Revelating ‘n Stuff on Christ the King

For several years, about the ages seven to twelve, my dad traveled in a Southern Gospel quartet.  I’ve mentioned this before.   I recall with vividness the song “Jesus Is Coming Soon” — “morning, or night, or noon.”  I was baptized at the age of 9 — thinking of Jesus coming soon — the song said “many will meet their doom.”  For some, “troubles will soon be over.”  I was certain I would never make it to High School.  It sounded very soon indeed.  Seventh grade brought fear that High School would arrive — no return of Jesus would save me from it.  A lot of time passed, I realized the early Church also thought he was coming really soon.   I eventually stopped thinking of Jesus suddenly appearing one day.  I got caught up for a time under the influence of an Associate Pastor who had attended a very fundamentalist bible college.  He taught of the dangers of New Age.  I began to look for Satan everywhere — this was the early 90’s.  Halloween began to bring out the church sponsored horror houses of tribulation.  I went into a dark place then and looked over my shoulder a lot then — a spooky and suspicious time for me.   Catholic theology has helped me get a grip on it all — put it in balance.  Jesus comes at every Mass.  If I had only known sooner in life.  I love this time of year when we dabble in Revelation — all the while the Christmas crib is not far off on the calendar.  The Incarnation.

From time to time, over the course of the last fifteen years or so, I’ve had occasional dreams that I recorded soon after, so as not to forget.   I think about these two in particular, in November, when our liturgy turns to readings from Revelation.  The two dreams that follow — I thought about the first one recently while listening to a podcast — probably themed on the Feast of the Archangels.  A person asked where Gabriel is now.

On July 11, 1991, I had a dream one night while sleeping.

I seemed to be in a desert place near the top of a sand dune.  Though it was the desert, it was not hot at all.  From over the hill, I hear a voice call out, “Gabriel.”  I followed the sound and looked over the hill.  It was bright daylight.  About 20 or so yards away were two persons.  In the flash of a moment, I knew the one kneeling in prayer was Jesus.  He was wearing a flowing white robe.  His right profile was toward me and I could see the flesh of His jaw that was mostly concealed by the robe covering His Head.  Gabriel was standing facing Jesus also wearing a white robe.  He had a staff in his hand and had long white hair and a beard.  He appeared to be keeping watch while Jesus prayed.  A bright, white light then shown around them, which was brighter than sunlight.  I was unable to look directly at them.  I was on my hands and knees and began to crawl back down the hill away from sight.  I felt as though I was trespassing and should not be there.  But, Jesus looked my way, held out His right hand, and said, “Come.”  I was compelled like a magnet.  Like a child, I crawled toward Him.  I could not stand.  “Come, take My hand,” He said as I came very near to Him, His right hand stretched forth to me.  The sleeve of His robe draped around His wrist.  I stretched forth my right hand and He took it in His.  It was the hand of a man and the air was immediately filled with electricity.  “There is healing in My touch,” Jesus said.  A surge of power entered my hand and consumed me all over. I believe things were said which I do not remember.  I fainted.  I had the sensation of falling and falling.

I was on my bed.  I felt as though I had fallen from the sky and hit the bed.  I sat up and was sweating profusely.  The radio alarm was going off and it was 5:30AM.  I’ve no idea what prompted this dream nor am I certain of its meaning.  It is true I felt different for many days after this dream.  I felt a lightness of spirit and it was as though my feet walked in a different place than earth.

On June 13, 1998, I had another dream which contained the following….

I was at my parent’s home, on the porch, when I heard a great sound of wings beating and birds screeching.  I stepped from the porch to see what the matter was.  I looked up and saw a great flock of white owls with huge wings flying all about.   They had the resemblance of angels with wings spread wide.  Then, they organized their flight into a formation resembling that of migration.  The air took on a different quality and there was a strange light.  I looked once more and the owls had rested in a single very large tree.  Their number was so great that the tree itself could not be seen.  There was a change in the atmosphere that I cannot describe in words.  I can only say it was like the calm before a storm.  Every tree stood still and nothing was stirring.  I looked upward at the sky and saw a portion had opened revealing great beams of blue light shining downward to the earth.  On the ground, the light fell on earth in a circular pool of light.  In the center of the circle was the shadow of a cross.  At that moment, I thought, “What can this be?”  I began running to this light all the while looking up at the sky.  The sky parted further and revealed a great throne upon which Jesus was seated.  The light was blinding much like in my earlier vision.  Jesus stood and stepped away from the throne and onto a cloud.  He was crossing from Heaven to the Earth.  I had been running toward the place on the ground where I saw the shadow of the cross.  I had just reached this place on the ground as Jesus stood and stepped onto the cloud.  At that moment, I fell on my knees with my face to the ground.  I cried, prayed, and was unable to move.  I felt great shame, sinfulness, and repentance.  This lasted for a moment.  Then, as quickly as it happened the moment was over and sky returned to its former state.  When I looked up again, I saw nothing but the sun in the place that had just revealed the throne.

This dream of owls, beating wings, and Jesus stepping on a cloud take me immediately to the song, “Midnight Cry,” performed by Michael English.  Singing, “When Jesus steps out on a cloud to call his children…”  I looked up several videos and have chosen this one.  It was recorded in a church this month so it is very recent.

I can’t close without “John the Revelator.”  This is a song that my dad’s quartet sang and I’ve known by heart since I was a child.  Really, who needs to know anything else about Revelation?  This is Michael English also and is currently in my car CD player right now.  This is awesome — loud in the car.  See you in Advent.

Advertisements

Peppermint, Prayers, & My Papa

Peppermint Candy

 

I was shopping in a Christian store when I came across the Candy Maker’s Witness bracelet.  I’ve seen the candy cane witness ornaments, but, never the bracelet.  The colors defined: white of Jesus’ purity and the red of Jesus’ suffering.  It was not this witness that prompted me to buy the bracelet — it was my Papa — my grandfather.  A bracelet with little glass peppermints.

A vivid memory of my childhood is the bag of Brach’s Star Brite peppermints that my Papa kept in a Kleenex box in the front seat of his Ford Falcon 1970 1/2 paint wagon.  Papa was a professional commercial and residential painter by trade.  I never knew Papa as a smoker but the peppermints were a result of his quiting the habit.  I remember being small enough to have to stand on tip toes to see if the peppermints were in the wagon — yes, but it was locked.  I’d then find Papa sitting out on the front lawn and tug on his sleeve.  “Papa, can I have a peppermint, please?”  He would give me the keys to unlock the wagon — or come himself.  Papa also gave me my first Bible on December 25, 1973.  I asked for a white leather Bible that “zipped up” around the sides with my name on it.  That is exactly what I got. 

The Summer of 1998, when I began Inquiry into the Catholic Church, my mother gave me a few items that were his.  I have a small crucifix — the sort that appears to have come from the end of a rosary — perhaps the size of rosary worn on a habit.    I have a small Our Lady of Perpetual Help medal that I wear daily.  I have a small pamphlet titled “A Daily Visit to The Blessed Sacrament” with the Imprimatur, William Turner, Bishop of Buffalo.  I have a small prayer card “A Remembrance of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.”  My grandfather journaled and wrote songs and poetry.  In his journal, he’s written “In Memory of All Saints Day, 1929” and another titled “Christmas Duty” imploring “Pray for us blessed Virgin Mother.”  I was stunned.  There will be a separate article written on my discoveries so I move along. 

In the Summer of 1998, I had a dream one night.  I dreamed that I was sitting on a pew in the front of a church — the images flashed between the sanctuary of my Baptist Church and that of St. Philip Benizi.  I was sitting next to an uncle who had passed away a few years before — my mom’s oldest brother — my Papa’s oldest son.   I was looking at the floor and I was aware of my spiritual struggles.  While looking at the floor, I saw that I was looking at feet standing in front of me.  As I raised my head up and looked, It was my Papa — happy, smiling, twinkling eyes, almost a joyful laughter — I knew he was pleased with where I was going spiritually.  He didn’t say a word but he was happy — I felt approval and I remembered the dream.  I felt affirmed in continuing my Inquiry — important because the Rite of Acceptance into the Catachumenate was drawing near.

A couple months ago, I was praying Evening Prayer from my Liturgy of the Hours.  I pray aloud.  After the intercessions, I offer my own intentions before praying the Our Father.  I offered up prayers for my family — more recently I’ve asked my Papa to comfort them in some way.  I don’t make a habit of praying for signs but of praying that I can hear God speak to me.  I am half-way through my prayers when a humming noise starts.  I thought the ceiling fan in my sun room might be the cause.  I continued to pray and the noise continued.  I refused to figure out what it was until I had completed the last of my prayer time.  Finally, I got up and walked to the door of my sun room and it was not the fan — the noise was now to my right ear.  I looked at the TV and cable box — they were off.  I looked down at my lead crystal candy jar full of Star Brite peppermints — it is the jar.  It is coming from the jar.  My jar of peppermint candies is making a high pitched humming noise.  I smiled and said out loud, “It’s Papa — Hello, are you here? Papa?”  I listened and smiled for a bit.  Finally, I took my hands and placed them around the jar in a hug — the noise ceased.  I opened the jar and unwrapped a peppermint — “thanks, I love you Papa.”

St. Francis Prays With Us – Vision In the Blessed Sacrament Chapel

My Secular Franciscan Fraternity has a Franciscan Crown Rosary prayer apostolate.  Every Wednesday night, a few of us meet after Mass in our Blessed Sacrament Chapel.  The picture of St. Francis on the left hangs on the center of the back wall and faces the Tabernacle.  Last week it started getting dark earlier.  The wall behind the Tabernacle is all glass windows.  The darker it becomes outside, the more vivid the window reflects back into the room.  From my seat, I saw that the photo of St. Francis was reflecting back into the chapel from behind the Tabernacle.  The reflection was off focus and Francis’ eyes appeared closed.  I turned to look over my right shoulder at the wall behind me.  The picture is vivid with piercing eyes that seemed to see through me.  I turned back to the window and the eyes appeared closed.  We continued to recite the Crown Rosary and I began to see Francis’ mouth move.  I looked over my shoulder — the vivid image — back to the window — the muted image.  Throughout the Crown, it seemed Francis was praying with us.  I told my companions once we had completed the Crown.  I mentioned it to a few at our fraternity meeting on Saturday.

 

Today, we celebrated the Feast of the Stigmata.  The chapel was full for the Crown and I sat on the other side of the room.  The same thing happened.  Maybe the image is all in my mind, but, I had the overwhelming feeling that Francis was praying with us.  He is also very happy to be facing the Tabernacle.

More on the Franciscan Crown