By Bro. Josefino Rona
Five consecutive daybreaks in February, 1974, were events that clarified and confirmed the mission that God had given me to undertake. This happened in my little nipa shack in the town of Tandag, Surigao del Sur. These daybreaks made another major turning point in my life. These were the daybreaks when the Lord defined to me my mission. These five early mornings also defined my vocation to remain a lay missionary instead of being ordained a priest.
Before this revelation, I was at the crossroad of making a decision as to what vocation I would have to follow: either to be ordained a priest or remain a simple layman. I had been out of the seminary for “regency” since 1969. Regency is a stage in the study for the priesthood by which a seminarian in his later years in theology is given an opportunity to go back to the world for a certain period of time and to work in the secular world or perhaps to assist a parish priest in a parish in order to consider one’s vocation seriously.
I was due to go back to the seminary to finish the final lap of my study for the priesthood and be ordained a priest. Bishop Claver in Bukidnon Prelature was willing to ordain me. My own bishop, Bishop Cinches of Surigao province in Mindanao, was waiting for my decision.
But those early morning daybreaks in February made the difference.
The night before the first day, I prayed to the Lord. “Lord, please wake me up early tomorrow morning. I would like to offer the Mass to you. I would like to ask two graces from You: one, an assurance of my vocation whether I’d be ordained a priest or I’d be married and remain a layman. Secondly, I’d like to ask from You graces and support in whichever calling you would want me to follow.”
The first morning
Early the following day at dawn, I was suddenly awakened. I looked at my alarm clock which I forgot to set the night before. It was still too early for me to get out of bed to prepare for Mass. So I went back to sleep.
At that instance I had a very vivid dream! It was more than just a dream! I knew I was conscious, yet I also knew I was still asleep. My soul was awake.
I saw Our Lord Jesus. He appeared to me as a boy of about 12 years old, clad in the garb of the Holy Child of Prague, the mystery of which was my personal and family devotion. He came beside my bed. I could see everything around me, my bed, the walls, the door, the table, and so on. He looked at me and said, “Pin.” He addressed me Pin, the way I am called by those dear to me at home. I felt He sounded like my father. “You wake up. You requested me last night to wake you up. So I wake you up now. You go to Mass. Offer it to Me. Today I am going to give to you two graces.” Then he vanished.
After Our Lord said those words, I fully awoke. I was amazed about “the dream.” It was too vivid for me to just put off. Anyhow I simply shrugged it off. It was just a nice dream, I thought. Nothing more.
I went to Mass and prayed for my two intentions. That same day, I received the confirmation regarding the vocation that I had to follow.
That midday as I was on my way to a barrio for my rural development program, as I was Technical Assistant to the Provincial Governor for education and the socio-economic development program of the province, I passed by the house of Choly, (for her house was along the way where I was going) just to say hello to Tatay Peking (Choly’s father) who was busy in his tailoring shop. To my surprise, Auntie Lilay (Choly’s aunt) and Nanay Tinay (Choly’s mother) were also there. They invited me to the house for snacks. To my surprise I received from them the confirmation of the message of the Lord. The three elders decided to give Choly to me in marriage. But I told them that I have to wait for my father to talk things over with my in-laws-to-be.
It was then I came to realize that I had to remain a layman.
The second morning
At about the same time, the following dawn, the Lord appeared again, the same boy of about 12 years of age in the same garb. But this time he was by my kitchen door, His crown on the chair beside my bed. He was leaning on the door pane with His head resting on His right forearm. His back turned towards me. He was sobbing. I could see his shoulder trembling and shaken from sobbing. The Spirit impressed on me the pain of Our Lord and what he wept about. But Our Lord uttered no words.
The vision lasted for about 10 minutes. Then He vanished. He said nothing to me; but I understood what He meant. He wanted to tell me that He has been in pain with the way the world has gone away from Him.
Then I came fully awake. What a dream, I thought to myself. Still I did not take seriously what I saw. It was simply a dream.
The third morning
On the third morning, at about the same time before sunrise, the Lord appeared again. This time he was standing right beside me while I was still lying in bed. His countenance was serious but filled with sadness and compassion. “Pin,” he said, “my soul is sad. I have given many graces to the world, but the world doesn’t seem to recognize Me. Beginning these days I am going to take away from the people little by little the graces I have given to them if this is the only way by which they will realize that I love them. Events will roll fast as I have ordained them already.” Then without speaking to me, but rather infusing in me the knowledge about the future, the Lord intimated to me about the coming events in the world towards the end of the century. He talked about the Middle East Crisis as the beginning sign of the times of troubles, the calamities, the depressions, the moral decadence, the fiscal crises in many countries and the many troubles facing the end of the century, the wars, and many more. He allowed me to see a big flood from a great river carrying all the debris of any kind of dirt along with the raging waters. It was like a preview that He made me understand in my soul about the days to come.
After He revealed to me the events to come, He vanished. I got up. This time I started to question myself. Were these dreams simply dreams or communications from the Lord? I still would not decide. I just took them as they were – just a series of dreams.
The fourth morning
For the fourth time, the Lord appeared early in the morning. He said, “Pin, you marry her (He meant Choly)…. On the first night of your marriage, do not use the powers of man and woman that I have given to you. You do penance to offer your whole married life and family to Me as a beautiful song offering to Me for the work I want you to do. Events will roll fast. Do not be afraid. I have already prepared the people who will work with you. Whatever you need you just come to me. “
Then he vanished again. This time when I woke up I started to put some serious consideration to “these communications.” I discerned that the Lord wanted something from me – a mission to fulfill. I felt in my soul that the Lord was serious about the task that He would like me to do. My life would be completely in His hands. He simply wanted me to be resigned for the sake of the missions and not to be afraid. He promised to provide me everything I would need to live decently. He wanted me to be free for His work. The instructions given me in this fourth morning were now to my person and to my family-to-be. (I was still single at this time.) They were vivid and clear.
The fifth morning
This time I saw Him in full glory. I, still in bed, saw him elevated about 5 feet from the ground right by the end of the bed in front of me towards where the kitchen door was. But I did not see the door anymore; for everything was covered with bright white light with some sparkles of gold. But the light, though very bright, was soothing to the eyes. There the Lord was in full glory and light. He was the same boy I had seen the four previous mornings, a boy of 12, the Holy Child of Prague, with a golden crown on his head. Full of comfort and assurance, He smiled at me, saying, “Pin, go, tell them all I love them! Tell them I am in them!” Then He disappeared in all that glory. It was a glorious sight! Yet His Presence impressed itself deeply in me.
Would I give credence to these visions and dreams or not? There was no way for me to get assurance as to how I would have to decide in my dilemma. I simply let the events roll by while at the same time I kept observing every circumstance that would lead me to a clearer understanding of the meaning of these phenomena.
This time I decided that the Lord had given me a mission to do, although at this time I did not know exactly what the mission would be and how the mission would be pursued. Eventually in the course of time I came to know what this mission has been and how the mission had to be pursued: that with my family I have to go to all peoples, everywhere and anywhere where the Lord would send me and to tell everyone that Jesus loves us all and that together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, He could be found present deep in the heart of all. And then from the depth of this gift of Divine Life and Presence grow into the full maturity of the intention of what God wants every person, the family, the community and all the peoples are meant to be.
My realization of this mission grew and surfaced through the years. And this thought of total human integration and development of man and humanity in God became the whole meaning of my being here on this earth.
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