I stood looking at the sunrise this morning. First the light tint of pink in the sky. Gradually the deepening rose color. The clouds looked like they had been dipped in paint - and it was spreading. Patiently, I waited - and there it was, the pink orb just peeking above the horizon. Rays of light shot through the clouds, illuminating them more and more. And all I could think was: “Thank you Lord. Thank you for eyes that can see. Thank you for eyes that can see THIS!”
Immediately, I remembered (or did He whisper it to me?) that my eyes have seen some pretty awful things too. And I realized something: if I want to see beauty, then I will have to put up with ugliness.
Because vision means that you see; and this world is not all pretty. There’s no ‘turn-off’ feature. To accept the part, means I must accept the whole. Eyes that can see ‘pretty’, means they can also see … everything. And it ain’t all pretty.
I thought about that further. I was just speaking with a friend last night whose heart has been broken by some things her daughter said. Now her daughter loves her, and she loves her daughter. They have had a wonderful life together; but right now - there are some disagreements.
And so, their relationship is not all, 100%, ‘pretty’ right now.
But if she wanted to remove the ugly - she’d have to remove the pretty too. She’d have to remove her daughter’s entire life from the equation. Because that is simply the way of this world - it ain’t all pretty.
Isn’t that simply the way life is?
And why don’t I remember it…?
I do a lot of complaining. Right now, my hip has been hurting me; and did I mention my elbow? I’ve been kayaking - and I discovered that kayaking is wonderful. The peacefulness, the beauty, the fish - all of it is pretty special.
Except for the pain in my elbow which takes all of about, oh say - 5 minutes - before I remember it is there. And once again, there’s the ugly - in the beauty.
Not to mention walking, and my hip. It really takes some of the ‘fun’ out of my walk. It makes me reflect on my life - and the fact that part of it is not going according to (my) plan… Who knew that my body would not last forever? How fair is THAT?!!
But it’s easy to forget that my body has been my faithful companion for all these long years. Rarely complaining, always functioning. Well, now it’s starting to get a little worn down. So, do I focus on the ugly - or remain grateful for the pretty?
When I was given this body, I was given all of it. The energy, and the lack of it. The agility, and the lack of it. The hormones, and the lack of them.
But the only solution to this problem is to have not had a body at all. And what fun would that have been…?
Indeed, the same can be said about my life; about this world; about love; about friendships - yes, even about politics! I can’t take the part without the whole - and the whole ain’t all pretty.
I think that the sooner I learn, and remember, this lesson; the sooner peace will remain in my heart and soul - and the sooner I will realize that this is the best chance I’ve got in this world, of finding ‘pretty’ more often than ‘ugly’.
Mary Magdalene stands outside the tomb, weeping. First the angels ask: “Woman, why are you weeping?”
Even seeing angels doesn’t stop her tears.
She turns and sees Jesus, and He asks, “Woman, WHY are you weeping?”
She thought he was the gardener. She doesn’t look any further in her own version of reality. In her version of reality - all is lost. Jesus is lost. The future is lost. Hope is lost.
Granted, she has seen some pretty terrible things in the last couple days. The man she loved and thought would redeem her world and save her people was savagely, horrifically, brutally - put to death. And so she is still ruminating on that tragedy; on that loss.
So much so, that she doesn’t see the Power of God right in front of her. She doesn’t take notice of 2 angels - what, like we see them every day? She doesn’t even recognize Jesus when he is standing next to her - asking questions.
She is consumed with her loss; with her version of reality.
Oh, how often I do this! How often I allow myself to descend into doubt, then discouragement, then despair. How often I tell myself that all is lost - even when the Risen Lord is standing right in front of me. As he always is.
That is actually a tenant of my faith. I claim to believe it every Sunday when I pray it out in Mass. But darn if my own version of reality doesn’t win out over and over again when I’m not in a Church pew singing Hallelujahs…
Do I really think that God is NOT able? Do I really think that something, ANYTHING, in my life is outside of his ability? Indeed, quite frequently I realize that I mix the two of us up. Me, with my pea-brain, seems overwhelmingly in control - and God, the Creator of the Universe, stands beside me wringing His hands in worry.
But thankfully, so often when I can’t get over myself, the Lord just finally has it and says out Loud: “Mary!”. (Or in my case, “Susan!”) “I AM; and I am RIGHT HERE! Give me a break!!!”
Like Mary, I am always so thankful when He does. Because only when Truth breaks through my illusions; does my heart finally rest in peace.
As Mother Elvira Petrozzi says: Easter is the “feast of feet that run.” Everyone goes to the tomb sad, discouraged and despairing. And they leave in excitement RUNNING. Running to tell the world that hope is NEVER lost, discouragement is ridiculous and despair is just plain silly.
Jesus is Risen. Indeed, He is standing right in front of us.
I have had 3 dreams that have seemed very prophetic to me - at the time, and still today. The first one occurred, I think, before 9/11; because I remember thinking that part of my dream had foreseen something of that. However, I remember living in Chester when I had it; so it would have been sometime after 1998 and before 2007. I know that I have it written down somewhere; but it is in one of my journals up in VA, which I don’t have access to search for now. When I do, I’ll look it up; but for now, this is what I remember of it.
I was outside and suddenly I looked up and saw the moon fall out of the sky. I remember thinking how strange it was, that the moon had just fallen out of the sky with a ‘thud’. Then I think I saw other celestial bodies falling down also - again, with a simple thud - like no big deal. I just marveled at it all.
The next thing I remember from the dream was being in a giant room. It was kind of like a ski resort, with an absolutely HUGE 3 or 4 story window in the shape of a triangle. The room was like an auditorium, but with no seats, etc. Just a giant room. There were seemingly hundreds of people there milling about, and we were something like refugees.
(I’m pretty sure that in the dream there were army trucks, soldiers, etc. around seeming to be maintaining order and gathering people together in this room. There was almost an ominous feeling to it, as more army trucks, tanks, etc. rumbled by. However, this part of the dream I’m not as sure about; I need to look it up again. I’m not sure if it was from a different dream.)
Anyway, I was standing at this massive window, and suddenly I saw a star falling from the sky. It was coming right at us! I was standing at the window, pointing up at it and calling to the people around to see it. It came closer and closer and closer and suddenly, right as it got within range, I saw that it was an angel of light - and she was flying down right at me. I was standing there pointing with my finger up, and she was pointing with her finger down. She then flew right to me, and her finger touched mine.
At that moment, when she touched my finger, I suddenly shouted out to everyone who was there. And this is what I shouted:
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
I still remember touching her finger in the dream, and shouting that out as loud as I could. I actually DID shout it out while sleeping - and I woke myself up! I had no idea where these words came from; but thought I had seen them somewhere in the bible. I’m not sure how, but eventually I came to find them in 2 Chronicles 7:14.
2nd DREAM: Sept. 30, 2012
This was taken from my journal; I then wrote about it in a blog post:
The agitation had been growing for some time. One after another report of yet another legal, and often governmental, attack against Christianity - and all in Western nations. The very places that Christianity had built - all were turning on their mother. And it was in the name of 'freedom' and 'tolerance'. Few seemed to realize it was 'freedom' to enslavement by sin, and 'tolerance' of evil.
And that's what had my agitation growing. How could I tell people? There were SO MANY - what could be done to turn them around??!!!! They grasped so tightly to their sin; it was the new normal for them. My warnings were not heeded - indeed, they were spurned... My agitation grew.
And then God sent me the dream.
In it, I was following a huge, towering man. He appeared to be drunk and oblivious to his surroundings and situation. Two men, evil men, were stalking him. In my dream, I believed that they were waiting to get him alone so that they could sodomize him. They appeared well dressed, alert, conniving, canny.
I tried to warn the man, but he was too drunk to listen - just fumbling, tottering around. I tried to warn all those around, all those I passed as I followed the stumbling giant of a man - but no one would listen or pay attention. The men stalking him eyed me warily. They knew... that I knew.
I continued for a long time - following behind, trying to get help. No one would listen, no one wanted me there. Finally, I stopped following. From a hilltop, I watched as the men coaxed the giant man into a house. I was helpless to stop it.
I turned away. When I looked back, I saw the giant man. He was back on the street, stumbling on the sidewalk. His pants were down around his knees and the two men were gleefully raping him at will...
In my dream, I tried then to call for help, but the phone was old, ancient - it did not work. I thought that if I could only get the police there to see it - the man would be saved. Yet even then, something told me that no one would care. It was too late. Even the drunk giant of a man had not come to his senses. He kept crying out, "Get OFF of me!!!", but offered no defense. He never tried to fight back. Still drunk, still stumbling - a wounded, confused bear of a man. I grew concerned for my own safety - I left.
And then I woke up. The dream was so real, so awful, that it took me a few moments to get my bearings. I then asked God - what in the world was THAT about??!! The knowledge immediately came to me - it was America.
And at that moment I knew: the giant man was MY country. No matter what I would, or could, do - no one will heed my warnings - they will not turn back...
Minutes later, while driving to Eucharistic Adoration for my 5:00 am slot, the words "Woe, Woe is Babylon" came to my mind over and over again. I could not get them to stop. I realized later that this also was in the Bible, Revelations 18.
In Adoration, God spoke to me further. He showed me that I am just one small child - and that I am trying to stop a giant that will not listen. In frustration, I said to Him, "but it is my nation."
He immediately; sadly and softly, said back, "and they are MY people."
Tears came to my eyes as I realized the pain in the heart of God. And I heard two words - "Free Will".
I then realized that - not even GOD would make them turn back. He so honors our free will. Why in the world, therefore, did I think that I could make them? God already saved the world - but will not violate our own free will to MAKE us choose that salvation. Perhaps it was time for me to give up my own agitation at being unable to do so. Am I stronger, and wiser, than God?!!
With that, God showed me the image of the child on the beach. We've all heard the story. A child is on a beach covered with millions of starfish washed ashore. As he walks down the beach, he keeps leaning over, picking one up and tossing it back into the sea. An adult comes by and watches for a few minutes. The adult then tells the child - "Why are you wasting your time?! You cannot possibly make a difference!!!" The child wordlessly leans over, picks up another starfish and flings it back into the sea. He then turns and says to the adult, "made a difference to THAT one..."
And so that is what I can do. I can make a difference - one at a time. I can make a difference to the ones God places in my path. And I can give the rest - along with my agitation - to God.
1 After these things, I saw another angel coming down out of the sky, having great authority. The earth was illuminated with his glory.
2 He cried with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, and she has become a habitation of demons, a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird!
3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her sexual immorality, the kings of the earth committed sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from the abundance of her luxury.”
4 I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, that you have no participation in her sins, and that you don’t receive of her plagues,
5 for her sins have reached to the sky, and God has remembered her iniquities.
6 Return to her just as she returned, and repay her double as she did, and according to her works. In the cup which she mixed, mix to her double.
7 However much she glorified herself, and grew wanton, so much give her of torment and mourning. For she says in her heart, ‘I sit a queen, and am no widow, and will in no way see mourning.’
8 Therefore in one day her plagues will come: death, mourning, and famine; and she will be utterly burned with fire; for the Lord God who has judged her is strong.
9 The kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived wantonly with her, will weep and wail over her, when they look at the smoke of her burning,
10 standing far away for the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For your judgment has come in one hour.’
3rd Dream: July 23, 2017
What a dream I had! I woke and felt I had to write it down immediately, that it was God telling me how we were to survive the coming storm!
I was in a house which was my ‘home’, yet I was among my birth family. I began to notice these, at first invisible, bugs - or something in the air that was flying around. I would catch them in my peripheral vision - but no one else could see them. Then I actually found one. It was a worm type thing and I grabbed it in my hand. As I held it, it grew bigger and bigger and turned into an angry small creature - something like a cross between a person and a bee. It was about the size of my hand. My brother Kerry was there and saw it - he then began believing that something very strange was going on. My dad and mom were just confused; as he began to recognize the threat, my dad seemed as though he was preparing to defend the home, but I’m not sure as the dream changed.
It seemed that this first part was a long part of the dream - these things slowly materializing and few believing it until they were blatantly visible. It was like a scary movie; sensing this evil thing was out there and no one believing me.
Then the next part of the dream had them everywhere. They were attacking, and stinging, everyone. No one could escape. They were everywhere. The air was thick with them, like clouds of mosquitos that one sees occasionally today. But slowly something became clear - Christians were not being stung. In this part of the dream, I was in another house, and it was me and other Christians. I sensed they were Protestant and/or Catholic - there was no real demarcation - they were just people who believed and proclaimed Jesus as Savior. We began to realize that no stinging creatures were in our home! I was walking around singing out “Praise God, Praise God, Praise God, Praise God, Praise God; Alleluia…” - the tune that Jackie taught me. It seemed to be many students with me - like a Focus group or something. No real ‘relations’ other than believers in Christ. We were all amazed and praising God.
At one point we were driving down the road in a car - people everywhere were trying to get away from these things. The cars were plastered with them, as you would see dead bugs on a windshield. There was heavy traffic, and people were borderline panicking. Yet although our car was a convertible - there were no creatures around us or attacking us. I was just seeing and reflecting on the terror and panic of all others. One woman seemed to be driving backwards down the road in hopes of escaping; but then I realized she was just driving behind us so it looked like she was going backwards. That’s how much detail was in this dream - it was like watching a movie it was so realistic.
Then people began coming to us in our house. They were trying to get away from the stinging creatures and they could see that we were protected somehow. They began pouring in, but as they did the stinging creatures were coming in with them and continuing to sting them. Then I said that it was obvious that the house alone would not protect them - they had to profess faith in Jesus Christ and be baptized in order to be saved from the stinging creatures. Since it was so obvious that we - who did believe - were being protected, they all readily agreed. As we were preparing to baptize, I woke up.
It was a slow, groggy awakening unlike my usual wide-awakeness, and I knew I had to write this down right away - I sensed that this was from God and it was his assurance that it would be alright. As I tend to worry about the future, I felt that this was given to me to show that we would be protected. If we are believers in Christ, we need not fear - regardless of what is coming. And that we will be quite busy baptizing new believers!
As I was writing this, I seemed to remember there being something in the bible about stinging creatures and so I looked it up - Revelation 9
Revelation 9: 1-11
1 The fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from the sky which had fallen to the earth. The key to the pit of the abyss was given to him.
2 He opened the pit of the abyss, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke from a burning furnace. The sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke from the pit.
3 Then out of the smoke came forth locusts on the earth, and power was given to them, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
4 They were told that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree, but only those people who don’t have God’s seal on their foreheads.
5 They were given power not to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion, when it strikes a person.
6 In those days people will seek death, and will in no way find it. They will desire to die, and death will flee from them.
7 The shapes of the locusts were like horses prepared for war. On their heads were something like golden crowns, and their faces were like people’s faces.
8 They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like those of lions.
9 They had breastplates, like breastplates of iron. The sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, or of many horses rushing to war.
10 They have tails like those of scorpions, and stings. In their tails they have power to harm men for five months.
11 They have over them as king the angel of the abyss. His name in Hebrew is “Abaddon,” but in Greek, he has the name “Apollyon.”
Ashley and Susan
Two women asking the world to not just hope, but to Hope in Love.