This year, I felt a strong call to honour the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary – the anniversary of the 1571 Christian victory in the Battle of Lepanto. I wanted to make the kids a part of that too. So, on the eve, when the night had quietened down, I told them about Lepanto and the need for prayers. We decided to honour the feast by withdrawing from the world as often as we could that entire day, each time to say 5 Hail Mary’s for any intention God chooses to press on our souls. While I did share with the younger ones suggestions of intentions they could pray for, I insisted everyone listen out intently for God’s voice to each soul.
The next day, we did the sets of Hail Mary’s as often as each could. My youngest seemed to be the most enthusiastic. It touched my heart, for that little sunny soul was also the most mischievous of the lot.
In the afternoon, settling down for a nap, I prayed the Divine Mercy chaplet till I slept off.
I awakened later, stunned by a dream.
I could hear a plane struggling to ascend above huge rain clouds. It seemed to stretch its engine capacity to breaking point. Suddenly, I knew it didn’t make it. I heard the plane come down on the side of our house that faces north and the explosion illuminated the walls of our master bedroom. Fearing the fireball heading our way, I grabbed my husband’s and kids’ hands and dragged them all to another room as far away from the north side as possible.
We escaped unscathed. Later, we came out of the house and everything outside was covered in grey-white ash. There was a woman I didn’t know by the perimeter fence. She didn’t seem too upset by the plane crash. I asked her if it was an international flight; she replied by giving me the flight number. All I heard was the alphabet B, and the rest of the number faded out. But somehow, it was enough for me to realize it had been a local flight, one of those smaller planes.
As I was digesting this information, I turned back towards my home and to my consternation, saw that my children had put on their running shoes and were on their bikes and looked to be ready for some fun and games. I was upset that even a plane crash, with almost certain loss of life, could not steer them to deeper compassion for the suffering.
Then, my focus was inexplicably rained on my youngest, whining over some need not met .
And she was beyond the age where she needed to do that.
Opening my eyes, I was shocked over what I had been shown. It was one of those dreams I rarely have where every detail is crystal clear. At that moment, I heard the rumble of thunder. Immediately, I began to pray Hail Mary’s, beseeching Mother’s mercy to prevent any air crashes.
In the hours before the dream, I didn’t have a single impediment to saying the Hail Mary’s. Now however, every time my heart reached for it, the prayer was lifted out of the way. I kept at it for an hour or so, even trying the Divine Mercy chaplet, but to no avail. Then, I even tried praying different prayers – but connected to plane crashes.
When I played back the dream, trying to discern for myself what prayer or action was needed, I sensed the various parts swirling before me. For a while, the dream and its parts lost its distinctness.
I knew what I needed to do. I went to St Joseph, the Discerner of Dreams. I asked him to press upon my spirit what I needed to focus on.
St Joseph immediately answered me. I ‘saw’ the children once more. And I felt these words written on my heart:
They are not dressed.
My husband and I have given our lives for our children. We try our best to raise them in the teachings of the Catholic faith. We have our ups and downs. Days when we see God in our children. Days when we sense them going astray. Ours is a home where everything can be discussed, and everything is, so we are aware of where they are at every point in their life. We do not shield them from our struggles. Our kids are not raised in a dream world of light and bubbles. As parents we strive to educate them against the selfie mindset that retards the conscience. As we try to bind the wounds of others, we make our children a part of that too.
But when the king came in to meet the guests,
he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.
The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it
that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ ~ Matthew 22: 11 – 12
I play the dream over in my mind. All of my children were more intent on their own lives. All of them spared little thought for the suffering. But the one who was singled out was my youngest. Despite her joyful nature, and now, her exuberance to embrace prayer, God was warning me that outwardly she and the others might seem as if they were dressed the part but in the eyes of God, they were not right yet.
Most parents take pride in their children. They think the world of them. My husband and I are one of those too. But our confidence in our children is not singularly ours. It is shared by others – their teachers, our family, our priests too. It’s not a blind pride that gives us a cautious confidence in our brood that they are good kids.
And yet, despite all we have done, despite the beautiful souls our children truly are, on the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto, Mother Mary has come to warn me.
That my children are not dressed right. They are not ready for the wedding feast.