Jesus said, “Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me.” [John 6:57]
What is your purpose on Earth? Why is there life here, but not elsewhere? From where does life, your life, the life of a blade of grass or of a corn stalk come? Why do we eat of life that we may live on Earth? And when we die, because we only ate life which came from Earth, shall we also return to the Earth to be re-formed into a blade of grass or a stalk of corn?
Catholics believe, no, that we shall not return to the Earth, but that because we eat of the eternal Divine Life, He Who Is our Bread of Life, that we shall live eternally with God.
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die.” [John 6:48-50]
In a waking dream this morning, it is as if I met someone in my mind. She was a pretty woman, apparently African American, and I think that she was sitting down and looking at me from about 4 feet away. It was dim (the sun had not risen), but there was light on her face, and she was clothed in a thick, probably brown wool-like garment. I asked her who she is. She said, “Lila May. I am beautiful” and she smiled. She added to her name “Rose.” “Lila May Rose.” Maybe she once was not beautiful. God is good.
It has been common for me to have waking dreams similar to this every now and then, but I usually see children. For example, several years ago, I was at a friend’s house up on a mountain top in the Appalachian Mountain chain, and I saw a little Native American girl in my waking dream. She was outdoors in the daylight but close up, and she was smiling at me, and she giggled. She was very happy.
Who did I see? What did I see? Did the little girl once live on that mountain top? Is Lila Rose associated with someone I know? Why do I see these beautiful souls?
I love seeing them in my dreams, for they remind me of peace and happiness, and they give me hope. They also remind me of the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus [Luke 16:19-31], but in a very positive light.
As if gazing through a mirror: St. Paul the Apostle
I was trying yesterday to express my experience in Mass when I was praying the Angelus at noon, but my experience with Mother Mary led me in another direction. What I remember now, the insight which came to me all of a sudden – yet simpler than I will express here – is the message that I needed to relay:
When we die, it is as if we fall asleep and then awaken to a new reality – the reality of our everlasting spiritual life which subsists and is hidden within our mortal life. In our mortal lives, we “see” spiritual things as if looking at objects in a hazy mirror – indirectly, unclear and subject to interruption – just beyond our grasp. But after we have fallen asleep, we shall awaken to a bright and refreshing change of venue where all things will be clearly manifested as they really are.
As St. Paul instructs:
At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. [1st Cor, 13:12, NAB Holy Bible]
The other day, I considered how God is present amongst us and in us and how so many do not acknowledge Him and do not listen to Him and do not respond to Him. And, if we dwell on this reality, and keeping in mind the deeply-intense love which the Lord, Jesus Christ has for each and every one of us, and how He knows what will happen to those who, in their free will, do not acknowledge, listen and respond, then we can be that conduit through which He cries when He is in our hearts.
Many might say, “God has no emotion.” But we all believe and know that the Lord is True God and True Man. In his glorified humanity, He has emotion. He can cry in us. If you let Him cry in you, then you will also let Him laugh and smile in you. This is true intimacy.
Remember his love for the children of Jerusalem: “As he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If this day you only knew what makes for peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.'”
God grants the favor of a glimpse of her face. She is not an angel, but a human soul who, in heaven, appears as a toddler.
In my waking thoughts in the morning, I tend to express gratitude to the Lord for all of His help. Sometimes I don’t feel like expressing gratitude – when my body is complaining about waking up. But there are times when my body cooperates quite well with my spirit, and gratitude flows more easily. This morning, I was also thinking about my dear Great Aunt Bertha who died some years ago but with whom I was very close – she was my God-mother. In the thinking of her, I was given a spontaneous glimpse of a little girl’s face in a calm and shaded place – a toddler who had a sweet baby face and her hair was all “done up” as if she had been to the hair dresser, just like my Aunt Bertha would do. I could imagine that this was my Great Aunt Bertha, because she certainly lived the life of a saint, and she had her hair dressed as if this was a clue to me about her identity. I believe she is there with God and that God wants me to know this.
Consider the harm. Choose instead to kiss, caress and heal His Holy Wounds. You don’t know what you do, but you do. To your caresses, your heart-felt confession, He will respond with grace and peace. He will love you and ask you, “Will you love me now? Will you not sin again?” Return to Him to bandage His Wound. He will help you grow stronger.
“Nor did demons crucify him; it is you who have crucified him and crucify him still, when you delight in your vices and sins.”
— St. Francis of Assisi (cf, Catechism of the Catholic Church #598.)
In the Eucharist, there is union and communion. We bring forward the gifts – the bread and wine – made with human hands – the product of humanity – that is, imperfect humanity itself. And then the Holy Spirit enters and converts the symbols of humanity into Christ. Humanity is healed and made one with Christ in that instant, and then there is another exchange: We individually receive Christ in our own persons, and we are made one – one Body in Christ – one Body with Christ – one Body through Christ. As one, bonded with Christ, we can never fail – we will never die – we have happiness on the horizon.
In the mean time, when we are one with Christ, we share in His holy suffering. This is because we live in time, and Christ’s suffering is in time – re-presented in time at each offering to the Father – and we, when we say “yes” to this mystical marriage – become partners in His Suffering. He is not alone, and we are not alone. There is nothing that we do not share together. We share sacrifice; we will share bliss. We sacrifice through Christ’s Sacrifice; we will receive Love through Christ’s Love. Christ is perfect; we are being perfected through Christ’s Perfection.
In suffering in this way, the Way which leads to eternal Salvation, there is reason for great joy!
Without Him, we can do nothing – achieve nothing of lasting importance – that is, we can not achieve eternal blissful Life in Love with Him. But with Him – holding hands along the Way, we will achieve precisely what God wills for us. He wills to heal us and perfect us along our journey. He wills our total happiness in Him.
Be patient. Endure. Suffering is but a spark in time; Joy is eternal. 🙂