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.