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"My husband, when he came home in the afternoon and I showed him all this, he knew there was something going on, that this is not just in my mind," stresses Ryden. "And eventually he started to read the messages every day because it gave him very much peace." If you're thinking that this sort of open-mindedness indicates a religious man, you're wrong.
"He's not at all," says Ryden. "He's a Lutheran. But he never went to church either."
Here is a typical day in the life of a woman who takes notes from God: "A typical day at home here would be that I would do the house quickly. If there's any shopping, I would rush to the shop, grab the things, run home, see what I'm going to do for dinner when my family comes home--when my husband comes home from work and my son from the university--I have everything ready for them. In the meantime, I'm not going out at all, even when friends in the beginning used to call and say, 'Come have a cup of coffee.' I said, 'I don't have time, you know, because I am usually called for writing.' So I sit home, pray, do the rosary, and then meditate, and then after the meditation, God is calling me. And I receive the Message."
I ask her if the conversation around the dinner table begins with, 'Well, honey, what did God have to say today?'
"Well, sometimes, sometimes not," she says. "It has become so normal in this house that sometimes they ask me, sometimes they don't ask."
According to Ryden, God has a lot to say. The dictation sessions can be quite lengthy.
"A very normal time would be like three hours' or four hours' dictation. If it is like yesterday, I think it was like nine hours, it was a lot. And this morning, also from 10 o'clock to 3:30 I was writing." Yet He is a merciful God. "Sometimes after two hours I have a break, I can't sit there nonstop. He gives me kind of like permission to get up and have some tea, have a break, because it's too much to sit there."
I ask Ryden if she can share a bit of that morning's message. She says yes, I hear the rustling of pages, and she begins.
"He speaks about His sacred heart. And He says, um, 'My sacred heart is not complicated. I am not a complicated god because I am like a lamb shining from within and from without and completely lucid, therefore you will never be misled for I would reassure you all the time that holiness will be rewarded in the end. . . .' and it goes on."
Well, you heard it here first.
Ryden's messages are tied to Catholicism; on her speaking engagements, she is accompanied by Father Michael O'Carroll, a Catholic theologian and her "personal spiritual director" (which seems superfluous when you've got God talking to you). Ryden's books are published by Trinitas, a nonprofit organization in Missouri, established in 1991 to spread her writings of His words. According to a Trinitas representative, neither Ryden nor O'Carroll receives compensation of any kind for their efforts. Her trips are financed by donations.
But what if you aren't Catholic? Is God sending all those Muslims and Buddhists, etc., straight to hell?
"Oh, no, not at all," she clarifies. "I think we understand this from one message He has given us. He says, 'In the end, in the Judgment Day, you will be judged according to the measure of the love you've had.' I think if they live Christlike, even if they are Muslims or Buddhists, if they have Christ in their heart without even realizing it, they could be better off at Judgment Day than a Christian that lives like a pagan. . . . He said you have to respect the people, your brothers, because we're all created by Him anyway."
And make no mistake about it, Ryden says hell is no joke. She has seen it, has seen the Devil throwing boiling lava into the eyes of lost souls.
"Yeah, I've seen the vision of hell, and He showed it to me on purpose so that I'd declare that there is hell, because many Christian people say hell doesn't exist; it's just symbolic, and it's not true. There is a place which is hell. It is awful, and when you think it's for eternity for those that are there, that's the thing. And Jesus is so upset and grieving saying, 'I'm losing so many . . .' Just imagine."
Satan is very aware of Ryden's work for his nemesis, she says, and has taken action.
"He tries to destroy me, and to this day he's trying to destroy me. First he was burning my fingers, and then small accidents that could have been fatal, and sometimes he puts people to attack me. For example, sometimes when I go to a place it's like all the demons of this place are very busy trying to destroy my coming. And he puts people at their weak points and they attack me. Not physically, but it could be by words, written, phone, newspapers, TV. And they can destroy you morally, and if you're not sustained by God, you can just crack down."