I should say at the outset that I don't believe most dreams have supernatural significance, and the one I'm about to describe is not any different. There is a natural reason why I had this particular dream; I'd been asked to pray for an orthodox priest under some duress from his bishop, and though I had not yet had the privelege of meeting this priest I'd heard many good things about him. What with thinking about his situation and praying for him, I was not surprised at all to have him show up in a couple of dreams--but as this one was interesting and has some relevance to what I want to say today I share it here.
I dreamed this several years ago, yet it has remained rather vivid in my mind, as some of those short, near-dawn dreams often do. In my dream I was kneeling at Mass, right up in the front row; the priest I'd been praying for was saying Mass, and was just at the moment of the Consecration.
As he elevated the chalice I saw that it was a clear glass or crystal chalice--and had I been awake, I'd have seen that as incongruous with this priest's deep orthodoxy and reverence for the liturgy (as, no doubt, would he), since such chalices aren't generally permitted. But in the dream there was a reason for this chalice--for as the priest concluded the elevation, he came out from behind the altar, walked over to me, pressed the chalice against my forehead, and asked, gently, "What do you see?"
I peered into the depths of the ruby-red Precious Blood, and a distinct picture began to emerge. I saw a mountain, completely encircled by a road which led up it in a spiral. About halfway up the mountain was the Ark of the Covenant. Two groups of people were carrying the Ark--but one was trying to carry the Ark up to the summit of the mountain, while the other was trying to take the Ark back to the mountain's base. As they struggled with each other, the Ark would go up a little and back down a little, but the end result was that the Ark remained in the middle of the mountain.
Out loud, though, in answer to the priest's question, I said, "I see Israel and Judah, contending with each other, throughout the ages, down to the present day."
And the priest asked me, even more gently, "And what does it mean?"
"It means, 'Be faithful,'" I replied without hesitation. I then woke up completely, the way you sometimes do after a vivid dream.
I've had plenty of occasions to think of that dream since then, and this most present occasion brought it to my mind again. There are bound to be times when sincere Catholics disagree with each other about the specific application of some definitive teaching, and this debate we've had about lying, about Live Action, and about the moral law is an example of that time.
But whether we agree more with this gentleman (as I do) or with this one, we are, for the most part, trying to answer that command--not merely a dream, but the general command to Christians everywhere: be faithful. This is not a matter where some Catholics are dissenting from something that has already been clearly defined, such as the morality of abortion or artificial contraception. Those sorts of settled matters don't really allow for varied interpretations, and the Church has been very careful to be very clear.
The Church will, at some point, be equally clear about whether sting operations, citizen journalism, police work, spying, witness protection programs, childhood traditions such as Father Christmas or La Befana or St. Nicholas, etc. must all be unequivocally condemned as immoral lying, or whether some are exceptions, or whether (though I rather doubt it) all of them are. The question we have to ask ourselves is: what if the Church declares that I am wrong?
I've said before: if the Church ever condemns the St. Nicholas/Santa Claus pretense as immoral lying, I will publicly retract every word I've ever said or written on the subject and write with equal energy to fight against the practice, as I've previously written in favor of it. Similarly, if the Church ever declares that citizen journalists may licitly say they are who they are not and make other false statements in the line of their work, I will apologize for having taken the opposite position and make it clear that I am willing to be guided by the Church in this as in all matters.
Because what matters more than online moral theology discussions and Internet bloviating and the joy of blogging is the message of that dream of mine: be faithful. It is my intention to follow Christ and His Church in all things, come what may.