On my way to Mass this morning, October 1st, a car passing on the opposite side of the road hit a two-by-four. With great speed it bounced in front of my car. There was no time for me to react; it was as if this sizable piece of wood flew over my windshield in slow motion. From the corner of my eyes I saw as it landed on the side of the road. My first thought was that today is a good day for confession.
While waiting for confession I scrolled through my phone for the “Act of Contrition,” because after all these years I’ve yet to memorize this prayer. I was praying and asking God to bring to mind all my venial sins.
I really do spend a lot of time in prayer. I pray while driving, I pray the Rosary – throughout the day my prayers are constant. But how effectual are my prayers? I’m not going to publicly confess my sins, but anger was the main purpose of the confession. I am angry: angry about the pandemic, angry about politics … You name it and I will find a reason for anger. My precious confessor asked me how my prayer life was. Explaining my prayer life mixed with anger did not sound so good. The priest did not put these words in my head but he asked me, “How can you have anger with prayer?” Then he asked me if I set aside a time especially for prayer. “Yes, I’m always praying,” I answered. He gave me a look of concern and replied, “You’re too busy, and you are not setting aside special time to be with God.” He looked at me with eyes of love when he spoke these words. He went on to say that if I was truly in deep prayer, there would be no room for anger. He was so right. I get so easily distracted with the things of the world. Our confessionals have not been opened yet so this confession was taking place while sitting on the steps leading to the entrance of the church. In my mind I was thinking, “How am I going to get up from here?” This precious, holy priest took 15 minutes of his day to set me straight. We muffle God’s voice when we get too busy. God wants us to listen to Him.
The Warning Dream
On this same day the Lord gave me an early morning dream. This is the dream:
I was in charge of a beautiful mansion. I knew the couple who owned the house. They entrusted their home to me for a few days. I don’t recall who was staying with me, but there was a young child. I had to put toys out for the child, so I moved other, larger toys around so the child could freely jump on the trampoline. I moved a rocking horse near the bed in the master bedroom. The couple arrived earlier than expected. The house was in a shambles; everything was out of order. I had forgotten to water two plants. These plants were seeds of avocados with toothpicks holding them in a jar. The owners of the home lovingly brought this to my attention. I had laundry on the kitchen counter that needed folding; nothing was in place. Then I realized that I forgot to feed their dog. When I woke up, I knew exactly what the dream meant.
The Dream’s Interpretation
The beautiful mansion represents God’s church;
The child was under my guardianship;
The couple represents those that God has entrusted to me in prayer
The master bedroom represents intimate time with God in my prayer room;
The rocking horse represents the clutter getting in the way of prayer;
The couple arriving early was a warning to me to be prepared in prayer;
The seeds of avocados symbolizes fruit or prosperity;
The laundry represents cleaning/prayer but not doing it in the correct way;
The dog represents unbelievers.
The small child was under my guardianship. I paid attention to taking care of the child but failed to have reverence for the master bedroom because I placed a rocking horse next to the bed. The master bedroom is a holy place where you meet God. The couple arriving early helped me see the errors of my way. The avocado seeds represent the lack of attention I was giving to not setting aside special time in prayer; they were dried up because of my neglect. These were big seeds that symbolized fruit or prosperity. God has entrusted me with big things that need a lot of nurturing before they can grow. The dog was symbolic of unbelievers, which means that I was not feeding them either.
Through this dream I pieced together what was needed to train me in prayer. My gentle confessor took me by the hand and brought me off my holy soap box. He explained to me that you cannot drive and pray at the same time because attention must be given when driving. This attention takes your focus away from prayer. He introduced me to Lectio Divina and reminded me about St. Therese of Lisieux, and how she, too, suffered from anger.
St. Therese of Lisieux
October 1st is the feast day of St. Therese of Lisieux. This saint was the youngest person ever elevated to Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II in 1997. I started by ordering the autobiography The Story of a Soul by this great saint who is also known as the “The Little Flower.” If you know me you know my love of flowers. My home is always adorned with fresh flowers, especially roses. This was my first connection to her. Also at a very young age she showed great maturity. I was that child too; and just like St. Therese I remember stories from my childhood as if they happened yesterday. At the age of 15 she entered the Carmelite community in the Lisieux convent because she knew all along what God had called her to become. St. Therese died at the age of 24 of tuberculosis, but what she gave in her writings were golden secrets from Heaven to draw us closer to God.
Lisieux is a small village in Normandy, France. In October of 2017 I planned a Marian journey. A Marian journey involves visiting different locations where our Blessed Mother appeared. Lisieux was one of our destinations. This was the trip where my wallet was stolen on the very first day. It was a trip without money because I could not have Mike wire money due to our one-night stays at each holy site. Fr. Leonard Mary was our chaplain, which meant we celebrated daily Mass. For this reason it was one of the most magnificent spiritual trips I have ever experienced.
I remember walking up the hill to Les Buissonnets (St. Therese’s childhood home) and being surrounded by beautiful flowers. Only recently did I make the connection as to why the Lord allowed me to visit Lisieux. I needed to bond with St. Therese in a spiritual manner.
Dear Lord, thank You that You came to me in confession. Thank You for loving me enough to show my confessor what adjustments need to take place in my prayer life. Lord, draw me closer and closer to You. Show me Your beautiful sacred wounds and place them on my heart so that I never forget what You have sacrificed for us. Teach me to be patient, and allow Your Holy Spirit to dwell in my heart always. My desire is to always hear Your still, small voice. Lord, I pray for the mantle of St. Therese to truly love and understand Your love. Amen.