(My good friend, Fr. Regis Scanlon, is writing a series of pieces relating Don Bosco’s famous prophecy to today’s events. Fr. Regis is a Franciscan Capuchin. He has lived his entire life taking the next right step. While I was in Birmingham, one of the priests I had lunch with remembered Fr. Regis, who did an Eucharistic series for EWTN. That priest told me, delightedly, that Fr. Regis was one of Mother Angelica’s favorite priests – both for his lively sense of humor and for his straight-forward, blunt and orthodox homilies. That’s Fr. Regis.
I have read two of the three pieces. I will print the second tomorrow and the third when it is finished. I think they are prophetic in the truest sense of the word. These appeared first in the Capuchin Franciscans NewsBlog-CJ)
By Fr. Regis Scanlon, O.F.M. Cap.
Reading the signs of the times, it is difficult not to conclude that God has sent humanity a message for today using the teachings and events of various past lives of the saints .
John Bosco, also known as Don Bosco, and an inspirational model and motivator to rough and abandoned youths, was the founder of the Salesian Society. About 150 years ago, he had a dream which he regarded as prophetic. Since then it has been studied and analyzed by scholars and religious thinkers who respect its message and have pondered its meaning. Many see, in its details, events which are happening — or have happened — down to our very day.
Of course we must remember that Don Bosco’s dream is in the category of a private revelation. While no one is obligated to believe it (and the Church has not passed judgment on it) , that doesn’t mean it does not depict true things. If this dream contains a true prophecy, we should study and take it serious because it will most likely help us understand and solve the problems of our own day.
Don Bosco related his “Two Columns” dream to some orphan boys on May 26, 1862. While more than one boy wrote it down, and there were some discrepancies in their accounts, they all agreed on the main points of the dream.
Don Bosco dreamed he was on a shore of a vast sea watching a battle between a band of enemy warships and a flotilla led by the Pope. The enemy’s weapons, heresy and persecution, were battering the pope’s scattered flotilla. To prevail against the enemy, and “the winds and waves” that seemed to be “with the enemy.” the pope tried to lash his vast flotilla of ships around two columns.
At the top of one of the columns was a majestic Eucharist Host and underneath it the inscription, “Salvation of Believers.” The other smaller column bore a statue of the Immaculate Virgin at whose feet was inscribed the phrase, “Mary, Help of Christians.”
But the Pope’s flotilla remained scattered and many of his ships appeared to be sinking, though they miraculously remained afloat. Still, the enemy advanced.
The Pope summoned his captains to a meeting but a storm broke out and the captains had to return to their ships. The battle grew more intense and even turned to hand to hand combat.
Suddenly, the Pope fell, gravely wounded. He was helped up by his fellow warriors, only to be struck down again. This time he died, and victory shouts rang out from the enemy. But to their horror, another Pope was quickly elected, and this swift recovery from disaster made the enemy’s self-assurance vanish.
Taking the helm of the flagship, the new Pope broke through all resistance and lashed his flagship to the Two Columns. This panicked the enemy, which began to flee, colliding with one another and crashing to the bottom of the sea. At that, the Pope’s battered flotilla sailed close to the flagship, lashed their vessels to the Two Columns, and “a great calm came over the sea.”
When Don Bosco finished relating this dream to the boys he summed up the meaning of the dream in these words:
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 symbolized by the ships which strive their upmost 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. Good Night.
The furthering of this inspiration for “frequent communion” and “devotion to Mary” was given a boost in the real world by Pius X and Our Lady of Fatima in the early 20th century.
In 1905 Pius X decreed that for the first time Catholics could receive Holy Communion every day at Holy Mass. Then on May 13, 1917, Our Lady asked the world through three shepherd children of Fatima to pray the Rosary for the sake of Peace or the Pope and the Church would suffer much.
While this request to pray the Rosary and the warning from Our Lady was given to all peoples, it seemed to be especially directed to the people of our own time.
Don Bosco’s prophecy reflects events in our own day
The details of Don Bosco’s dream fit well with the events and challenges which face the Church in the 20th and 21st centuries.
First there is the “storm” and the rough “winds and waves” that “are with the enemy” on the sea representing a major clash between good and evil and between the Church and civil society. This clash erupted in a serious way with the First and Second World Wars which broke out respectively in 1914 and 1939 and was followed by the spread of atheistic Communism throughout the world. Communism and its effects still exist today and strangles the Church wherever it exists.
This battle with Communism was certainly behind the wounding of John Paul II on May 13, 1981 and this wounding represents the first possible fulfillment of Don Bosco’s image of a fallen pope since he had the dream in1862.
The worldwide war against the Church today would certainly qualify for a fierce battle as described in Don Bosco’s dream. We are witnessing the horrific martyrdom of Christians as Islamic terrorists seek to wipe out Christianity throughout the Middle East. Christians are being beheaded, burned alive and torn out of their ancestral homes by militant forces which are gaining strength as they sweep across the world, and there seems to be no government or nation with the courage to stop them.
Meanwhile, the persecution of Christians intensifies in our own society. Assaults on the family come from every direction. Catholics and all Christians (including in America), are losing their civil liberties, livelihoods, homes, and even their own personal safety when they stand up against the secular governments which demand support of contraception, abortion and same sex marriage.
It is sobering to note that Paul VI predicted events which could relate to John Bosco’s dream. He did this with his own prophetic words in no. 17 of his 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae. The Pope warned Catholics that, if they should decide that artificial contraception is lawful, who will blame governments if someday they took those very means to solve social problems — and did it forcefully by “imposing their use on everyone.”
This is arguably the first time we have had this level of unchallenged, universal persecution of the Church since the time of Don Bosco.
Don Bosco’s dream also predicts resistance to devotions to the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady imaged in the dream by the Pope’s futile struggle to hook up his flag ship to the Two Columns. This is the case in our own day, too. We know there are many good Catholic Christians, but as Cardinal Ratzinger said: there “seems to be more weeds than wheat” in the field of the Church. In other words there are too many “Catholics” who receive the Eucharist while living contrary to the Church’s teachings on marriage and purity and who consider genuflecting and kneeling in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as pure naiveté. Often they are the same “Catholics” who make fun of teaching children to be modest in dress and behavior and ridicule others who they think are wasting their time on outdated superstitious practices like praying the Rosary.
We must honestly admit that the disappearance of religious devotion from the lives of the Catholic people, especially frequent “Holy” Communion, public adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and the Daily Rosary, has opened a path for evil forces to take hold. Undoubtedly, the worse of these evil forces–and the one which even the secular world views with anxiety– is the spread of pornography among both men and women. This wicked trend now includes unspeakable violence, the corruption or children, and international sexual trafficking. . Most forms of entertainment and fashions are infected by pornography in some way. It is the worst of many evil forces because it breaks down human dignity , devalues life, and corrupts the innocent, all of which gravely offends God.
Even our Synod looming in October could be the fulfillment of that part of Don Bosco’s dream in which the Pope calls his captains to a meeting prior to the “storm.” Synods come and go, but the 2015 Synod on the Family is arguably the first time such a gathering will take place in the midst of worldwide hostility against traditional Church teachings about family life. It would not be surprising if, after the Synod concludes, the world condemns the Church because she has proclaimed, once again, the truth of man-woman marriage, the protection of human life from conception to grave, and the belief that each human being is called by God to live the virtues of purity and chastity, no matter what their state of life and sexual orientation.
Pulling it all together: For the first time since Don Bosco dreamed his dream we have a confluence of all the main elements of his revelation: the wounding of a pope (John Paul II); the worldwide war between the Church and civil society; the struggle for the Church to regain devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to Mary, and the calling of a Church synod on grave human issues while a hostile world watches.
Victory in sight
The good news is — if we do what Don Bosco’s dream symbolically recommends, victory is in reach!
“True” devotion to Jesus in “Holy Communion” and to Mary must be revived. This means above all restoring the “Holy” to “Holy Communion” by limiting Holy Communion to those who adhere to the teachings of Jesus Christ as found in the Scriptures or the Sacred Tradition of the Church. Besides this, Catholics, especially priests, deacons, and religious must spend hours in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in restitution for the sins committed against the Eucharist.
Praying the Daily Rosary must become the new normal or ordinary practice of every truly Catholic family. Finally, women, especially, must imitate Mary’s virtues, such as faith, purity, chastity, and modesty in both dress and behavior.
If these things are done, Catholics will once again have courage to fight for truth and for the Catholic Church. And we will win! There will be peace throughout the sea.