Dream of the Great Ship - Interpretations of Saint John Boscos Dream of the Two Columns

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In the middle of the endless sea, soaring to the sky, are two solid, stout columns a short distance apart from each other. One is surmounted by a statue of the Blessed Virgin Immaculate, at whose feet hangs a large placard with the inscription: Auxilium Christianorum [Help of Christians].

The Prophetic Dream of Don Bosco and the Leadership of the Pope

The other column, far loftier and sturdier, supports a Host of proportionate size, and underneath it is another placard with the inscription: Salus Credentium [Salvation of believers]. From these two columns hang many chains with hooks and anchors in every direction to which ships can be attached. The water is covered with a countless multitude of battling ships.

The prow of each is fitted with beaks of iron that are like spears or arrows stabbing and piercing everything they hit. These ships are heavily armed with cannons, firearms, and incendiary bombs of every kind, even books, and all of them are thronging and chasing after a mighty ship, bigger and taller than any of them. The enemy ships try to ram this stately vessel, to set it on fire, and to damage it in every possible way while an escort fleet shields it. All the efforts of the Pope who captains the great ship are bent to steer it between those two columns against winds and waves that favor the enemy.

All the pilots gather around the captain and hold a conference, but the storm grows steadily more ferocious, and they are sent back to command their own ships lest they founder. When it again grows a little calmer, the captain summons his pilots for a second time as the flagship sticks to its course. The enemy ships keep trying in every way to block, damage and sink the great ship.

The Prophecy of the Two Columns

They bombard it with everything they have: firearms, cannons and incendiary bombs, the beaks of their prows, and with fire from books and journals which they try to hurl into the big ship. The storm becomes dreadful and smashes the ships of the Pope so badly that the enemies let out shouts of victory. The Pope strains every muscle continuing to steer his ship between the two columns as fierce combat ensues and all the enemy ships move in and violently ram his ship again and again.

Yet all the efforts of that multitude of ships are useless as their weapons shatter, their guns and cannons sinking into the sea. In a blind fury the enemy forces take to combating the big ship with their hands, fists, books, blasphemies, and curses.

Unscathed and undaunted, the flagship keeps on its course. It is true that at times a formidable ram splinters a gaping hole or wound into the hull of the great ship but immediately, a favorable wind breezes from the two columns and instantly heals the gash and the ship continues on its way. One blow gravely injures the Pope, who suddenly falls down.

Those around him immediately help him to get up, but he is struck by a second blow, falls again, and dies.

Another shout of victory goes up among the remaining enemies and indescribable rejoicing is seen on their ships. But no sooner is the Pope dead than another takes his place. The assembled pilots elected another captain so quickly that the news of the preceding captain arrives with the news of the election of his successor.

My Shopping Bag

The enemy loses courage as the new Pope overcomes every obstacle and routs all the tottering ships with his. Breaking through all resistance, the new Pope steers his ship safely between the two columns. Once in between them, he attaches the prow to an anchor hanging from the column with the Host. With another anchor he attaches the other side of the ship to the column with the Blessed Virgin Immaculate.

Then total disorder breaks out over the whole surface of the sea. Then many of the small ships scurry to the columns and attach themselves to those hooks. Some ships, which had gallantly fought alongside the great ship, are the first to tie up at the two columns. At the helm of the Church was the Pope who at one point in a fierce battle fell mortally wounded.

The enemies of the Church closed in sensing this was their moment.

John Bosco

In the vision two columns then emerged from the great ocean. He lived in the 19th century and poured out his life serving the Church of Italy in his own day. Don Bosco was the founder of the Salesian Society. He walked in a wonderful and intimate communion with the Lord. He also lived during a difficult time for both the world and the Church. Among the many accounts of his life, we read of a dream he shared on May 30, It comes to my mind frequently these days. The dream revealed the great threats facing the Church as she continues the redemptive mission of her Lord.

It also reveals the path which will lead her to victory over her enemies. Images of the dream have been painted by many of the faithful. The paintings themselves have a prophetic effect on the observer. In the dream two columns emerged from the great ocean. On one was a golden Monstrance with the Holy Eucharist exposed within it. The column was inscribed with the words " Salvation of Believers". Here are the words which purportedly reflect those actually spoken by the Saint in describing this dream:.

They bombard it with everything they have: books and pamphlets, incendiary bombs, firearms, cannons. The battle rages ever more furious. At times a formidable ram splinters a gaping hole into its hull, but, immediately, a breeze from the two columns instantly seals the gash. In blind fury the enemy takes to hand-to-hand combat, cursing and blaspheming. He is instantly helped up but, struck down 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.

Two Pillars Prophecy

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. Dreams and visions use symbols to communicate. We have been blessed with successors of Peter who are steering Christ's Church through those two columns, in the very, very troubled waters of our own age. John Paul, Benedict, and now Francis, have all engaged the age courageously, doing battle with those forces which oppose the Church.

His friend and successor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is living a form of monastic life, continuing the battle in focused prayer, after a wonderfully fruitful tenure of service. Now, Francis continues the mission. He stands at the helm of the Church.


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In its teaching on the Church, we find these words in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation.

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