I awoke this morning reminded of a major vision, two years ago this past April. I suppose having Fr. V. on my mind lately, due to his email, reminded me, for his bringing the Eucharist was the morning after the vision. I shared it with him. It is worth sharing some with others, for it witnesses to the immensity of God and how He loves us all. His Love and Life are for each and all of us. Take these sharings as yours, if they are of any help in your life, as I think they surely could be for all of us.
I'll not at this time relate the first part of the vision. While beautiful and intimate, it is of mystical marriage--but not yet the consummation. The second part is after the marriage and banquet, and after Jesus revealed Who He Is. In the second part, He gave three simple messages, or Words, of abjuration followed by a closing. This vision and these locutions were in images and words, both.
He told me to wait [for Him]. I must remain strong, and "strong" was shown as well as spoken.
Next He showed me images of parishioners. They were mostly women, at least in the foreground, with others toward the back as if one is seeing some shrubs back-dropped by trees in a woods beyond. The women were a composite of women's faces I sort of recognized but not any one face in particular.
He showed me the women standing in a cluster, gossiping. He allowed me to hear their criticisms, featuring one heavy-set older woman who was vaguely familiar as a parishioner but whose face represented a variety of women's features. This one woman ridiculed and then complained that I was not someone Jesus would choose to wed. As she spoke, her face contorted with increasing ugliness, the more criticism of the like, while the other women gathered around, listened, whispered, and nodded in my direction.
With this scene, Jesus told me that others will criticize, but I am not to pay any attention to them. Then He told me that He had to leave for now, but He would return later to consummate the marriage.
The next night, the Lord awakened me, surely knowing that I needed a firm reminder warning of the trials ahead, probably because I was taken up with the delight and joy of the first part of the vision the night before and had not grasped the painful reality of the second part.
Hovering about a foot from the end of my bed was a steel rod about 3-feet in upright length, an inch in diameter. It hovered vertically, in steel-gray patina, unattached to anything, while a strong voice spoke. I am not sure if it was my guardian angel or one of the upper echelon angels, or if it was Jesus using a most firm voice.
The voice said:
You must remain strong.
You will feel very alone.
But you MUST REMAIN STRONG.
Then the voice added:
There will be no more messages for awhile.
That was it.
I have to laugh with this one, for it is so humbly and painfully true. When someone or other calls for advice on this or that, such as parent issues or marriage or the like, or anything having to do with the temporal world, I remind them that I am no beacon of aid other than as an example of what not to do!
All I can offer are my experiences and mostly what I am learning within the spiritual realm, and how that helps a soul stay afloat while swimming out into the deep, beyond the temporal yet while still very much in the lake.
As for the title of this post, I cannot emphasize enough just how ugly were the contorted faces shown me by Jesus, when He said I would be criticized by others but to pay no attention to them. It is an irony that these others were my fellow Christians and sharing my earthly gender. However, when I spoke last with my spiritual Father, he reminded me how Padre Pio was put under house arrest by his brother priests, in their monastery--and for a few years. If he had not been a priest himself, there would have been no Mass for him. John of the Cross was mistreated by his fellow brethren and often denied Communion, was beaten, and all manner of false words and ugly judgments made of him.
I suppose the pathos of ugliness is, at root, only sin. I emphasize only because when we hold sin out like we would a rat by its tail (or even a tiny mouse), we see it is but a creature that has a life lived not so in favor of cooperating with human beings, for it carries disease and multiplies prolifically, it invades and infests, and the diseases it carries have the power to kill bodies...but never can kill souls.
Sin is quite ugly, and those who engage in it even if they do not realize what they are doing, actually become physically ugly. I'm not sure how this occurs, but I have noticed this in faces and in lives of people who get stuck and distracted, and limit their spiritual progress.
I do not want to be ugly, to feel ugliness within, nor to have that look or emotion, that pathos of ugliness that begins to creep over a face and spread in a body. Ugliness is not caused only by what we humanly eat but can spread over and in us in what we watch, do, think and say.
Although I am not currently privy to any fullness of criticism, and although at times I can literally smell its stench and feel it, I can assume it is there, even if in the memory from past effects, such as in parishes or those who think the critical thoughts without even speaking them. And such ugliness in memory must be rid out, too, as Jesus said, by not paying attention to it or those who purvey.
Yet when I envision holding a rat (or mouse!) out by its tail, to see it for what it is and rid it out due to the disease-spreading and infestation aspects, I also view it as a creature that God created for this earth. In that I can respect it and strive to not see it as ugly as much as a rather blighted creature instinctively doing what it does without thinking or realizing how despicable.
"...what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honour."
It is with this God-imbued crown of glory and honor, that we can pray to stay as removed as possible from those with the pathos of ugliness. If others relate what is being said of us, ask them to not share. If others warn us that nastiness is afoot, refrain from any curiosity as to their words and methods. Think of Jesus, moving from place to place, avoiding those who thought ill of Him.
But at the same time, we must never forget to carry them as a cross, lifting them up and bending to carry the load and take them to Jesus, as sin is quite the load-full whether it be our ugliness or others. And we must remember to pray for them, as Jesus did on His Cross: Father, forgiven them, for they know not what they are doing.
And, in times of onslaught from the pathos of ugliness in whatever form, of others, or the temptation to sin within myself, I see with the mind's eye, that smooth and steel patina of the steel rod, upright, unbending, and unyielding. I hear the words: You must be strong. You will feel very alone. But you must remain STRONG! Take them for yourselves, if the image and words are worth your grabbing to hold and carry.