Saturday, July 9, 2011

I dreamed a dream.....

I love my dreams. I have some kooky ones, some fun ones, visits from family and sometimes scary ones. It amazes me how our minds work and we can have these experiences while we slumber.

Had an interesting dream last week...well to me. I am STILL thinking about it.

A LITTLE DREAM BACKGROUND: I grew up going to the same church my dad grew up in...he was a boy when they were building it. When my mom moved to ATL it was her family's church and that is how they met. Our family went there also, so many moments there practicing our Catholic Faith and sacraments. Celebrating the joys of life and saying goodbye and praying for those who passed. When Andy and I bought our house, I decided to just go to a church closer to us. A couple years ago, the pastor of the church I grew up in passed away suddenly in his sleep - he had been a family friend of ours since he first came to Atlanta as a priest from Ireland.

I am with my deceased family members getting ready to go to Sunday Mass - my father, my mother, my brother, my sister, my Uncle Jim, and Grandparents. Andy was also there as was my sister and her family. We decided to go to the church in Buckhead to see how the new pastor was doing and because we missed it.

We arrived to single file line outside the door. We were informed that we must follow the line in the church and sit where we ended up. The church was 3 sections - umm not as it REALLY is and we were told that to make the mass more intimate, they had 3 priests celebrating the mass at the same time - they didn't like the fact in the past that the church would be packed with people. I commented "This makes no sense. Why have 3 people do the job that one person could be doing". I was assured we would like this arrangement. I was happy to hear that Fr Lopez would be our celebratory priest for our section.

As mass started it was impossible to hear Fr Lopez. We were in the very back of the section and next to the new pastor who was celebrating mass to people facing us in the middle section. The new pastor was very loud and was singing. My parents were not the most charismatic catholics in life so they were looking at him like he was nuts. We were very frustrated to be a church and all we heard was noise, not the familiar mass.

When time for readings from the bible a comic got up and started to tell jokes. He then proceeded to do magic tricks. I yelled out loud in outrage "Where is this in the Old Testament?". My whole family looked at each other making crazy hand gestures. I was really getting mad.

Time for communion came and the stepford like ushers lined us up with mostly people we did not know. They led us all to tables as if at a sit down dinner and told us it was communion time. They laid out bread and a jug of wine and instructed us to discuss the importance of communion with those at our table and that we had 30 minutes, then they left. My Uncle Jim looked at me and said "This is the worst mass I have ever been to - despite the fact we have Fr Lopez". I told everyone at my table we didn't need to have a "rap session" that we just needed to do what is normally done at communion. I picked up the bread thought "This is my body, do this in remembrance of me". As I said "The body of Christ" and a self proclaimed "Amen, I started to weep. I was completely sad - the mass in my mind was not right. The way communion was handled to me was crazy and lacked respect.

I woke up.

First I laughed, what a nutty dream. Then I cried, I was at mass with my family again. I miss them all so much. I think this is the best thing about dreams as that those who are in your heart that have left this life come back to hang with you and how cool is it we all went to church together!

I realized in retrospect that one thing the dream emphasized was how much I love my Catholic faith. To be honest I have been in a bit of shall we say spiritual funk lately. Do I love God, yes. Do I believe His Son Jesus died on the cross for me, absolutely. Its the day to day and week to week stuff that I seem to be strugging with. But you know I realize its just not easy. "Narrow is the gate" as the good book says. If it were easy, that would be one huge wide gate to get into heaven. Our human nature and our culture certainly work against the principles of Christianity. I really value not just being a Christian, but being a Catholic.....a part of a family celebrating the mystery of the Church together. I really don't want to be someone who says "I am spiritual but not religious". I mean, Jesus preached to all and talked about love for each other. I am grateful to my parents for what they have given me. I truly believe in presence of Christ in or Eucharist and the reverence that goes with this.

I don't think the dream was a slam to the new pastor. Certainly things at my old church are as fantastic as they have always been.