In my dream I was sitting under a lone tree on top of a hill. It was warm, and a gentle breeze blew across the hilltop. Sitting across from me was Jesus. He smiled, and we sat together, enjoying the moment. I felt peace, joy and a sense of contentment such that I didn’t want to leave.
I began to feel uneasy though, unworthy of the moment. Reflecting back on my life, I knew I didn’t deserve the Lord’s loving attention. I’ve been far from Him, I was certainly a sinner. Why I wondered, did the Lord seek me out? Why did he go through so much trouble to find me? I had to understand this… So I asked Him: Lord, why me? Why did you draw me to Yourself… as weak and sinful as I am? I know I have offended You Lord, many times in my life.
The Lord looked intently at me smiling and said simply, as if it was the most obvious thing in the universe, “Because you have sprung from the very heart of my Mercy” My reaction was “What?? I don’t understand.” I want to ask the Lord more but at that moment I unwillingly woke up, beginning yet another hectic day.
But even in the daily distractions of life, I pondered the meaning of what the Lord told me in my dream. It was so unexpected. When I asked Him my question, I was looking for an answer along the lines of: “Because you are My child”…. “Because I love you”… or that it was because of something good that I did that earned His attention.
Because you have sprung from the very heart of my Mercy…. As I continued to reflect on this, some insights became clearer. God is Mercy and Love itself and therefore our creation and existence is a direct consequence of His very nature. We are not an afterthought of creation, but we have sprung up from the heart of God’s Love like water from a fountain. As such, God is more father or mother to us than any human parent could be. For God to say to us: “because you are my child” would only do partial justice to the deep level of intimacy and dignity that each of us have because we have sprung from the very heart of God’s Mercy and Love. It’s for this reason that the Lord is always trying to draw us back to Himself. As human parents, we would do anything for our children, even giving our lives for them. Jesus, like a true father, gave everything of Himself, to include dying for us on the cross.
Jesus, as true God and true Man, has a human heart too. He feels and understands the pains and heartaches of human parents. Have you lost a child? Remember that Jesus wept at the death of His friend Lazarus. Are you estranged from your children? Remember that Jesus was inconsolable when His apostles, each of whom were loved dearly by Him, abandoned, denied and betrayed Him. Do you have a child who is struggling with a serious illness? Think back to Jesus, His heart full of pity and compassion, laying hands on lepers and healing those who had no one to help them.
So what about the dream? It is real? Is Jesus talking to me through dreams? Or was it just my deep imagination? I don’t know… and it’s not important that I know or even worry about. It would be a great burden if Jesus required us to seek Him though signs and portents and having to sort through what is real and what isn’t. Thankfully, He makes it easy for us to find Him.
Before I had this dream of Jesus under the tree on top of the hill I had several dreams of sitting in Church in front the Eucharist. In those dreams I felt the same joy, peace and contentment that I felt in my dream with Jesus under the tree. The connection seems clear: whether I see Jesus while sitting at His feet under a tree or kneeling at His feet in front of the Eucharist at Church the experience is fundamentally the same. This is Jesus’s great gift to us.
There, in front of the Eucharist, we don’t have to wonder if He is really there or if our experience of Him is real. He is truly present for us. Kneeling before Him, we can behold the imponderable mystery of our beginning and our end within the very heart of God’s Love and Mercy. Before us in the Eucharist is the human heart of Jesus, true God but also true Man, who smiles at us because we came to spend time with Him. Like Martha and Lazarus’s sister Mary, we too can sit with Jesus anytime we wish and we don’t have to wait for a dream or a sign to experience Him.
As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Gospel of Luke