Occasionally in my life, I have experienced different spiritual ‘awakenings’ that I have a hard time really explaining to others. When I try to put them into words, I just don’t seem able to find the words to accurately describe the experience and really don’t come close to describing the feelings. I don’t talk to others much about these experiences because many in my life are unbelievers or just wouldn’t understand. So, I usually keep quiet unless I am giving a witness talk or talking among my own immediate family. But, I feel the need to break that pattern today because I have felt compelled all day to write down as much as possible from a dream I had last night and the realizations that came to me since then. Remember, words are so limiting as are details in dreams. So, all I can share is what seemed to impress me the most. So, please be kind in any comments, I am only doing what I feel compelled to do, even though I am totally inadequate at even beginning to explain the feelings of wonder, awe, fear, peace, joy, and so much more. But, I will do my best.
Last night, I dreamed that something happened (I don’t remember what) and then all of a sudden, I was climbing this ladder. I couldn’t see where I was climbing to, I couldn’t see anything around me. Everything around me was misty except for the ladder. I started getting tired as I climbed. I felt I had been climbing forever! I started asking myself why I was climbing this ladder and I realized I didn’t know. I started to turn around and go down, but found I really didn’t want to go that direction! So, I looked back up and took a few more steps up. I started to feel more at peace about climbing and realized all at once that this ladder was my path to heaven. It was what I had dreamed of, longed for, and wondered about all of my life. I realized that I was dying and my dream of going to heaven was coming true! I realized that all that I had worked for in my life was finally coming to completion and so, I continued climbing with renewed vigor.
When I had almost reached the top, I remember feeling like I was going to pass out. All in my vision was blurring and I realized that I might die before I actually reached the top of the ladder. I was panicked at the thought and tried to climb even faster. But, my vision was fading and I couldn’t focus on anything anymore. With a feeling of peace, all awareness of the ladder was gone and was replaced by such a warmth and peace, so much better and greater than any I had ever known before. I knew I had made it!
When I woke up this morning, I could NOT forget this dream. I know it was a message. Thoughts surrounding this dream started invading my mind! At first, I felt excited and yet a bit sad because I realized that it could be a warning that my time here on earth might not be much longer. Then, I wondered if it was just a follow-up to a discussion from a book club gathering I was at last night regarding obedience and the joys of true obedience. Now, after typing it out, I wonder if it is just an analogy for a Christian’s life. It also crossed my mind that it could also be from my thoughts of St. Therese and how she always looked so forward to death so that she could be with God. Since yesterday was her feast day, I had been thinking and praying to her throughout the day.
I’m not sure why this dream came to me last night. I’m not sure what exactly it means. But, I do know that it is not something I will easily forget. The feelings of peace, contentment, joy, awe, warmth, and so much more were beyond anything I have ever experienced in my life thus far. I know that this dream will enter my ‘collection’ of spiritual experiences that have become very much a central part of who I am. They are what guide me, shape me, and give me strength when I am worn down by the world around me.
Needless to say, I wasn’t very surprised when I read today’s Gospel from Matthew 18:1-5, 10.
The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?”
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever humbles himself like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”
The Kingdom of heaven mentioned 3 times! Hmmm, as a believer, I have a hard time not seeing a connection to my dream last night and knowing that it is just that much more spiritual encouragement to look towards the Kingdom!
The other phrase in today’s reading that caught my eye was ‘their angels in heaven’. Today is the memorial of the Guardian Angels. A friend told me years ago when we were talking about Guardian Angels that if you ask your Angel what her name was, eventually you would “know” his/her name. I remember wondering then if I could ever be sure that the name I ‘thought’ I was told was truly the name. Now, speaking from experience, you will just ‘know’. It will come so naturally to mind when you pray to your Angel and be so natural with no pre-thought. As if you come across someone you have known since childhood but don’t see regularly. When you see them, their name immediately springs to mind. The same is true for our Guardian Angel. You just KNOW. Somehow, after my dream last night, I was given the grace and blessing to know my Guardian Angel’s name. Thank you Lord! I am humbled and in awe of Your great love!
”From infancy to death human life is surrounded by their (the angels) watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united to God.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church; 336.
And if you don’t believe in Guardian Angels, ask yourself this… What harm can come from believing in being surrounded by an intercessor and protector? To my knowledge — NONE. Not believing though would be mighty difficult to think I had to battle the evils in this world all alone. Thank you Lord for our Angels!!
Angel of God, my guardian dear…. thank you, thank you… for always being at my side, to light and guard, rule and guide!