A Priest Forever

This will be an odd post. It’s about my imagination and my dreams. So, no one’s reality but mine. I will note: I visited Father Michael most recently at St Pius. Each time I came by, he was dressed casually in jeans and sweater or khakis and flannel shirt and on his weaker days , pajama bottoms  or sweats. Since Father Michael died, I have often recalled several of our last conversations. And I picture the scene, mostly at the St Pius Priory parlor, just exactly as it was. And I recall Father Michael just as he was-sitting or standing- as we talked. But I  had the sense that something was different in the memories; I struggled to put my finger on it. Finally I realized what it was. In every memory, I see Father Michael dressed in his habit, most times even wearing the Dominican black cappa! There is one memory where Father is standing in front of me, vehemently lecturing me, and he is garbed in a beautiful gold chasuble. It shimmers and sparkles in spots- stunning. In another, I clearly see him sitting in the recliner with his cappa all about him, a la Darth Vader, looking pleased as punch-and so elegant and serene….and healthy.  And Father is saying “1981, Ah, I was just at the beginning of my Dominican life”. It had been my son’s birthday and Father asked me the year he was born.

When I finally realized what I was seeing, I tried to make sense of it. It had never happened previously. I have always thought of Father Michael as first and foremost a holy priest. His priestly character was so visible. So I feel like God blessed my memories in this way to recall every minute with Father as being in the presence of an extraordinary priest . It is a little thing -but so significant. I cherish this grace of seeing Father Michael robed as a ‘priest forever’.

On a lighter note, after I wrote my “Solsbury Hill” entry, I had a dream. I saw Father Michael in his habit-there he was, a vision in black and white -Irish step-dancing to “Solsbury Hill”. He cut quite a rug.

When Father  Michael was alive, part of my prayer routine was to say a personalized version of the Divine Mercy chaplet, naming Father Michael in each prayer. After he died, I went back to the regular chaplet. It certainly went a lot faster! Then lately, I’ve had a few recitations where I ‘slipped’ into my old habit, saying Father Michael’s name in the prayer.  It amused me because I couldn’t imagine Father Michael needing my prayers anymore. I was sure he’d gone right to Heaven…. until I had this dream…….

I saw Father Michael and he gave me a hug. I remember nothing at all about the setting, just him. I thanked him for helping me and others who had prayed to him for this or that . (I think so many of us feel we now truly know a saint in heaven who pays attention to us.) Anyway, Father Michael was so happy to have helped. He said he was very busy. I said “It sounds like you’re working up there!” And he said “Well, the Lord has graciously allowed me to be halftime in Heaven and halftime in Purgatory”. I said “you’re still in Purgatory????!!!!” Father said “Yes, but there were just so many prayers and requests to me,that they wanted to let me loose to start taking care of them- so I ‘m doing it halftime”. I said “maybe the Lord will let you do many things at one time”. He laughed and said “Well , just keep praying that Divine Mercy chaplet for me, I need it”.  That was it.

Ironic about the halftime-at least he doesn’t have to commute on the Ike!

Yep, I know,crazy.  I am doing the special chaplet though, at least for a while.

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