The New Springtime

El Indigente was a simple diocese basking in the new springtime of the Church following the Second Vatican Council. The Vatican sent the diocese two liturgical experts to update the liturgy yet again for the 60th anniversary of the Novus Ordo Missae. The diocese would never be the same again.

Location: Jacksonville, FL

Monday, February 27, 2006

Chapter 12 - The Dream

Luvvy, George, and the Bish didn’t get home until late that night, as they celebrated their fantastic liturgical endeavor past midnight. Benny decided to pray until they returned. He had gone through an entire Rosary and a Chaplet of Divine Mercy, a Holy Hour, several novenas and part of the next day’s Liturgy of the Hours when the still celebratory trio returned on the front doorstep.

He could hear them whooping and hollering, and eventually, a drunk Sugarloaf saying, “Shhh! We’ll wake Benny up. He’s feeling under the (burp) weather.”

Luvmuffin said, “Later, fellas. I’d better be out of here.”

Sugarloaf said, “Good night, Luvvy. Great liturgy today.” George also wished him a good night.

George and the bishop went toward the library across the hall from the bishop’s chapel where Benny was praying. The chapel was very plain, with a simple cross on the wall and a futuristic metallic table set up in the middle. On top of this table sat an open Bible. There was no tabernacle in his chapel. In this room, the bishop often went either to say the day’s Liturgy of the Hours, from which he dispensed himself all but one hour per day, or to take a nap without being disturbed.

Across from the chapel, George went to the bathroom next to the library, but Sugarloaf was going to stop in the library to wait for George, when he noticed the light was on to the chapel. When he went in to turn off the light, he noticed Benny praying.

“Benny! How ya feelin’ buddy?”

Even though he had been praying, Benny seemed angry. He got up, turned to face Sugarloaf and said, “How am I feeling? How am I feeling? I just saw how you and Luvmuffin mocked the Mass and you have the nerve to ask that question?”

“Have you been drinking?” the bishop asked, missing the absurdity of the question.

“If the people wanted to see the football game, they could have had a Super Bowl party at home after Mass. There was no need to make a travesty of the worship of Almighty God.”

“Benny, you’re not making sense. You need rest. Get to bed.”

George walked in the middle of the conversation, “What’s going on?”

Bennie answered, “What exactly did God have to do with that keg party in the Cathedral?”

George innocently answered, “Yeah. Wasn’t that great?”

Benny said, “See what I mean?”

Sugarloaf, trying to make peace as much as he was trying to stand erect, said, “Look, Benny. I think if we talk this over in the morning, we’d all be better off. You know, we can’t be expected to pray all the time.”

“No, but actually praying during the Sacred Liturgy would be nice.”

“Look, Ben. Let’s just get a good night’s sleep and talk about it tomorrow.”

Distraught and, to be quite honest, very tired, Benny decided to put it to prayer and a good night’s rest, hoping his thoughts would be clearer in the morning. He said, “All right, Bishop. But tomorrow, before we talk, we say the Rosary first.”

“Atta boy, Ben.”

Ben started to walk out the chapel door, when he stopped and said, “Bishop, I have a feeling you should have listened to that little girl Angelica before you ridiculed her.” And with that, Ben went to bed.

George and Sugarloaf looked at each other with disbelief in their eyes. Then suddenly, Bishop Sugarloaf raised his hands and said so quietly that Benny couldn’t hear him, “Touchdown,” much to George’s amusement.

A little after 1:00 am, Bishop Sugarloaf got into his PJs and finally got in bed, quite ready to catch a little kip after a hard day’s celebration. Even Benny’s outburst didn’t ruin his night. He had just chalked up a successful liturgy, and the evening’s libation helped preserve the festive spirit. What’s more, the Sugar Daddy had a couple of grand riding on the Lions, and he could taste the profits.

While it was certain Benny was going to lose sleep over his problems, Sugarloaf was not. No sooner did his head hit the pillow than he announced his state of slumber. Bishop Sugarloaf was a notorious snorer, which might explain why George and Benny wanted to sleep on the opposite end of the hall.

He didn’t think he had been asleep for more than an hour when he heard a noise downstairs. Thinking it might be a burglar, he grabbed his baseball bat and crept downstairs. As he passed the chapel, he saw light creeping underneath the door. Did he forget to turn the light off? In all the hullabaloo, he probably did, although George was good at remembering things like that.

After a quick search of the kitchen and the library and making use of the facilities, he returned to the chapel to turn off the light.

When he opened the door, Sugarloaf didn’t recognize his own chapel. Benny and at least a half dozen of his friends had totally redone the chapel. First, there was a resplendent light throughout. “This lighting must be costing us a fortune!” he thought.

Next, he noticed that his own tastefully done décor and accessories had been overhauled and replaced. Front and center was a throne, and sitting on the throne was a young bearded Man wearing a crown and holding what appeared to be a little globe, which seemed to be hovering over His hand, which had a nasty gash in it. By His side bowing low were two large men with wings, wearing long, flowing robes, and whose feet were not even touching the ground.

Sitting in a chair by His side was a woman dressed in long flowing robes that covered her head, holding what seemed to Sugarloaf to be her own Heart, which had several things running through it, which looked like the swords that are used in drinks, except they were a little bigger and made of steel. The big men were almost as deferential to her as they were to the bearded Guy on the main seat.

Standing off to the side of this scene were two guys and what appeared to be a nun from before Vatican II. The nun carried a big crucifix and had more than a few dozen roses. One guy had a beard and nasty bags under his eyes, and he carried a huge set of keys around. The other guy was an old man, wearing a Benedictine habit and carrying a book and a staff.

Benny was kneeling in front of the chair like Sugarloaf found him earlier that night, and another big man with wings was levitating next to him, bowing with his forehead to the ground.

Now Sugarloaf was no theologian, but he guessed that these big fellas were Angels and these other fellas were Saints, and the bearded Guy in the main seat was Jesus Christ. It was either that or Benny had some STRANGE friends. Finally, Bishop Sugarloaf resolved that these were in fact the Son of God and the Angels and Saints. Faced with this stark realization, there was only one appropriate way for the bishop to act.

“Out! Everybody out!” Shooing everybody out, he said, “Mary, Peter, Benedict. Not you, Benny. We don’t worship you. You need to leave at once.” After evicting the friends of God from his chapel, the only three left in the room were Sugarloaf, Jesus, and Father Sheppard.

Now, Bishop Sugarloaf needed to speak to Jesus. “Lord, it’s great having You here, but, you know, putting You front and center - on a throne, no less! - this would offend some of our separated brethren. How about going in a closet, so I can talk to You in private when I get the…”

It was too late. Jesus already lowered His eyes and was walking out of the room. Benny gave his Ordinary a look of disgust mixed with sadness and resentment. Without uttering a word, he too left. Though Benny turned to leave, Sugarloaf wasn’t all too bothered, as he figured they would sort it out in the morning.

He turned to remove the throne and put some semblance of order back in his chapel. But when Benny left the room, the mysterious light went out, and Bishop Sugarloaf found himself in darkness again. “Jackass!” said Sugarloaf to himself. “He didn’t have to turn the lights off on his way out.”

He fumbled around for the light switch in the dark. It took him some time to find it. When he finally turned the lights on, he found the chapel was exactly as he left it before he went to bed that night, right down to the cobwebs in the ceiling. Bishop Sugarloaf was a bit spooked by this.

Needing to sort it out in his own mind, he went upstairs to Benny’s room. Just as he reached the door to knock, the door opened, and he saw the same light that he had just seen in his chapel. And again, the room was completely transformed.

Jesus was sitting on a throne, and Mary on a throne beside Him. But rather than just two Angels, there were dozens, not just men, but women and children, all floating and moving around without touching the floor. Two of these Angels grabbed a hold of Sugarloaf, who had started to walk toward the throne of Jesus. Even though they were floating in air, the bishop had never come across anyone nearly so strong before in his life.

Despite being held back by these two Angels, Sugarloaf could look on the scene fairly unimpeded. Before the throne of Jesus was Benny. He was kneeling on the floor with his forehead on the ground. The Angel who had knelt with him in the chapel was speaking to Jesus about his life. Sugarloaf knew that without being able to hear it.

There was another Angel that Sugarloaf recognized, only when he had seen her before, she was not wearing any wings. Before the throne of Mary was a little girl Angel, who looked just like that girl Angelica who asked him about the Consecration of Russia. She didn’t speak very long with the Virgin Mary before she got up from her throne to talk to Jesus.

Up till now, Jesus kept a stern look as the Angel was describing Benny’s life to Him. It took only a few words from His Mother, and the sternness changed to delight. They had a very brief conference, when Jesus called Benny to the throne, put His hand on his shoulder, and said some comforting words to him. At that, Benny wept and kissed His feet, and Angelica and the big Angel danced for joy.

Then Jesus and Sugarloaf looked each other in the eye. Jesus was stern, yet not angry. The look of Jesus was as a loving Father who was disappointed in His son. Sugarloaf was very confused. He always considered Jesus to be a close Friend, but more like a Pal than Someone who made demands on him. Does Jesus really expect much from him? He had so much to ask Jesus and Mary, who was standing by His side, looking very sad, but not diverting her eyes from him.

He noticed that the room was now empty besides Jesus, Mary, himself, and the two Angels. But now, he didn’t seem to care. All he wanted was a chance to ask Jesus what He wanted and why he, Sugarloaf - no, Michael, as he was now despising his nickname - was shut off from Him. But his mouth could produce nothing, and the Angels were keeping him from the thrones.

But the angels, who had until now been at least pleasant to see, were now hideous and smelly, and burned him to the touch. Now, rather than holding him, they were now pulling him away. He felt an immense heat behind him and heard wails and screams, as well as the laughter and mockery of these hideous angels.

Black smoke was now gradually replacing the faces of Jesus and Mary in his sight. Just before smoke enveloped his sense of sight, Mary held out a Rosary and Jesus said, “It is never too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary.”

Just as dark smoke had completely enveloped the scene, Sugarloaf sprang to a sitting position in his bed, having sweated through his PJs. He looked around and found his bedroom as he left it when he went to bed.

His heart was pounding, so there was no sense going back to sleep. Sugarloaf reasoned that the dream happened in part because he had neglected to attend to Benny’s needs that night. It was only 4:30, but he felt an overwhelming need to talk to Benny right away.

Sugarloaf walked down the hall and lightly tapped Benny’s door. “Benny?” He knocked again, but a little harder. A little louder, he said, “Benny?” Again, no response.

He started to walk away and let him sleep. But he stopped, thinking that if he explained the dream to Benny, he would understand. After a couple of moments, he pounded on the door and yelled, “Benny? Benny? I need to speak with you.” Amazingly, this did not wake up Benny, although George did come out to see what was happening.

Having sent George back to bed, Sugarloaf opened Benny’s door and knocked again, poking his head in the door. “Benny? I need a word.” When Benny didn’t react, Sugarloaf flicked the lights on and off, and then on again. But Benny didn’t wake up. Now desperate, Sugarloaf kept calling for him. George got up a second time and said, “What’s the matter, chief?”

Sugarloaf went to Benny’s bed with George looking on. He shook Father Sheppard, calling for him to respond, but he was not going to wake up. Now that Benny had entered into his eternity, it was time for Bishop Michael Tsygolov to start doing something about his.

** FIN **


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