Chapter 12 – The Dance of Destiny, “Joy”

Journey to Christendom
To order Journey to Christendom – The Freedom Dance, click the picture above to visit the book page on my author’s site at JoanandTherese.us.

The Dance of Freedom was joyful
Again
Conquering the Bridge of Reason and
Through the Dark Valley we survived
We were far from the Dark Forest
From where I had come

My saintly sister Thérèse and
My new friends
Danced on with a particular
Lightness
My destiny was at hand!

“How is it dear sister” I was
Energized now
“That this path of the Dogmatic Creed
Is so durable? So trustworthy?”
“It is neglected today, dare I say,
Rebuked!”

“For I would never have dreamed,” I
Ran with them up the mountain
“That the path of the Apostolic
Fathers could have navigated
The Bridge of Reason and the Dark
Valley, both”

“Oh you see, dear brother,” she
Slowed for me
“It is the very certainty that makes you
Free”
“You are free to act, others only to
Speculate”

“For so many in the Dark Forest
From where you came” she cried out
“Are slaves to useless arguments
And words”
“Always wondering if they are right,
Never free to dance”

“Or so often” she continued on
“They wear the chains of power
Driven arguments”
“Trying to prove, no less, to
Themselves their own thoughts”

“For they see” she finally stopped to
Look at me square
“All things in themselves, they are
Their own gods, you see”
“Lost to mortality and speculation,
But we have a certainty we trust”

“For no man is his own god!” her
Eyes lit like dancing flames
“His noble reason, and I speak with
Reverence to it
Is obscured by the ill-fated First
Philosophy of self”

On we danced
I was happy now, joyful
The young lady and her
Friends, brighter than I first
Thought

We started to slow down
Thérèse held something in her
Hand
A golden edged folder,
Glittering in the sunlight

I begged her
What was it?
She would not tell, and
Pointed to the palace below

There, below
Was the palace
I silenced myself, this was
More powerful than me

Down the open air steps
Came the King to greet me
The Logos, Love and
Reason, all in One

Behind Him came the Queen
Mother of the King, Mother of
God
She greeted me with an
Intensity of love…

She looked at Thérèse and
Thérèse’s eyes danced with light
It was then that I realized
I did not find them, why, they
Had been looking for me!

“Yes” the Queen and Mother bent
Down to me
“I was with you in the field, at the
Bridge, in the valley
To strengthen you, and help you
Home, you are home son”

The King approached me
I fell to my knees
My face to the ground

The Master of Reason, Love and
Creation
Smiled toward Thérèse and nodded
Thérèse brought him her golden
Edged folder

The folder was for me, it was
My destiny
Thérèse had had it all the time
But it was up to the King to
Decree my purpose for me

“My Mother the Queen”
“I ask you to wipe her tears, to love
Her”
It was for this that I created you,
No more pleasure can you bring
Me”

He handed me the golden edged
Folder
Inside was His request for my life
Sacrificed to the Heart of Mary,
For His almighty pleasure

I knelt before her, tears in my
Eyes
This was my meaning, my purpose
I was no longer lost, I swore to her
My life

And I looked to thank
My dear Thérèse and my new
Friends
Who had searched for me to the very
World’s end

JandT mont st Michel 2

The time has come to bring you some closing thoughts about this journey, the Dance of Freedom through the dogma and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. It is the great gift of my life. It revealed the purpose of my life. I did not discover the Trail of the Dogmatic Creed; my saintly friends brought me to it. I could never find my way out of the Dark Forest on my own. Our destiny is heaven, that glorious place of beatitude where God allows us to see his face and experience a life that is free from the slavery we bring on ourselves in this world. The modern mind and the world it created no longer believe in the truths of Catholicism, the truths that built the great civilization known as Christendom but which are significantly and eternally more important than it. These truths go beyond the realm of any earthly civilization and upward to the City of God. Those truths do not change even though the world does.

Here is something that astounds me, and when I take the time to be grateful to God, I need to shout out my joy. I feel as though the Freedom Dance led me more deeply into reality while at the same time opening my heart to the wonderment of a fairy tale. Are you surprised that I would speak of fairy tales? I agree with G.K. Chesterton, who wrote an entire chapter in his book Orthodoxy called “The Ethics of Elfland,” that:

“It seemed to me that existence was itself so very eccentric a legacy that I could not complain of not understanding the limitations of the vision when I did not understand the vision they limited. The frame was no stranger than the picture. The veto might well be as wild as the vision; it might be as startling as the sun, as elusive as the waters, as fantastic and terrible as the towering trees.” (Chesterton 2002)

We suffer much because we know that there is something better than what we experience in this life. We know that paradise must exist. We know this if for no other reason than that we suffer its absence. Our spirits soar with feet on the ground here in this suffering world but with arms and hands reaching to the reality of heaven. We have a reason to live, but even more importantly, we have a reason to die. We do not hesitate a moment to storm castle walls to free a country or to storm the gates of hell to free our neighbors. We are now free ourselves. This is what we call hope. Hope is the great cousin to faith, and with love, they all three sever and destroy the chains that bind us.

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Catholic Dogma is the true path of freedom; for, we know with certainty that our Fathers walked that way before us. Do not let modern “feel good” philosophers try to explain the meaning of the faith to you, when they have not a clue about it. We can know the path of our Fathers from Catholic Dogma. We know because the Catholic Church guarded this Tradition from the time of the Apostles to our current day. We see the lives of the martyrs and saints, and we reach for that.

Imagine that you find yourself stranded in the middle of a minefield, a terrifying place to be. There are people on the outside of the field who managed to make it out before you. They are yelling at you and telling you exactly where to step so that you may follow the sure path to safety that they took. Would you follow their advice? Alternatively, would you simply yell back to them that you wish to find your own way? Certainly, you will accept their dogmatic declarations and the very objective truths they proclaim about where to step and not to step.

This is the crux of the matter. It is humbling to take directions, but it is also quite freeing. On the Trail of the Dogmatic Creed, the true path of Christ’s teachings in his Church, we take the sure hand of Christ himself. We are free to play and dance out of the field with our marvelous friends, the saints, without worry. Our Father is leading the way, the way opened for us by the sacrifice of his only Son, consubstantial with the Father and the Holy Spirit. The children can play as they journey out of the minefield, for they trust the hand of him who leads them.

However, I do not become presumptuous on this path. I could easily go astray and step on a mine. However, when I am on the sure path of Catholic Dogma, then I am no longer anxious. I do not need to speculate.

MJTDC 1789

Soon after the retreat, my wife and son left to visit her relatives. I was alone for two weeks. I was a new person at that point and began to retreat from the culture of the modern world as one retreats his hand from a hot stove. I decided to turn off my television while they were gone; for, who can follow the path of freedom while continuing to indulge in the filth coming from Hollywood?

Soon after they left, I was sitting at home reading during the evening when a desire overcame me to go to the local Franciscan Chapel and pray before the Blessed Sacrament. It was around 11:00 in the evening. I left to go pray and thought to myself that I would pray for at least one hour each day for as many days as possible. This was a clear sign from Our Lady that I should make regular visits to the Blessed Sacrament. My enthusiasm remains to this day, and I continue to go regularly to visit the Blessed Sacrament.

Six months later, a career opportunity took us to St. Louis, where we lived for the next eighteen months. The intention was for this to be a permanent situation, but the headwinds in the economy finally stalled things. We moved right back to the home we left, but never sold, in the Chicago metro area. However, while I was in St. Louis, I had the blessing of working not far from the large cathedral of St. Louis. In that cathedral was a special chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. I would go to the noon Mass each day and then pray before the statue of the Virgin before returning to work.

A couple of months before the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25, 2008, I began St. Louis de Montfort’s preparatory spiritual exercises for re-consecrating myself to the Virgin Mary. I made this same consecration to her over twenty years earlier, not long after my conversion in 1984. On the day of my re-consecration in St. Louis, I went to Mass and later sat alone before the Virgin Mary’s statue in that magnificent cathedral. I recited to her my renewed consecration and stayed to pray for another twenty minutes. I felt an incredible peace when I left, as if I were now home, at Mary’s feet, to fulfill my destiny. This segment of my journey was ending in a way that mystically, though with a very real material manifestation over the years, brought about the fulfillment of the first act of consecration I made to her many years earlier. Now, a new segment would begin.

Three days later, I lost my job. Things in the Kingdom of God work like that. It was time to move on; there was no more need for me to be in St. Louis. It was almost as if Our Lady wanted me to make my consecration renewal specifically in her chapel in the cathedral of St. Louis and arranged that I should be there to do so. Now it was time to go back home.

It is important to note that the Church dedicated this cathedral to yet another great French Saint. You can see how it is that I now look back over the landscape of my journey and see that my first trip to France after high school was simply an introduction to a mystically rich land and the beautiful, edifying saints raised there. When you put yourself in the hands of Mary, you can expect wonderment. We no longer belong to the city of man; we are here to follow Our Lady on the road to the City of God.

Our Lady of the Sign

It was only a month after this renewal in Our Lady’s chapel that I had the experience of being drawn to the church of St. Stanislaus Kostka in Chicago, the time when I first felt the presence of Mary there. It was only one more month after that that I received the notification that the Cardinal Archbishop planned to unveil the beautiful Iconic Monstrance of Our Lady of the Sign, Ark of Mercy at that church. You know the rest of the story from there. We moved back to our home, and I began making my regular, weekly visits to the Icon and the Blessed Sacrament she holds.

I would like to close this book with one more story. While visiting the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy one day, a couple of months after the unveiling of the Icon, I stayed to adore the Holy Eucharist and to pray with Our Lady. It was late at night on a cool early-fall evening. I believe I was the only person in the Church, except for the security guard. While praying, I had the most wonderful and peaceful contemplative image come into my mind. I was immensely happy yet somewhat sad, all at the same time. I was deeply at peace, yet almost had tears coming down my cheeks. This contemplative moment moved me, and I will never forget it; for, Our Lady spoke to me by this prayerful image. Let me share it with you.

I climbed the side of a mountain. Behind me was a vast plain, and on that plain at some distance was a small city in flames. Turning to face it, I could see the smoke rising and understood that this city was in turmoil. Fighting, hatred, and riotous looting raged there. Chaos ruled that city. I also understood that this represented my former spiritual home, the place where my spirit lived before meeting Our Lady and beginning the Freedom Dance on the Trail of the Dogmatic Creed. The Revolution, the dark spirit of evil that parades today as a deadly imitation of authentic freedom, laid waste to my old spiritual home. That was distant now, far down the mountainside and on the distant plain, but it made me sad to see it, for many reasons, I suppose.

Suddenly, an elderly man came up to greet me out of the trees at the top of that mountain. He was torn and tattered. Injuries contorted his body; he walked slowly and in pain. He looked weary as one who lived a very hard life. However, the smile on his face and the look in his eyes were so warm and friendly! He knew me! He shook my hand and smiled with a twisted mouth, one that suffered many illnesses and injuries itself. He looked like a man who finished his journey, a man who was done. He fixed those very familiar eyes on me. He wanted me to recognize him. He smiled lovingly into my eyes and then did something very unusual. He thanked me and wished me well. He told me that he did all that he could for me up to that point and that he could now do no more. It was now time for me to go on, to go with the others, my new friends, to the land on the other side of the mountain.

Sadness enveloped me as I suddenly understood that he was I; he was the old man, the old self, and it was time for him to die. He was done. The struggles in my life, the heartaches that ripped at my soul over the many years, and the dreadful sufferings were all he offered. He could do no more at this point than die. For the land on the other side of the mountain was not a place he could go. Yet, he was so happy that I could move on! “You will not see me anymore. I can do no more,” he told me, and it brings tears to my eyes to think of him. I wanted to stay with him for a while. I hugged the old man. With tears in my eyes, I heard a voice, and, looking up, I saw the Mother of God standing there with my friends who so lovingly sought me out and searched for me in that lost land. They were all there. It was the reality of my soul. There we stood, the old man, my new friends, and me.

JTPF10

I looked down the valley where the smoke still rose. This seemed to be good-bye forever to that land and, more poignantly, to that old man who stood there smiling with sadness. I turned to be with my friends, and the Mother of God pointed into the distance on the other side of the mountain. There was another plain, beautiful and rich looking, filled with families, friends, and people from all over the world. They walked and danced through the grasses, rivers, and flowerbeds. They, too, had saintly friends leading them on the path of life.

I ran down that mountainside as the old city, the City of Man, disappeared from view. Warm sunlight blanketed the fields as we made our way toward a place I just began to sense and see in the distance. It was a radiant city, filled with light and joy. It was the City of God, the true Christendom, the land where God’s love rules and governs all. It is a place of goodness, virtue, and honor, characteristics I never knew in the old City of Man.

Filled with delight, I walked and danced with my happy troupe toward that glorious place just coming into full view.  Then, I saw something truly magnificent. Those who approached the Great City appeared so drawn to its beauty that they broke from their stride to run toward it, leaving their saintly friends behind them. The gates opened, and a throng of joyous souls greeted them. There was a joyous celebration festival inside.

I received this contemplative image that night as I sat quietly in the church praying. Only a week or so later, I was back in the church again, and this image came back to me. This time, as I walked with my friends in the same beautiful field that leads to the City of God, the Mother of God walked beside me and spoke to me. She said, “If you have something you feel you need to say, you should probably think about saying it.” I thought sadly about how I failed for so long to speak of the new life that Christ granted me, how for so long I lacked courage to speak because the City of Man is so loud, rude, and intimidating. I thought of my heart and the uncertainty of my health. I thought of many different things. Most of all, I thought, and spoke to her, “Yes, I believe I do have something I would like to say now.” Not long after that evening, I wrote the humble prose called The Freedom Dance, the one that I shared with you in this book. About six weeks later, I started this book not knowing that the Freedom Dance would be the storyline.

As I complete this writing, I feel immensely invigorated. I feel at peace. This story developed over twenty-four years; though, I wrote it in only a short time.

The Trail of the Dogmatic Creed of the Apostolic Fathers, the holy Traditions, Scriptures, and Magisterial teachings handed down to us from the Apostles through the Holy Roman Catholic Church, is the joyous path to freedom. You have many Heavenly friends waiting to dance with you to that great City of God. I hope to make it across the rest of the beautiful plain and finally run toward the gates myself with my family and friends. I hope we all see each other there.