting all this, as well as everything you are going to read on the following pages, because I believe that God wanted those phenomena to happen, so that my priestly life might be enriched as a confessor of lay and consecrated people, for the benefit of their souls.
An Angelic Appearence
During the repairs carried out on the chapel of the Sisters, I was living temporarily in an apartment, because the presbytery was under reconstruction. The apartment included an empty room, where I could reserve the Holy Eucharist. But I had not got a Tabernacle to keep the Body of Christ safely, as recommended by the Church. I was afraid of burglars and sacrilege, and I used to say, when I was going out or to bed: "My Angels, protect my Lord and me!"
One night, I woke up at 3 o'clock and I saw a luminous Angel, about 1,8m tall, whose wings were wonderfully colored. He was standing less than 2m away from me. I saw his profile and I began observing him, looking at him from his feet up to his head. As soon as my glance reached to his face, I tried to approach him, but he vanished. I was wondering why he had appeared at this place where I saw him. I went to thank Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and then I remembered my words:
"My Angels,, protect my Lord and me.” Suddenly, I understood! The Angel was standing at the middle point of of the distance between the Most Holy Sacrament and my bed! I admired how obedient these heavenly creatures are!
Those supernatural phenomena which are mentioned above, are some of the few I can recall. I do not wish to give the impression that I am an extraordinary person. I am a sinner, well aware of my sins! But “God chose what is foolish by human reckoning”(7), those who are “nothing”…
I am considering St Paul, the Apostle of the Nations. God chose him and he received at once the entire Gospel! Despite that marvelous occurring, he writes to the Corinthians that he cannot boast about anything of his own except his weakness!(8) When he begged the Lord not one, but three times to set him free from the “thorn” in his body, the Lord answered:
“My grace is enough for you!”(9)
So, what can I say? With so much weakness? So many sins? So many “thorns” with which I have wounded the Lord? Perhaps, all these “thorns” make me humble, so as to behave with goodness, compassion and understanding, similar to Our Lord’s ones, each time a person comes to me in order to receive the great Sacrament of Repentance. We all have to imitate to Jesus, up to the low degree that we can achieve.
Whatever we possess in this life comes from the Mercy of the Lord. This is why the only thing we may incessantly repeat is:
“Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, the sinner!” Amen.
(7) 1Cor 1:27
(8) 2 Cor 12:5
(9) 2 Cor 12:7-9
Nicholas J. Vidalis was the last child of a large family and was born in Tinos Island (Cyclades) on October 30th, in 1930. His stay in Tinos was very short. He grew up in Athens where he graduated from the “Lycée Léonin” of the “Frères Maristes”.
His graduation as well as his joining in the Army was delayed due to the World War II and the Greek Civil War. He joined the Greek Royal Navy on April 10th, in 1953 as a specialist in sonar localization. He served in for 27 months and on July 25th, in 1955 was released, receiving the “Blue Ribbon Certificate of Discharge” with excellent behavior and ability.
In October in 1955, Archbishop of Athens told him to study at the Church University Propaganda Fide, in Rome where he obtained a Baccalaureate in Philosophy, within two years. In addition, he studied Theology for four years in a supplement of the same university in Genoa of Italy being taught by excellent professors of the time.
That Archbishop wanted him to study Law in the University of Genoa, but he was killed in an accident and his successor did not allow Fr Nicholas even to sit for an exam, because of “pastoral need”.
When he returned to Greece was appointed as a parson in St Lukas parish, in Heraklion of Attica. There, with the help of God and Our Lady worked irreproachably in all fields, spiritual and material. He organized with great success for the first time in Greece, one Eucharistic Week and one Week dedicated to Our Lady. Moreover, he undertook the task of restoration and extension of the St Lukas church, restored the St Therese chapel in Heraklion, the chapel of the cemetery and the ossuary. Furthermore, he was the supervisor of the construction of the yards and surrounding grounds of the churches along with numerous other tasks.
After ten years the Archbishop transferred him to the Cathedral. When the Archbishop resigned, Pope John-Paul II pronounced him as temporary (Ad Interim) Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Athens. So, in proper time, he handed the Archdiocese to the Archbishop who remains the current Archbishop today.
The book “A CALL FROM THE LORD which is different for each one” can be purchased for Euro $6.00 (approx $8.50 U.S.) from the bookseller Emmanuel Kalomiris –email (in English) firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com See also the following webpage: http://www.christianbook.gr/catholicbooks.htm