Friday, July 18, 2008

Don Bosco's Dream and Pope Benedict

You may be familiar with the dream of St. John Bosco and the two pillars but many of you may not. I was looking at the Abbey-Roads 2 blog and it reminded me of the story. On May 30, 1862, Don Bosco recounted that in a dream he had seen an immense sea on which a great many ships were arranged for battle against a larger and taller ship. He also saw others that were defending the tall ship. These are Don Bosco's words as taken from volume VII of the Biographical Memioirs:

"In the midst of this endless sea, two solid columns, a short distance apart, soar high into the sky. One is surmounted by a statue of the Immaculate Virgin, at whose feet a large inscriptions reads:" 'Auxilium Christianorum' ('Help of Christians') . The other, far loftier and sturdier, supports a Host of proportionate size, and bears beneath it the inscription: 'Salus credentium' ('Salvation of believers').

"The flagship commander - the Roman Pontiff- standing at the helm, strains every muscle to steer his ship between the two columns, from whose summits hang many anchors and strong hooks linked to chains. The entire enemy fleet closes in to intercept and sink the flagship at all costs. They bombard it with everything they have: books and pamphlets, incendiary bombs, firearms, cannons. The battle rages ever more furious. Beaked prows ram the flagship again and again, but to no avail, as, unscathed and undaunted, it keeps on it course. At times, a formidable ram splinters a gaping hole in its hull, but immediately, a breeze from the two columns instantly seals the gash.

"Meanwhile, enemy cannons blow up; firearms and beaks fall to pieces; ships crack up and sink to the bottom. In blind fury, the enemy takes to hand-to-hand combat, cursing and blaspheming. Suddenly the Pope falls, seriously wounded. He is instantly helped up, but struck a second time, dies. A shout of victory rises from the enemy, and wild rejoicing seeps their ships. But no sooner is the Pope dead than another takes his place. The captains of the auxiliary ships elected him so quickly that the news of the Pope's death coincides with that of his successor's election. The enemy's self-assurance wanes.

"Breaking through all resistance, the new Pope steers his ship safely between the two columns; first, to the one surmounted by the Host, and then the other, topped by the statue of the Virgin. At this point, something unexpected happens. The enemy ships panic and disperse, colliding with and scuttling each other.

"Some auxiliary ships, which had gallantly fought alongside their flagship, are the first to tie up at the two columns. Many others, which had fearfully kept far away from the fight, stand still, cautiously waiting until the wrecked enemy ships vanish under the waves. Then they too head for the two columns, tie up at the swinging hooks and ride safe and tranquil beside their flagship. A great calm now covers the sea."

The following pictures are of Pope Benedict's arrival, by boat, to Sydney Harbor. I included a picture of the Holy Father arriving by boat in Cologne, Germany as well. I don't think we can know for sure if Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI were the Pope's of Don Bosco's dream but it is worth praying over. Certainly both of these men are leading us back to the Eucharist and to strong devotion to Our Lady. It is worth noting that Mary, Help of Christians (Auxilium Christianorum) is the patroness of Australia! Also, standing right behind the Holy Father on the ship is the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tersicio Bertoni, SDB (Salesian of Don Bosco)! Let's pray that all of us remain anchored to these great pillars following the leadership of a wonderful Holy Father!


24 comments:

Nancy said...

This also reminds me of photos of the Holy Father arriving by sea during his first apostolic visit, which was to Germany, his homeland. Thank you for reminding us of Don Bosco's wonderful and hopeful dream.

Carolyn Moebest said...

I told my husband te same thing last night. One of my son's was born Jan. 31, and two on May 24. When Holy Father sailed ion the Rhine, was my first notion of the same thing. PAX

Padre Steve said...

He certainly is a man of God and he is leading us through difficult times! Let's pray for him as he continues to witness and teach us!

James H said...

Great post. THose pictures in junction with Bosco is something to ponder

Joe Trevors said...

Friday, July 18, 2008

When I read the part of Don Bosco's dream referring to the death of one pope and election of the new pope, I thought moreso of the death of Pope John Paul I and election of Pope John Paul II.

It was such an overwhelming presence of Pope John Paul II that it was as if her were already elected!!

Thank you.

Mark B said...

If anyone also knows of Don Bosco's dream, it also indicated the dream would be fullfilled in the year 19 _ _. We are clearly removed from that century. Anyone else have comment to this, please provide.

greg said...

I too heard of the 19__ -- it said he wrote that Blessed Mary would have two victories (I forget the first one, for which he gave the year, I think), but that the second one would be her greatest and he left the year blank, only providing the century -- 19, so Bosco wrote it as 19_ _ -- personally I think it could refer to 1984, the year JPII performed the consecration requested at Fatima, which led to the collapse of Russian communism, and the return of Russia from official atheism to Christianity. Russia presented a great threat to Christianity, especially to Catholicism, including orchestrating the assassination attempt on JPII.

Postmodernist said...

"...Returning to Don Bosco and to the joy of his spirit!"

I love this. Being a Bosconian myself since grade school, I now believe that a "return" to St. John Bosco, would be to return to the very Mass and Liturgy Don Bosco himself offered, followed, and observed. It is to return to the true Catholic beliefs and traditions that St. John Bosco held firmly in his heart. To believe what Don Bosco believed and what Holy Mother Church vigorously taught and defended during Don Bosco's time. I think that is the essence of a Salesian, and that is the essence of a true Bosconian. Thank God for Pope Benedict XVI thank God for Summorum Pontificum.

Instavrare Omnia In Christo.

charlie said...

As the Pope approached the warf at sydney on his first official day where 140000 youth were assembled to greet him he was in the same position at the helm of the boat, with the same type clergy behind him, as in the picture of the dream of don Bosco - very uncanny.
I think the church has been reborn at this world youth day.

Clare A said...

I've long been interested in this prophecy of Don Bosco. I heard that it referred to JP1 and JP2 but this doesn't really fit the wording. The first Pope was struck down twice - which surely fits John Paul II, who was shot and then revived and ultimately laid low by infirmity. Benedict XVI was elected very speedily - this also fits the wording.

Benedict is very focused on essentials, and I am confident that he will steer the barque safely home, but we can expect some choppy waters first!

Kevin Symonds said...

We must always be careful with attributing prophecies with events.

I do not think the Don Bosco dream referred to John Paul II. JPII was shot once, not twice.

Unless someone wishes to say that Pope Benedict XVI will be shot and recover (after already suffering a stroke c.a. 1990 as a Cardinal) miraculously past 80 years of age, then the dream of Don Bosco may not apply to Pope Benedict XVI.

Let us just pray and do our duty as Christians.

Peace!
-Kevin J. Symonds

Leticia said...

I think there is a powerful case for this. The Ship of Peter certainly has been bombarded in the past 40 years, and John Paul II and Benedict are heading for the twin moorings of the Blessed Sacrament and the Eucharist.
I am waiting for the timid Catholics to re-join the ship, and for a calm sea.

Diane said...

Dear Father,

Thank you so much for this post. I've only recently latched on to Don Bosco and have become a great fan of him, and St. Dominic Savio.

I am curious if you have read the book Dream of the Great Ship - Interpretations of Saint John Bosco's dream of the two columns by Tim Bartel.

I would like your take on it. The fact that the author uses "intepretations" in the plural sense, I take it he covers more than one way to look at it???

Diane said...

Clarifying my question, I am wondering if there are any precautions with reading this kind of material.

We can speculate all day about certain things and this can lead to a false kind of spirituality. It is with this thought that I wonder if the book is good.

FHMA said...

For illustrated quotes of St. John Bosco be sure to visit:

www.bringforthgoodfruit.com

Edgar said...

I think Mr. Kevin Seymons is right, the prophecy may apply to a future Pope, it is very difficult to interpret prophecy, specially when prophecy is conditional on our response to God's warnings. It is an interesting topic though, the church is certainly going through a world wide attack and the ship is yet to reach shore (the era of peace). It is still interesting how the Holy Father Benedict XVI is arriving in ships to the world youth day pilgrims, perhaps these kids will make up an important part of the catholic population during the era of peace, so perhaps Pope Benedict is one of the prelates in the dream, perhaps the one who gets shot, perhaps not.

Padre Steve said...

Diane, thanks for the book suggestion! I will check it out. As I said in the post, I think we have to pray for discernment with these kinds of things, but the image of Pope Benedict on the boat is so striking! For sure he is leading the Church, as did Pope John Paul II, through very difficult waters. But, I think there is a lot to be hopeful about! The Holy Father seems energized by the young! God bless him!

Diane said...

I haven't read it, and it is hard to tell from the title. If you do read it, I would be interested in knowing your impressions. Does it present speculations made by various people, or something else?

When I saw the picture at the top of your post, my first thought was back to that pre-conclave homily where he talked about being tossed too and fro in waves by the many winds of doctrine.

I posted those thoughts, along with another interesting thing, that in that paragraph, to which he leads us: The writings of whom? St. Paul!

Fenderson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nancy said...

Well, the Bible (both Old Testament and New) contains a number of important and portentous dreams, from Jacob's Ladder, to Joseph's interpretations of dreams in Egypt, Daniel, Nabuchadnezzar's dream, St. Joseph's dreams, St. John's visions.....I think the important thing to keep in mind always - not only for dreams but for every human event and activity - is the Lord's admonition: "By their fruits ye shall know them."

Nancy said...

His Holiness' goodness, sweetness and kindness just pour out, overflow from him, but this does not mean that he's going to refrain from correcting us and setting us back on the right path when we've strayed. On the contrary, he knows his job is to do precisely that...

Sunitha said...

ALMIGHTY GOD ,THY WILL BE DONE

Tim Bartel said...

Peace be with you. My name is Tim Bartel and I am the Author of Dream of the Great Ship… the very book that Diane has asked about. I apologize in advance for the lengthiness of this post yet the scope of it is to reply to many posts on this site with questions about the dream and some about my book.

RE: Nancy:AWell, the Bible (both Old Testament and New) contains a number of important and portentous dreams, from Jacob's Ladder, to Joseph's interpretations of dreams in Egypt, Daniel, Nabuchadnezzar's dream, St. Joseph's dreams, St. John's visions.....I think the important thing to keep in mind always - not only for dreams but for every human event and activity - is the Lord's admonition: "By their fruits ye shall know them."

Well Written! I agree.


RE: Diane:I am curious if you have read the book Dream of the Great Ship - Interpretations of Saint John Bosco's dream of the two columns by Tim Bartel.

Thank you for the reference!

RE: Diane:I would like your take on it. The fact that the author uses "intepretations" in the plural sense, I take it he covers more than one way to look at it???

Yes, and I also meant that I cover each detail of the dream, recognizing the individual part as well as the whole of it.

RE: Diane:Clarifying my question, I am wondering if there are any precautions with reading this kind of material….We can speculate all day about certain things and this can lead to a false kind of spirituality. It is with this thought that I wonder if the book is good.

Well written. Indeed, seek the council of a trusted spiritual adviser. It may help you to know that I am a Catholic in good standing with the Church and that I uphold the teachings of the Magisterium, I am Marion, and I hold the Eucharist as the supreme summit of our faith… just to be perfectly clear… I believe that the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ… it is True Sacrifice, True Food (and communal meal), True Sacrament and True Presence. (Please don’t anyone get weird because I wrote “it” instead of “Him” since I already acknowledged that the Eucharist is He, Jesus.)


RE: Diane:Does it present speculations made by various people, or something else?

Primarily myself but I was influenced by the recordings of Fr. Michael Mendl SJB, Archbishop Fulton Sheen, Fr. Andrew Apostoli, Raymond Arroyo, Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Ratzinger), Tim Staples, Scott Hahn, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Pope John Paul II, Pope benedict XVI other popes too. All of my quotations and points are clearly annotated and there is a two-page bibliography in the back of the book. You can preview some of it online at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dream-Great-Ship-Interpretations-Columns/dp/097692420X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234499218&sr=8-1


RE: Padre Steve:I will check it out.

Thank you! Please feel free to contact me at tim@thisgoldenarrow.com if you have any concerns or would like clarification. I look forward to your feedback!!

RE: Padre Steve:As I said in the post, I think we have to pray for discernment with these kinds of things,…”

Again, I agree wholeheartedly. :D

RE: Mark B:If anyone also knows of Don Bosco's dream, it also indicated the dream would be fullfilled in the year 19 _ _. We are clearly removed from that century. Anyone else have comment to this, please provide.

Mark, Allow me to explain the origin of the mysterious date although my book has nothing to do with it because is not related to the Dream of the Two Columns and I don’t want to inspire any kind of unhealthy speculation. It comes from volume 9 of the Biographical Memoirs. One of SJB’s early designs for the Church Mary Help of Christians included two 8-foot angel statuaries flanking the two large belfries. One angel was to hold a banner with “LEPANTO” inscribed on it and the other was to hold a banner with “19..” That’s nineteen dot dot. John Boso’s biographer, Fr. Lemoyne was free to comment on this in the biography writing, “It stood for another date, “nineteen hundred,” without the final two numbers to indicate the specific year. Though ultimately, as we have said, a laurel wreath was put into the angel’s hand, we have never forgotten the mysterious date which, in our opinion, pointed to a new triumph of the Madonna. May this come soon and bring all nations under Mary’s mantle.” So there you have it. The incomplete number, which might have been a date, has been misappropriated and has been said to be written on one of the columns in the Dream of the Two Columns. But as you see there is no contextual relationship that can be reasonably drawn between the two, especially since it was Saint John Bosco’s good judgment not to include it in the final architecture of the building. He may have been trying to avoid such speculation since the main point is to align your self with Mary and the Eucharist and not to dwell on dates and other things that sidetrack our faith. Not that you are doing that… just that it could happen if not properly discerning.



RE : greg:personally I think it could refer to 1984, the year JPII performed the consecration requested at Fatima, which led to the collapse of Russian communism, and the return of Russia from official atheism to Christianity.

You just may be right. I have dedicated an entire chapter in my book, Dream of the Great Ship, to the relationship between Fatima and the dream. We should acknowledge in the triumph that The Roman Catholic Church is still a minority in the former Soviet Union and that her “errors have spread” as Mary said they would.


RE: Postmodernist:I now believe that a "return" to St. John Bosco, would be to return to the very Mass and Liturgy Don Bosco himself offered, followed, and observed.

I think that to be a true apprentice of SJB one should certainly moor himself to the pillars of the Eucharist and Mary. That does imply a certain reverence for the divine presence especially in the Liturgy. You would like my concluding chapter A Great Peace, as I explain that the journey of the great ship toward the pillar of the Eucharist particularly as a journey to renewed reverence and proper Liturgy. But I do uphold **both** the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Latin Rite.


RE: Clare A:I heard that it referred to JP1 and JP2 but this doesn't really fit the wording. The first Pope was struck down twice - which surely fits John Paul II, who was shot and then revived and ultimately laid low by infirmity.

Your interpretation is fair, and I briefly mention that possibility in my book. I think this is the area in the dream that most confuses readers when that accept a prophetic meaning to the dream. It is primarily because of the journalistic process. You see SJB did not write the dream down himself. If you look into the original redactions of the dream (there were 4 but only 3 survive plus the memoirs) you will see that there is room for error in the recording process. What I mean is that Fr. Lemoyne (SJB’s biographer) wrote that SJB’s talks would often last an hour or more and that those who later recounted the dream may have become fatigued. So the recordings may not be accurate. Additionally, Fr. Lemoyne explains that immediately there was question over how many Popes there were… was it two or three? Fr. Lemoyne was not there when SJB told the dream but he was there 9 yrs later when the issue arose again and it was just as fresh then.

I cannot prove it but I believe that the correct telling should be that the first Pope dies quickly and the second is wounded but rises up again. That fits with what really happened between JP I and JP II. The only thing that would settle this is if we could find the missing manuscript penned by Secundus Merlone. His other writings about SJB’s dreams and parables are far more detailed than other scribes and I expect he got it right. There is much, much more on this in my book in the bonus chapter Out In The Deep.

BTW, Fr. Lemoyne took the four versions of the dream and combined them into the one you see on this page above. I did the same thing. I went to the surviving three redactions and compared it to version in the memoirs. As it turns out, Fr. Lemoyne left out a few words and phrases that I thought were inspiring so I included them in the version that’s in my book and on my website: http://www.thisgoldenarrow.com/


RE Kevin Symonds:I do not think the Don Bosco dream referred to John Paul II. JPII was shot once, not twice…Unless someone wishes to say that Pope Benedict XVI will be shot and recover (after already suffering a stroke c.a. 1990 as a Cardinal) miraculously past 80 years of age, then the dream of Don Bosco may not apply to Pope Benedict XVI.

You are correct such an interpretation is ridiculous. I see Pope Benedict XVI as the last Pope mentioned in the dream (good heavens don’t anyone get the idea that I mean he is the absolute last pope… that too is ridiculous). Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio last year that solidified the extraordinary form of the Liturgy as never being abrogated is certainly a mooring of sorts. But there is much more work for him and the Magisterium to do in shaping up the ordinary (Novus Ordo) to the proper vision of the Agiornimento and Resourcement that Ratzinger has written about.


RE: Leticia:John Paul II and Benedict are heading for the twin moorings of the Blessed Sacrament and the Eucharist… I am waiting for the timid Catholics to re-join the ship, and for a calm sea.

Me too but did you mean tepid instead of timid? Maybe both are true. Let’s keep praying for the whole Church and offering Masses, shall we?


RE: Padre Steve:… but the image of Pope Benedict on the boat is so striking!

I like the way you put it so I’ll let you have the last word…:

For sure he is leading the Church, as did Pope John Paul II, through very difficult waters. But, I think there is a lot to be hopeful about! The Holy Father seems energized by the young! God bless him!

Luellen said...

I just read the book 40 Dreams of St. John Bosco and I have to say it was one of the best books I have ever read.
Luellen Hoffman, Fairfax, VA