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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Feast of St John Bosco

On May 30, 1862, Don Bosco recounted that, in a dream, he had seen an immense sea, on which a great many ships were arranged for battle, against a larger and taller ship. He also saw others which were defending the tall ship. Here are his words: "In the midst of this endless sea, two solid columns, a short distance apart, soar high into the sky. One is surmounted by a statue of the Immaculate Virgin, at whose feet a large inscription reads: 'Auxilium Christianorum,' ('Help of Christians'). The other, far loftier and sturdier, supports a Host of Proportionate size, and bears beneath it the inscription: 'Salus credentium,' ('Salvation of believers'). "The flagship commander the Roman Pontiff standing at the helm, strains every muscle to steer his ship between the two columns, from whose summit hang many anchors, and strong hooks linked to chains. The entire enemy fleet closes in, to intercept and sink the flagship at all costs. They bombard it with everything they have: books and pamphlets, incendiary bombs, firearms, cannons. The battle rages ever more furious. Beaked prows ram the flagship again and again, but to no avail, as, unscathed and undaunted, it keeps on its course. At times a formidable ram splinters a gaping hole into its hull, but, immediately, a breeze from the two columns instantly seals the gash.

"Meanwhile, enemy cannons blow up; firearms and beaks fall to pieces; ships crack up and sink to the bottom. In a blind fury, the enemy takes to hand to hand combat, cursing and blaspheming. Suddenly the Pope falls, seriously wounded. He is instantly helped up, but, struck a second time, dies. A shout of victory rises from the enemy, and wild rejoicing sweeps their ships. But no sooner is the Pope dead, than another takes his place. The captains of the auxiliary ships elected him so quickly, that the news of the Pope's death coincides with that of his successor's election. The enemy's self assurance wanes.

"Breaking through all resistance, the new Pope steers his ships safely between the two coiumns; first, to the one surmounted by the Host, and then to the other, topped by the statue of the Virgin. At this point, something unexpected happens. The enemy ships panic and disperse, colliding with and scuttling each other.

"Some auxiliary ships, which had gallantly fought alongside their flagship, are the first to tie up at the two columns. Many others, which had fearfully kept far away from the fight, stand still, cautiously waiting until the wrecked enemy ships vanish under the waves. Then they, too, head for the two columns, tie up at the swinging hooks, and ride safe and tranquil beside their flagship. A great calm now covers the sea."
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