Last night was a very strange night. Before I drifted off to sleep after saying Night Prayer, a very persuasive notion struck me from out-of-the blue. I had the distinct conviction that Pope Francis would soon pass on ('soon' by God's standards, not ours), and that he would be replaced by Cardinal Robert Sarah. This thought was accompanied by a consolation, a sweet peaceful sensation and the knowledge that everything was in the hands of God and that Cardinal Sarah would admirably steer and strengthen the Church. The experience wasn't about Pope Francis per se, but was really about Cardinal Sarah. He was an anointed of the Lord, a great gift to the Church. [UPDATE: Archbishop Ganswein recently captured a related thought in an interview: "In this hour, Cardinal Sarah arises, prophetically."]
[MORE UPDATES: John Allen, a well-known progressive reporter, just wrote a piece on who might succeed Pope Francis. He characterized Cardinal Sarah as "a touch extreme" and wrote that "he's been in Rome too long to be in touch with life in the trenches." Well, that made me laugh. The Kingdom of Heaven is more than a touch extreme, and that's where the real warriors for the Lord make their home, where the real trenches are manned. May God give us more "extreme" cardinals! I also noticed that an author on the website of the German Bishops' Conference condescendingly described Cardinal Sarah as offering "simple answers to difficult questions"--an approach that only works where there are "low education levels". However, simplicity is a hallmark of the Kingdom of Heaven. God is simple because God is love, and the demands of love are wonderfully clear. Only sin makes things complicated!
|I guess I better read this book!|
After that I had the Mother of All Dreams. In the dream I was simply going about my day in a crowd of people. All of a sudden everything went black and disappeared. I stared out into the billowing purple blackness as several seconds passed. I understood that our Lord had done this, and that he was using the blackness to prepare my mind for what would come next. Sort of like how a movie starts with a black screen before the real action begins. In a flash the blackness gave way to a deep blue and the enormous figure of our Lord appeared. At that moment I was given the knowledge that every person alive was simultaneously having the same experience. The din and commerce of the world had halted, and each person stood alone before the Lord. They looked upon Christ, and in doing so they saw themselves as the Lord saw them. It was an illumination of conscience, a merciful foreshadow of each person's particular judgment. That great and terrible day (as the Dies Irae tells it)!
I was aware that I was in the midst of the greatest miracle since our Lord walked the earth. Then a thought flashed through my mind, "I always thought the 'worldwide illumination of conscience' prophecy was bunk. It's too stupendous! Our God is the hidden one of Nazareth, the baby in the barn." Then as I looked upon Jesus' eyes, his oval face and thick hair, I had another thought, "The Lord's going to show me how wretched I am. I can't bear it, but here it comes..." But as He deepened his gaze, the dreaded moment did not come. I was already a penitent and he had a different message. He looked away as if turning to the world and simply reigned as the Incarnate Word, as the Crucified King. Then the encounter ended and I found myself back amidst the crowd of people. My mind burned with curiosity, "How would people change after such an experience? Would the world now be completely different?"
But then I awoke amidst great comfort and smiles. I kept thinking silly things, "God is SO awesome! I LOVE IT. Absolutely love it! I wish I had that dream every night." I tried to hold on to the joy for as long as I could before I was re-taken by sleep.
On a day when Islamic terrorists attacked Paris and dominated the world's attention, the message was simple. The Lord reigns. He has conquered. He knows his own, and he is always with us.