If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Dream and the Reality

I published this some time ago. I thought to reprint it here:
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For the Lord Himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first . . . (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

A foreboding pressure - like an ominous, palpable presence - spread over me. It pressed against my chest like a vise. I tried to push it away, but couldn’t move my arms. I tried to scream, but couldn’t open my mouth. I fought to force air through my lips, but my body refused to respond. I tried again and again as terror overwhelmed me -- until in a final, frantic lunge, I exploded with a shattering, guttural cry.

That woke me.

It took a while to fall back to sleep, but when I did, my thoughts careened in disconnected, agitated images. I pushed through narrowing caverns of dirt-ribbed corridors. I searched for an unknown person in danger deep within the caverns. Each turn through passageways seemed more torturous than the last. I squeezed sideways and pressed myself through the tightening walls. Gossamer objects floated in and out of my dream-state.

Cylinders. A sarcophagus. Long, narrow tubes. Closets.

Then my eyes suddenly opened. I looked at the clock. 6:10. I stayed in bed until my breathing slowed.

When I finally stumbled into the living room for my time with Jesus, I tried to lose myself in worship. But the night terrors lingered in the back of my mind.

Until I saw a parallel.

For some, life is like a nightmare from which they can’t seem to awaken. Loved ones fall ill and, despite our prayers, die. Families shatter. Victories appear just beyond our reach on an ever-distant horizon. We search for shelter for those we love. But there is none. We press forward into walls that close ever tighter against us, locking our arms and knees to unyielding rock. Claustrophobia rises in our throat. We try calling for help, but can’t force air past our lips.

And then, for some, it changes. Like awakening from a bad dream, God’s light bursts through our darkness. The Holy Spirit assures us of His presence and care as we read a Scripture, hear a hymn, or someone speaks God’s word to us. In that moment the Promise becomes tangible. And the Holy Spirit whispers, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard ¼ the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” Our spiritual ears grab hold of the Father’s vow, “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalms 30:5).

Oh, how I long for the morning and -- ultimately -- the Trumpet, when our eyes open to see Him clothed in pulsating light. And we will rise from this earthly slumber to the presence of boundless, fathomless eternity -- more awake than ever before. Sorrow, confusion and terror will have fled forever from the splendor of His glory and we will, at last, approach the throne where the Father welcomes us home.

No wonder our spirits sometimes cry with St. Paul's, “Maranatha. Come Lord Jesus.”
And no wonder I pray so often, "Oh, Lord, awaken us to your glory."


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