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St. John Bosco’s prophetic vision of the Church during times of trial

ST JOHN BOSCO
Public Domain
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"Only two things can save us in such a grave hour: devotion to Mary and frequent Communion."

In 1862, St. John Bosco related to his students a vivid dream he had a few nights before. He described it to them as an “allegory” with profound spiritual lessons embedded in it.

Since then many people have found his dreams to be “prophetic,” describing a future time of trial in the Church. As with many supernatural dreams, the contents of the dreams don’t necessarily apply to one particular period in time, but serve as a general reminder of what is truly important during any time of crisis in the world.

Below are a few short excerpts from Bosco’s dream that envisions the Church as a large ship, being tossed about by waves and enemy attacks. Yet, in the midst of it all, the ship stays the course and remains focused on two pillars that save it from sinking.

Try to picture yourselves with me on the seashore, or, better still, on an outlying cliff with no other land in sight. The vast expanse of water is covered with a formidable array of ships in battle formation, prows fitted with sharp spear-like beaks capable of breaking through any defence. All are heavily armed with cannons, incendiary bombs, and firearms of all sorts — even books — and are heading toward one stately ship, mightier than them all. As they try to close in, they try to ram it, set it afire, and cripple it as much as possible.

This stately vessel is shielded by a flotilla escort. Winds and waves are with the enemy. In this 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 inscription reads: Help of Christians; the other, far loftier and sturdier, supports a [Communion] Host of proportionate size and bears beneath it the inscription Salvation of believers.

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 its course. At times a formidable ram splinters a gaping hole into its hull, but, immediately, a breeze from the two columns instantly seals the gash.

Very grave trials await the Church. What we have suffered so far is almost nothing compared to what is going to happen. The enemies of the Church are symbolised by the ships which strive their utmost to sink the flagship. Only two things can save us in such a grave hour: devotion to Mary and frequent Communion. Let us do our very best to use these two means and have others use them everywhere.

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