The title for this blog has so many meanings for me, personally, and for the first posting of the New Year of 2021 I can think of no better way than to begin with a story.
Yes, I am “unpacking” again. This time it is a dream that I had the night of Good Friday in 2012.
Before we begin to enter into that dream, I would like to offer you the first few stanzas of the lyrics of “The Lord of the Dance.” You may even want to listen first to the YouTube of the Heath Mount School Choir link below to open your hearts to the joy of the song.
I danced in the morning when the world was begun,
I dance in the moon and the stars and the sun,
I came down from Heaven and I danced on earth,
At Bethlehem I had my birth.
Back in Time
For me to unpack the dream, we need to go back to the year 2010. It was the year that followed my husband, Rob’s, miraculous surgery that saved his life. It literally took him one year to recover at home and heal from that 12-hour operation; a recovery that restored our lives back to normalcy.
When that year of healing passed, we decided to take a three-week drive down the East Coast heading towards Florida, celebrating that God had given him more years of life upon this earth. It was a time of meandering and just taking in the beauty of nature in all the places we visited. We didn’t have a plan and, for the most part, we didn’t have reservations in many hotels. We were “on the fly” and our “wings” took us to many landing places.
Many of those landing places were places of worship and we found ourselves either attending Holy Mass or just making a visit to a church as we passed by. What I noticed, however, was that all the places that seemed to be on fire were churches that had Eucharistic Adoration, either perpetual around the clock or specified hours of prayer.
Eucharistic Adoration is a Eucharistic practice in the Roman Catholic Church in which the Blessed Sacrament is adored by the faithful.
What we were experiencing and seeing concretely in the churches we visited, was clearly a sense of pure joy, pure love and pure worship for God. Within those sacred walls, we were immersed in a sea filled with friendly smiles and a hearty welcome to visitors that joined them in their prayer of thanksgiving.
And I’ll Lead You
Dance then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the dance,” said he,
“And I’ll lead you all wherever you may be,
And I’ll lead you all in the dance,” said he.
Upon our return home from this beautiful road trip, I was filled with so much joy and felt so exhilarated that I had to do something!
What did I do?
I danced! I danced by writing letters to all the pastors of the churches that we visited on our journey. I invited them to write me back, giving me the graces that were gleaned from having Eucharistic Adoration in their parishes. I wanted to bring these letters as concrete proof to my own pastor at my parish church. These “shepherds” followed through and I was armed with what I needed to go and “dance.”
I prayed and gathered information for my meeting with my pastor. In that prayer, the Holy Spirit led me to present my case as a lawyer! I took those words seriously and rehearsed my speech, knowing that I might be swimming in deep waters. But, as they say, my lifeguard walks on water or maybe even dances on water, so He was with me.
The poor pastor! I was on a roll and threw in lots of smiles, even when there were negative remarks thrown back. I tried not to argue but found myself telling him, “yes, Msgr., the Cathedral of the Diocese has Eucharistic Adoration!” I was right back there the next day with another listing for him, giving him even more information. He told me he would pray about it and get back to me.
Well, that was May of 2011. I heard nothing through the whole summer and, impatient as I am, I held off “bugging him” on the advice of a close friend.
I had only asked for one day, one hour of Adoration time per week and had volunteered my time as well, for that Eucharistic prayer hour, if approved.
The answer finally came in October of 2011. And how! I read it in the Pastor’s Column! There it was in our bulletin. We would begin with Eucharistic Adoration on Fridays right after the 7:45 am Mass until 2:00 pm with closing Benediction! YIKES! My pastor gave me more than I asked for!
“Ask Jesus for a piece of bread and He gives you a whole loaf!” Yes, He was feeding us big time.
Dancing on Good Friday 2012
I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black,
It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back.
They buried my body, they thought I’d gone,
But I am the dance, and I still go on.
Good Friday of 2013 will forever be etched on my heart. Even in the sadness of the bleak and dark day, my heart was rejoicing in being part of that worship prayer to God. It was the “Oh Lord hear my prayer,” at the 3:00 pm Service that always steals my heart and causes every emotion in my body to let loose like an ocean wave of tears. I had tears, but they were truly tears of joy. I went home after the service telling my husband that I was so so happy to be part of the universal Catholic Church. I was dancing for sure!
Now we have arrived to my dream which truly was quite an odd one to have on Good Friday. I didn’t dream of crucifixions, nor scourging, nor a crown of thorns.
Sometime during the night of Good Friday, or maybe in the early morning hours of Holy Saturday, I dreamt of my pastor.
He had told me they were renovating the rectory and he needed a place to stay. I told him he would be welcome in our home and so he came. The next morning, upon awakening, the pastor asked me for a cup of coffee.
“Sure,” I told him. “I’ll go get you a cup!” But when I returned with coffee in hand, he was gone.
I found myself in another place other than my own home and I began to open doors to find him.
Finally, I opened a door and found him in a room with an altar.
He seemed to be perplexed, almost looking around for someone. I realized he had been waiting for me to enter and that once I had settled in, he began to busy himself with setting up the altar for the Banquet that would be offered to me.
Dancing with Joy
I nestled into a cozy spot on the floor almost hiding. Truly, I wasn’t sure what was happening or if I was even supposed to be there.
Remember that it had been about my home, being a place of refuge for my pastor and coffee being offered to him the next morning. Now I found myself someplace other than my known surroundings. . . and I was before an altar. Then my eyes opened wide!
There “He” was. . . .
“The Dancing Child Jesus Robed in Glory”
He seemed to be maybe about three years old, dressed in an elegant little coat, depicted much like the picture shown here. He wore open sandals and was happily dancing on the altar, running back and forth from one corner to another of the sacred table. “Total glee” is how I would describe his demeanor. . . just total, total glee.
I remember noticing him with blonde curly hair and being surprised by the color! Didn’t Jesus have dark hair????
Why was I thinking these ridiculous thoughts at a moment like this even if it was a dream! Blonde hair or dark hair, no matter. I was seeing the Child Jesus before me, exuberant with joy; a joy I truly will never forget.
Then, all of a sudden, He was gone. He disappeared! It happened when Msgr. turned around to the Tabernacle behind the altar to retrieve the ciborium to bring me the Eucharist.
I remember the emotions of bewilderment swirling in my mind as I received the small, white Host onto my tongue.
“Where did He go? What just happened?”
And then I awoke. The dream had ended. . .
I found myself in bed prodding my husband to awaken him on that glorious Holy Saturday morning! I wanted to tell him of a dream that will forever be etched on my heart!
I had to share with him this precious gift!
I had to witness to others what I had seen!
I had to meet with my Pastor!
I had to “Dance!”
I had to “Dance” with Jesus!
“Dance then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the dance,” said he,
“And I’ll lead you all wherever you may be,
And I’ll lead you all in the dance,” said he.”
And I Let Myself Be Led
to be continued . . .
BLESSINGS OF FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE
THE NEW YEAR
©2021 Anita Guariglia
Youtube – Lord of the Dance by Heath Mount School Choir
Photo Credits/Pinterest, Instagram
Lyrics from “The Lord of the Dance” Sydney Carter/1963