THE MASS: I ate some old cheese and had a really weird dream.

A few nights ago I found some really strong cheese at the back of the fridge (probably left over from Christmas). I ate it, and then went to bed. I had the strangest dream…

I was in my Church – the church in which I was Baptised , made my First Holy Communion, Confirmation and got Married in. The church I like to go and sit in, right up next to the Tabernacle to pray. But today I was not sitting praying. Today I was standing. The Tabernacle was open and Jesus was standing just outside it, and I was standing right next to Him. We were looking out over the church.

Let me show you a picture of my church. I have put a big yellow circle round the Tabernacle to show where we were standing in the dream:

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This is the view we had from where we were standing:

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Then Jesus began to show me the history of my church from about 100 years ago. It was like watching a film in fast-forward. The first thing I noticed was a priest directly in front of us dressed in very beautiful ornate vestments. He was wearing a heavily embroidered beautiful sort of cloak thing I haven’t seen before. Anyway, he performed the consecration and then elevated the Host right in front of us – facing us, using the old high altar.  Then I looked at the congregation and I saw women with hats. I was aware of people being born, growing up and dying. And I could see people’s prayers coming up off of them – rising like steam and hovering above them filling the air.

Here is a picture of my church from a long, long time ago:

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Then as time was fast-forwarding I saw physical changes within the church. The high altar was no longer used. I saw the new altar being constructed and put into place about 15 meters away from us. Priests now said Mass facing the congregation instead of facing us. Vestments had become simpler with brighter colours, and the whole thing just seemed a bit less formal. Women no longer wore hats. I saw people wearing short-sleeved tops. People were being born, growing up and dying. There were now 2 atmospheres I could see within the congregation. One was reserved and quiet, uneasy yet still trusting in God. The other was loud and brash and domineering. In parts of the congregation, hearts were growing cold. I looked at Jesus. He wasn’t saying anything, He was just there, showing me all this.

Here is a picture of my church with the new altar put in. This is how I remember my church as a child.

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Then came more building work. Massive building work. The whole layout of the church was changing. The new altar was removed. The altar rails were removed. The Baldacchino was removed and sold to an American pop star (this actually happened in real life). The first 6 pews were removed. The top of the pulpit was removed. The whole sanctuary was brought forward about another 15 meters into the congregation.

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Now the priests was very far away from us. He was right there in the middle of the congregation. All eyes were on him. The congregation were smiling and laughing. People were on the sanctuary dressed in jeans and trainers receiving Jesus in Holy Communion and then distributing Him to others. Holiness had been replaced with a generalised social acceptance and a more day-to-day relaxed attitude. People were being born, growing up and dying. The congregation looked different. People were now coming into the church expecting to gain something for themselves rather than coming to give something to God. People had an expectation to be entertained. Some priests began to entertain. The people laughed and smiled. All eyes were on the priest.

Here is a picture of my church now:

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And as we stood there watching as time past I felt the congregation move further and further away from us. Peoples intention was good, but they were so distant – like the same way people look when they are watching TV and you are trying to talk to them. Distracted I suppose, but more than that. I think it would be more accurate to say that for these people, their parents were distracted but they are just vacant. Their attention seemed not to be able to get past the priest.

This is the view from the Tabernacle during Mass.

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They were happy enough but undernourished. Like how you feel when you have spent a whole week eating nothing but junk food. They did not understand what was happening during the Mass. Prayers no longer rose like steam from the congregation. There was just this deadness. Heaven was all around them but they could not see or feel it. They were blind and deaf to the supernatural. It felt like it really wouldn’t have mattered whether we were there or not because quite frankly, we were just being ignored.

And then it hit me. The horror of what had happened, what was happening. The result of choices and changes over several generations. Slow enough so you would not recognise it in real-time, but as clear as day if you watch it in fast-forward like we were doing. I looked at the congregation and then turned to Jesus, and with tears in my eyes and my voice filled with despair I whispered “They don’t know You’re here…”

Then I woke up.

I had the weirdest dream last night…

I was so exhausted last night. I fell asleep in my clothes, face down in the middle of a chapter of John Paul II Love and Responsibility. I had the weirdest dream…

We were in the park and suddenly the ground started splitting like this:

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And then magma started coming up out of the cracks in the ground like this:

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There were so many people everywhere and they were all running around hysterical and panicking, trying to get away from what seemed to be the end of the world. But I was ready! I had been over this scenario so many times in my mind I knew exactly what to do – I had to get to my church. I walked my kids up the hill to the church where we saw hundreds of people desperately trying to climb over the wall to get into the church grounds. 

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We were able to walk straight in because we are regular parishioners (!) and they knew us. Inside the church grounds people were calmly sitting on the ground in their families just waiting. Everyone knew they were safe inside the grounds from the chaos that was happening outside the walls. But then the ground started splitting inside the church grounds:

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And the church itself started crumbling and collapsing:

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Immediately when this started happening I knew I had to go inside to retrieve the tabernacle. So I left my kids and went inside, where a priest friend of mine was also trying to save the tabernacle. We worked together and both of us managed to extract the sacred metal box, freeing the tabernacle from the stone wall. We were carrying it out when I realised that only he could open the tabernacle, and he had to go back to get the key. Neither of us were afraid, we were both totally calm and knew what had to be done.

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As we got out the church collapsed, and I was reunited with my children. My priest friend had started walking off out of the church grounds and people were starting to follow him. I knew it was time to leave and that we had to help him carry the tabernacle because wherever we settled in the future, the people of God would need Christ with them at the centre. 

Mad dream. Perhaps tonight I’ll lay off the cheese before bed…

“Don’t be afraid to love your husband.”

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A few weeks ago the Lord was calling me to do the Stations of the Cross. So I did. At each Station He told me, as if helplessly and hopelessly in love, “I did this for you…”. Once I had completed all the stations He kept drawing me back to the Crucifixion. He just wouldn’t let me go from this picture of Him, arms stretched out hanging on the cross.

More recently I was at a wonderful concert held inside our church. At one point in her life, the lady singing had been given 3 months to live due to cancer. Eight years later she is still here singing! It was truly inspiring.

I noticed that the sanctuary light was still on. They had decided to leave the Eucharist inside the Tabernacle. I felt slightly uneasy about this but as we were both here listening to this incredibly talented soprano, I decided to make conversation. As soon as I did I felt His presence very strongly within the tabernacle, and then (as sometimes happens) I felt His presence come out of the tabernacle and stand right next to me. My heart started burning and I was thinking “Ok – it’s not a great time right now! There are lots of people around at the moment and I don’t want to do anything um, weird!”

Just then I was completely and utterly overcome with the most awful dread and terror. It was so consuming and overwhelming that I was afraid I might scream or something. It was the fear that used to overcome me everyday when my husband was first diagnosed earlier this year with CFS. The fear I feel when I think that he may never recover. The daily fear we are facing now of having 3 kids and no income. Then this fear moved from within me to outside of me – right in front of me – so I was looking at it from the outside.

Then I became aware of the presence of my husband. He was at home looking after the children – but it was as if he was right in front of me. Then Jesus told me “Don’t be afraid to love your husband.” It’s true. Since his diagnosis I have been afraid to love him. Straight after that Jesus ‘took’ all the fear away. It just evaporated. Completely gone, in a second. I asked Him “Did you just heal me?” because that’s what it felt like.

The concert carried on for a while and then Jesus brought my attention back to the Crucifixion station just to the right of me that I had been looking at a few weeks before. He said to me “When your husband stretches out his arms to embrace you, it’s not just him you are embracing – it’s Me.” 

This has given me plenty to think about. My  prayer for 2014 was ‘teach me to suffer’ and I can truly say that I have learned more about this than I ever thought possible. The most fascinating part of all this is the relationship between love and suffering. Love takes the fear out of suffering. It puts the joy into suffering. Love puts the victory into suffering. It conquers suffering. I am no longer afraid to love my husband.

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Little Tabernacles

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At morning Mass last week i was soooo sleepy and having difficulty concentrating after receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. I apologised to Him and tried really, really hard to concentrate (you know when you try to pray so hard that your face actually screws up into a ball?! – well that’s what i was doing.)

“Why are you projecting all your prayers outside of you? I’m here within you!”

I became very strongly aware of Jesus’ presence within me, and then also within all the other people in the church who had just received Holy Communion. I stayed within this reality as Mass ended and watched in wonder as the congregation left, one by one – each one of them a little Tabernacle taking Christ out into the world.

I wondered how many of them knew what they were carrying…