Monday, October 6, 2014

Four Visions During Mass Today: An Angel, the Infant Jesus, A Suffering Jesus, and A Crucified Jesus

Recently, I have been praying to my guardian angel and asking him to help guide my thoughts and actions.  I have been trying to "reach out" to him, if you will, like how one gets to know a new acquaintance and hopes it turns into friendship.  Only, I already know my guardian angel is my friend, so it's more about me reaching out to him.

During mass today, my pastor was telling a story during the homily and I was trying with all my might to follow him, but finding it very difficult.  I, oftentimes, will close my eyes during the homily and various times during mass so that I can listen intently without the distractions of what's going on around me in church.  Today was one of those days.  I closed my eyes to better hear my pastor, and I instantly saw a pair of massive wings bowing before me.  I was so focused on the massiveness and power of the wings that I failed to see the figure attached to them in the middle for quite some time.  All of a sudden, my focus shifted to the wings' owner….and I gasped just a bit.  He was an angel…bare chested and very mighty in his muscular stature.  He was bowing but looking straight ahead.  His face was rugged and even though human looking, somehow otherworldly.  His stare was peaceful, yet mighty all at the same time.  He wore a rugged short beard and his hair was light reddish brown, wavy, almost unkempt looking - like he could go to battle at any moment.  I thought, "Am I seeing my guardian angel? Am I seeing him or another angel?"  And at that moment I opened my eyes … and felt an overwhelming sense of joy and gratefulness to God.

I immediately thanked God for this gift of prophecy He has given me and promised Him I would continue to be open to this gift. I promised, as I often do, that I would give any message He wants me to give.  Not long after that, my pastor began the part in the mass that is the Liturgy of the Eucharist and I closed my eyes to better focus on what was happening on the altar.  In that moment, I was standing amongst people in a field.  It was night, the air was cool, and I was having trouble seeing beyond the heads of the people in front of me.  Just then, a bright light appeared about 20 feet in front of me and I was looking at a baby in a wooden trough.  It was the baby Jesus laying in the manger just before me …and I was one in the crowd who came to pay Him homage.  The people were absolutely silent.  The silence was almost deafening as they came in awe and joy to see the Savior before them.  Love, respect, reverence, and submission abounded that night. I was focused, however, on the wood of the manger for some reason.  It seemed so rustic - dirty even - and yet there He lie.  

Immediately, I was standing in another crowd.  This time, I was on a stone street.  It was daytime and hot.  All of a sudden I was five feet from Jesus as he passed before me carrying his cross. He was severely struggling.  Again, I focused on the wood of the cross beam of the cross.  The massiveness of the cross.  The wood piece was enormous and I wondered how any human being could ever lift that. I could see the roughness of the wood.  It was not only heavy and awkward, but painful to touch.  I looked into Jesus' face and saw the pain.  There was extraordinary physical pain, yet also frustration - like how could His Father in heaven create him to be human and feel this torture? I saw Jesus turn slightly to his left and appear to look up.  He fell before me.  The crowd did nothing. People were yelling.  Women screamed.  The crowd was not there to pay him homage. God's people had ordered the brutal killing of God's son and they were there to see it happen.

All of a sudden, I was two feet from Jesus' face and the massive cross beam.  That wood that he was birthed into, he was now nailed to.  I watched the agony in his blood-stained face as they lifted the cross from the ground.  I was right there with him - loving Him and feeling His agony.  Why was He wanting me to see this I thought?  The cross, as they lifted it, slightly and quickly fell to his right side, and he closed his eyes, his head fell to his right shoulder, and he let out a guttural sound from the excruciating pain.  They straightened the cross and then slowly raised it into position.  The crowd behind me was calling out at him.  The air was thick, His pain was unbearable and punishing, and the people were relentless in their mocking of Him.

I opened my eyes.  My pastor had just finished consecrating the host and wine into the body and blood of Christ.  The crowds of people that I saw and stood amongst had all drastically changed from one vision to another.  God had shown me my Guardian angel, and then brought me into the birth, suffering, and death of our Lord today.  As He was born into a wooden manger, he died upon a wooden cross.  He entered and left this world upon a mighty tree.  The people who came to pay him homage when he was born were there out of love, respect, and knowing the babe in the manger was their Savior they had always prayed for.  The people in the street, as Jesus slowly passed through, were not there to pay him homage.  The people beneath the cross were the worst as they jeered and yelled.  How odd that Jesus would be born to a crowd who loved and revered him and would die to a crowd who hated and mocked him.  

I can tell you that when I looked into the face of Christ, I saw a human being with a heavenly understanding of His Father.  He knew this was to be and submitted, yet felt the pain the same as you or I would feel it.  My words can never do justice to the pain he felt in His death.  

Later today, I looked up and read about today's readings because I really didn't hear them or the homily.    I learned today's Gospel reading was the parable that Jesus taught about the landowner of a vineyard and his tenants who killed his son.  (Mt 21:33-43)

'This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’ 
When Jesus was asked what the vineyard owner would do, he replied…

"Therefore, I say to you,
the kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit."

The kingdom of God was taken from the Jewish people and given to the Gentiles.  Many of the people who came to pay homage to the infant Jesus in the manger would have been Gentiles.  The people who ordered His crucifixion were the Jews.  This is what God was showing me today.  Perhaps my guardian angel had a hand in helping me see the aloneness of Jesus, His beautiful birth, His horrific death, the people who praised him in his birth, and the people who rejected him and crucified him.  I saw the wood that cradled him as an infant and the wood that he was nailed to in his death,   the difference in the crowd who welcomed him to this earth and the crowd that sent him from it.

As Msgr. Pope so aptly stated in this week's homily, "Either we accept the offer of the Kingdom and thereby yield to the Lord’s work and bring forth a harvest, or we face judgment for the fact that we have chosen to reject the offer of the Kingdom. God will not force us to accept His Kingship or His Kingdom. We have a choice to make and that choice will be at the heart of the judgment we will face."

These were only my personal visions.  I share them as I promised God I would.  I pray I do my visions justice and send forth the images correctly.  God bless you all ~+