Dear Father Murphy,
I am new to your congregation, and wish to introduce myself, but I have no idea how I can possibly say in just a few words how I came to be a member of your congregation. But today, as I was writing in my dream journal after church, I felt the Holy Spirit urging me to send you this letter, which will give you a pretty good idea how God is working in my life:
Semi-Lucid Dream of February 21, 2016—Sleeping in Church
I become aware of sleeping in church. I’m sitting in a pew, on the right side of the church I attend now (the opposite side I usually sit in) leaning forward, my head resting on my arms, which are bent on top of the pew in front of me. I am in myself, yet I can also see myself, very close up, in the clear bright lighting. I’m wearing a red sweater, and am near the end of the right side of the pew. I’m sleeping with my eyes closed, and yet I can see myself and my immediate surroundings. I wonder about the fact that I’m sleeping so comfortably in church, and what people will think. But I also somehow know it’s okay, and feel more guilty about how this looks than worried I’m being judged, because I really don’t feel that I am being judged. Nevertheless, making an effort, I open my eyes and sit up. Just a couple of feet away on my right, two women are smiling and talking in the aisle, standing just below a window in the white wall, and I’m very glad to be here in my church.
I slept in the Den last night in order to try and lucid dream, but the latter goal was very relaxed, almost lazy. I haven’t had a single lucid dream in February, and have tried to get worked up about it, tried to motivate myself to make more of an effort, but I just haven’t been able to care all that much. My relationship with Jesus Christ is what matters to me now more than anything. Lucid dreaming will never be my number one priority again, for it is only one facet of my life in Christ.
Father Murphy gave the sermon today, and it blew my mind. But it had already come to me, even before he began speaking, that what my soul has chosen to give up for Lent – but which my self only just realized today in church – is lucid dreaming. That is what I am consciously giving up for Lent. I will not try to have a lucid dream again until after Lent. I felt the Lord was waiting for me to understand this, and showing me that my other Lenten intention, although good, was not really the important one, and the one He wanted me to embrace. So I felt very much at peace before the Sermon, and then very excited to hear what Father Murphy had to say, because I felt it was going to be good.
Then Father Murphy commented on the Gospel reading:
Verse Before the Gospel cf. Mt 17:5
From the shining cloud the Father’s voice is heard:
This is my beloved Son, hear him.
Gospel Lk 9:28b-36
He expressed how Jesus had given the three Apostles this experience to prepare them for the shock of His crucifixion, so they would be able to overcome its trauma. Immediately, I thought about how many of the experiences I have had in lucid dreams have had a similar effect on me. The workings of the Holy Spirit in my dreams was instrumental in helping my soul overcome the doubt, fear and spiritual pain that crucified my faith for decades, even though I never gave up on God or on longing to really fully believe in Him.
But then what Father Murphy said next gave me a thrill! He talked about how the disciples fell asleep when they accompanied Jesus onto the mountain, and also when they were together before he was arrested, and he said (I am paraphrasing) this was natural (for us humans) and that it’s not necessarily a bad thing, because when we fall asleep together, it means we are familiar and comfortable with each other. He pointed out how we don’t get angry when people close to us fall asleep in our presence, and certainly we don’t mind when a dog falls asleep at our feet, for it is a sign of absolute trust to make ourselves so vulnerable. Everything he said described how I felt in my dream as I became aware of being asleep in church, and wanting to wake up, but knowing it was okay that I had fallen asleep there. It was, of course, a kind of lucidity to both feel being in myself, and to see myself from the outside, sleeping and aware that I was sleeping.
So, I did not have a so-called full blown lucid dream last night, but it was better than that! Because of my dream, I felt my Lord talking directly to me through Father Murphy’s sermon, and yet it was Father Murphy’s sermon that inspired my dream in that timeless way where cause and effect show themselves to be one and the same thing – GOD.
End of Dream Notes
I am so very happy to have found my way Home, and to your church, Father Murphy.
God bless you!
Letter From Fr. Murphy
Thank you so much for sharing with me the positive effect of my homily. So often, we priests have no idea what results of the words that we deliver. I’m glad that I was able to confirm you in the Lord. I must admit that while I’m aware of God using dreams in the Bible to communicate, like the patriarch Joseph or Jesus’ foster father Joseph, I’m not aware of any systematic way of utilizing this avenue of communication with God. I wish you the best in your exploration of this fascinating aspect of our lives. I think that your note of caution about obsessing over it is wise. We just can’t force the Holy Spirit to communicate. The best that we can do is to make sure that we are available, that the avenues of communication are open through a good life. So often, this does involve regular sleep which it seems to me is in harmony with your special charism.
I look forward to your continued support in the parish. Welcome.
“In Christian theology, a charism (plural: charisms or charismata) in general denotes any good gift that flows from God’s love to humans.”