And It Seems to Be Growing Clearer
Usually when I have a dream, I don't remember a thing about it. It disappears, and all I can remember is that I was having a dream. Well, the one I reported a few days ago was different, and continues to unfold in my thoughts and prayers. As it does it draws me deeper into the mystery of Jesus, Our Lord.
As I understood it at the time, I was a newly ordained and young priest, and I was going to Mass with a priest I did not know, and with Father Michael Prieur, who I have known for a long time. In relating it, I picked up on our membership in the royal priesthood by virtue of our Baptism into Jesus Christ. In fact, I think I got the essence of the dream, but it just took a few days for the symbolism of it to sink in for me.
Looking back, I realise that though I did not know the other priest, he was somehow familiar to me. He was dressed in beautiful vestments that were a familiar and very specific blue and were trimmed with gold. They were the type of vestments that we see very seldom, where rather than flowing they were the stiffer backed ones with the rounded edges that we see occasionally, usually in videos.
As we had been approaching the altar, I noticed that I was not in vestments, and that Father Prieur was actually vested as a Deacon, not as a priest, with a deacon's stole on, hanging from left to right. It was Father Prieur that described the Eucharist as I relayed it in the earlier post, and only he and the priest were on the altar.
Just after New Years this year, now 11 months ago, I met with Father Prieur at St. Peter's Seminary, and described our meeting at the time here. I was well aware that day, that Jesus was present with us when we met. I saw Him sitting across from us, leaning in to our conversation, smiling at us both, and loving us, and enjoying being with us.
As I have pondered on this wonderful dream of the other night, I realised that I know who the priest was, and is. Like the disciples on the Road to Emmaus, I did not recognise that He was in our midst, that He is the center of the Mass, that it was all about Him, Our Blessed Saviour and Lord.
Normally at Mass, Father Prieur would be in priestly vestments, and would celebrate or concelebrate with any other priests present. But, if the Bridegroom is present, would someone stand in for Him? Would you need an alter Christus to celebrate the forever sacrifice of Christ on the Cross if He is there in body? No, in fact in this particular Mass, there was to be only one celebrant.
But, it was Father Prieur that spoke about what Eucharist meant, as the Mass was about to begin. He presented the mystery of Eucharist for us in that dream, as our beloved priests do every time we attend Mass. Just, this time, he did it in words, the words of a teacher, and believer, rather than is his actions.
Oh, how I wish I had stayed asleep longer to see the Mass unfold, though maybe I know what it would have been, and maybe I have seen it before.
I wrote earlier this year about a simple miracle of the Eucharist that happened to me many years ago, about seeing the priest, a close friend of mine at the time, raising the bread during the consecration, and it then dissolving into Christ on the Cross that was behind him.
I remember saying to this priest on one occasion as we shared a meal, that it must be so wonderful to be able to consecrate the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Our Lord. Though I have loved our dear priests for a long time, I have also been envious of them being able to stand in front of us, and bring to life the most simple yet wonderful miracles of the Eucharist, not by their power, but by the grace and love of Jesus, present with them and in them, and in us. As this dream unfolded for me, the envy disappeared, but the awe did not.
The vestments of blue that Jesus was wearing in my dream were a hidden clue to me, until I pondered that over the last few days as well. In fact, it gave me an indication as to who He is. The blue of the vestments was the blue that we associate with Our Dear Mother Mary. Those who have prayed the Rosary with any devotion or who have looked at what Our Dear Mother has said in her appearances around the world, know that she always points to her son, Our Lord. She does not take honour for her own self, but reflects all honour that she has and deserves, because of her unique obedience to the call the Father gave her, back to her son.
Father Prieur was honouring Jesus in this Mass, by vesting as a deacon, and by inviting the congregation into the mystery as Mass was about to begin.
It is now clear to me that in my dream, I was a stand in for all of us. We are royal priests, and no we have not been called to Holy Orders, but we have been called to holiness, to submission to the will of God, to love Him above all, and to love one another. For Father Prieur and for all priests, the call is almost the same, except that they have been given a responsibility to make Jesus known to us, and present to us in a special way, as a reminder that He is always with us. Emmanuel, God With Us.
Those of us who have been baptised into the Catholic Vision of the faith of our fathers, and above all faith in Our Saviour and his work of redemption of us and for us, are called to share what we know with our brothers and sisters around the world. That is simply that He lives, and is with us this very day, and always. He is present in each one of us, but He is also very specifically present as He said He was and will be, in the Eucharist. It is the most difficult of Catholic teachings, and it is ultimately the one that makes many walk away.
But, for those of us who believe we must ask: "But, Master to where would we go?" If you believe that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, there is nowhere you can go, except running to the Catholic Church.
As I approached the table of the Lord this weekend to receive His Body and His Blood, I recalled the feeling inside of me the day that I saw the bread dissolve into the Crucifix many years ago, knowing then that I knew that I knew, and yet this day I knew it even deeper.
Dear Reader, I adjure you to listen to your heart, where He and the Father have taken up their home. In this Advent season, we prepare our hearts for Him, who came to be with us, and to show us the greatest love that one can give. And, if you can, receive the Eucharist as His Body and His Blood, not just as a symbol, but Jesus present for you and then in you. Allow the Eucharist to heal the stony heart, to soften it to His presence.
Dear Jesus, Emmanuel, drain me of those things that separate me from your abundant love for me, and for all mankind. Open my eyes, like the blind man, not to just see the world around me, but to see you in me, and in my brothers and sisters.
Remember and pray for our dear brothers who are priests, that they will remain faithful to their call to ministry, and that God will protect them from all evil that would seek to separate them from this wonderful call of service upon their lives.
Please also pray for the seminaries that form our priests, that they will be and remain faithful to their calling, and in particular for St. Peter's Seminary here in London, Ontario that will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2012.
May Our Dear Saviour make His Presence known to you each and every day of your life, and may you grow more deeply into the great Mystery of His Love for you.
And then if you have time, listen to Amy Grant singing Emmanuel, God With Us.