23 April 2008

Things that go bump

A candy-colored clown they call the sandman
Tiptoes to my room every night
Just to sprinkle stardust and to whisper
Go to sleep, everything is all right.

I had a weird dream months ago that has stuck with me. While it was scary enough, it wasn't terrifying. I would describe it as more profound, just because I still think about it. No, I don't think that within my dream there is some hidden message that needs to be discerned. It is what it is, a dream.

It was a nice spring day, sun shining and warm. I stopped by St. Peter's Catholic Church in North St. Paul. Why? I don't know. I haven't been to this church in years, the last time was for the funeral of my uncle's mother. Other than that, I don't know why the dream took place at this location.

The parish was having some sort of "educational event" in their newly remodeled church (which hasn't been remodeled in real life as far as I know), with some seminars and lectures, primarily for women. One older lady was very welcoming to me and encouraged to me check out their lectures and to stay for Mass, which was going to be starting in just a few minutes.

I was handed some fliers and she led me into the church, which was really just a hall with chairs scattered throughout, kind of arranged in concentric circles. As I came in the door, there was a portable bar (the kind you see at weddings) covered in white linen. I quickly realized this was the altar. On the altar was a small bowl filled with tortilla chips, which I understood were to be consecrated as the hosts for Mass. The woman who was escorting me offered me a can of pop from a large vat filled with ice and also some chips that weren't "hosts," but would tide me over until Communion.

I couldn't believe it. I began telling the woman (and citing a variety of documents, even though I couldn't do this is real life!) just how wrong this was. I was incredulous. She was offended that I would question their practices. I then demanded to know where the priest was that would perform such a Mass. She motioned to a group of men sitting off to the side of the "altar." I asked the plain-clothed "priest" how he could allow this to happen and again stated how wrong it was. He just shrugged his shoulders. I was making a scene and everyone was looking at me like I was nuts. I then told the priest that I was staying and would keep my eye on him.

With my chips and pop in hand, I found a seat not too far back from the "altar." But, before Mass started, the priest was suddenly standing right in front of me, now adorned in his vestments. This time, however, his face was terrifying, green and leathery. He was very angry that I was interfering and how dare I question him. I was ruining the Mass. He was hurling accusations at me, some not even being coherent. I immediately began to pray out loud, "In the name of the Precious Blood of Jesus I demand that you leave me alone." Which I kept repeating over and over because I knew if I stopped something bad was going to happen. Then his face turned white, like ice and was flaky and cold. I kept up with my prayer and knew it was time to take my leave. I stood and brushed past this "priest" on my way out the door, still praying out loud as I left.

Then I woke up.

And, no, I don't recall what I had for dinner that night, nor have I seen the Exorcist!

So, how have your dreams been? Have you attended the same parish I did?


WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

I've had a couple of those kinda dreams. Weird aren't they. The 'strongest' for want of a better word happened when I was working with disabled children. I had prepared them for First Holy Communion and my PP had agreed to come and say the Mass for them and their families.
A few nights before the event I dreamed I was walking down a dark country road with my PP and I think one of my children. The fields on either side were golden with ripe wheat but there was a huge storm brewing off into the distance. I just KNEW we had to get that wheat harvested before the storm hit or it would be destroyed. I rushed into the field and began pulling up wheat and tieing it together by hand. Then I had a little hand held thing that helped me, but I knew I needed more people and bigger equipment. My PP was standing there looking at the storm coming but not helping me. I felt a rising sense of panic and begged for help. He wandered off saying he would get help-but didn't come back. The storm was getting closer and closer and I was on my knees desperately trying to save the harvest and knowing I couldn't. I woke up in a sweat!

A couple of days later right on the day the children were to have their First Communion Mass my PP refused to come. I can't tell you what that did to us-and particularly to one family who had already been refused baptism for their daughter by a priest on the grounds she was too disabled to need the Sacrament!

Mary Rose said...


I know you see this as "just a dream," but I do think it represents something. From reading your blog, I can tell you have a very strong sense of right and wrong. Even before I read of your dream, I had the sense that you are a sort of "watchdog" for the Catholic faith. The church needs people like you to help guide others in their faith.

I'm not sure how much you're involved with the spiritual formation of others, but I do believe God has given you the gift to do this.

I had a vivid dream years ago about a woman who was trying to kill me. I knew instinctively it was a demon and started to pray just like you did. Soon, the woman crumpled to the ground, the power had gone out of her.

I've had some experience in praying in this way in real life. We can thank God that He has given us protection. It's not something I look for, but neither am I afraid of a fight. I suspect we're similar in that way. :-)

gemoftheocean said...

I have enough daymares not to conjure any nightmares.

swissmiss said...

Sorry to hear that your dream kind of was a harbinger of bad priestly behavior. I sometimes wonder if priests know how their actions can dramatically effect people one way or another. It's enough responsibility to be a mom entrusted with the care of our little ones, but to be a priest is an incredible responsibility. Curious about the wheat field though...did you grow up on a farm? My mother's family were farmers, but didn't ever grow wheat that I know of. I wouldn't know what to do with it if I saw it :)

Mary Rose:
Thanks for your kind words, but I'm just a poorly catechised cradle Catholic :) I certainly don't see myself as an apologist, because I am just now learning things about my faith I should've learned as a child. The only spiritual formation I do is my own and am helping my children learn their faith too. When it comes to the Faith, I stumble over myself in discussions...probably because I feel passionately about it. If I manage, with God's help, to have my children grow up and hold on to and love their faith, then I will have succeeded in my vocation.

I typically do not have bad dreams. Very rare. This dream was odd in that respect because it was scary and because it was so real! Like you, there is enough to stomach in daily life to not find it in my sleep!

Sanctus Belle said...

I have had similar sorts of dreams...where you somehow know to pray for protection against evil. Frightening....