As in my reflection “Encountering the Church Penitent” a very vidid dream, last night’s dream was no different. There have been many short dreams during the past several years where I am on the way to church, or already there, but something always confronts me or creates a block which prevents me from completing my ministry that day.
Again, in my dream last night, there was another block that prevented me from totally completing my role as deacon of the Mass. We were in a very large church and the bishop (I did not recognize him as usually is the case with bishops in my dreams) was sitting in a large comfortable chair (not wooden as is usual in church sanctuaries) and it was time for me to get his blessing to proclaim the gospel. For some reason I approached two other chairs before coming to his. No one was in either of the other chairs. I asked for his blessing and was smiling as he gave it. Not sure what the two of us were smiling about.
I followed at least three altar boys with the first one carrying the Book of Gospels, usually designated for the deacon to carry in procession. We walked through the sacristy and along corridors until we arrived at the pulpit. To my left were sitting many school children (a reminder of my reflection on Encountering the Church Penitent where so many children were in the pews where I was sitting that I couldn’t sit back) and as I looked towards the congregation there must have been hundreds if not thousands of people sitting there. The pulpit was not wood but all stones very large yet inviting to stand in. The microphone was built into the stone work and didn’t look like one, yet it could pick up any type of sound without being very close to it.
The altar boy with the Book of Gospels handed it to me and the first problem arose. The ribbon or page marker allowed me to open to pages of many colors but no words. Where was the gospel I was to be reading? I began paging through the book but on any area I opened there were words that I didn’t understand.
Finally, Leon Abraham, one of my deacon classmates, who has been dead for a lot of years came from another section of the sanctuary where he was sitting with what I presumed were other classmates, probably all deceased, but not certain of that, and said he would help me find the text. We never did find it and consequently I never read the gospel or preached.
One thing Leon said was the theme was to be on the Second World War. I thought to myself that would be easy (since I could always change course when preaching and did that numerous times as most priests/deacons are able to do) and was ready to give a reflection on the Battlefield of Gettysburg and the solemn feeling I got while walking the open fields and seeing the statue of the two opposing generals hugging each other. A real sign of the closeness we all have, irregardless of our differences. We are all God’s children and He sees each of us as just that.
Analysis of the dream: First I never complete my role as a deacon in these dreams. I am late for Mass, or can’t find my vestments, or as here something is missing from the texts. But, there are always people and in all cases clergy are involved. Some clergy I know very well, but many times bishops or cardinals may represent Jesus in some manner.
Most interesting is the fact of so many children who are always happy, and multitudes of grown-ups at times just stoic. The children may represent those among us who have become like children as Jesus spoke about and the stoic looking adults as the many who have not yet been accepted into heaven; as in Purgatory and are depending on me, without words, but being there for them with prayer and God for their expiation.
Never think your dreams mean nothing. Usually, most of us remember so little about them, but if you do, write down what you remember, reflect on your visions and even if the comprehension is vague, there may be a message for you.
See Acts 2: 17 - 18 in reference to Joel 3: 1 - 5: “It will come to pass in the last days, God says, that I will pour out a portion of my spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. Indeed, upon my servants and my handmaids I will pour out a portion of my spirit in those days, and they shall prophesy. And I will work wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below: blood, fire, and a cloud of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the coming of the great and splendid day of the Lord, and it shall be that everyone shall be saved who calls on the name of the Lord.”
How fitting for Advent!
Ralph B. Hathaway, Advent Season 2019