My favorite Pope John Paul II story – it was nice to have a Pope that really cared about people instead of legalistic doctrines….
The Holy Father had a dream … this story is a parable, and few will understand its true meaning, I suppose. Yet it must be told. John Paul had this dream a long time ago, and it impacted him deeply, to the point where he felt compelled to share it years later.
There is great significance in the fact that the Pope wanted to share this story with the world. We’re talking about a man who lived through Nazi occupation of his home country. The horrors he saw were many, yet it was a dream that moved him, and gave him a special message for the world … a dream about an ordinary, homeless cat.
The Pope was touring Canada and about to make his first visit to New York. As the reporter asked him about his experiences in Canada and his upcoming visit to New York, His Holiness interrupted…
“I had a strange dream…”
It wasn’t a dream about the beauty of Canada. I suddenly found myself in a different city, and it was no longer summer, but winter, and snow covered the ground. It was a truly severe winter. Everyone was warmly dressed. I was happy I could walk on top of the snow, on avenues of white.
All my physical effort was spent on walking. To this day, the pictures of huge apartment houses on both sides of the avenue are burned in my mind, along with the doormen quickly closing and opening doors as though trying to prevent humanity and warmth from escaping.
Suddenly, walking through the snow, I noticed a brown cat emerge from a side street. I looked closer and to my surprise, I saw six small brown and white kittens were following this scrawny cat, hopping through the snow and struggling to keep in line behind her.
The mother cat looked back from time to time to see if her babies were all there, but her main concern was to reach a doorway nearby. She was trying to find a little warmth for herself and her children, before it was too late – but as soon as she reached the door, a man in a well-pressed uniform jumped at her with a broom and chased her and her babies away. I prepared to deliver a speech to the doorman. I opened my mouth and tried to complain and beg for mercy, saying, “Where is your American generosity? Where is your American good heart and fair play? Let them in! Let them in!”
The words were not heard.
I followed the mother and her kittens, now with pain in my heart and feeling the tremendous cold. To my left I saw a church building and thought, “There we will find help.”
I heard singing again and again – the idea occurred to me that it must be a Catholic church. The music grew louder, as though trying to convince God that they were praying to Him.
The mother cat struggled through the snow and up the stairs followed by her children who were sinking ever deeper into the cold dampness. I raised my head and saw a Jesuit priest chasing the cats off the steps. I was about to shout at this Jesuit, and give him an order to accept the cats — but again I could not be heard.
The mother cat and her children ran behind the church. From there, an aroma of food arose. Probably there was a kitchen there, I thought. But a second Jesuit appeared at the kitchen door and scared the mother and her babies away.
The mother and her children returned to the street and started walking north. They walked on the same side of the street as the church, and I followed them.
The mother and children reached another church, it was big and imposing looking, and made of red brick. A minister appeared at the door and said to the cats, “Go to the shelter, there is food for you there. We donate lots of money to the animal shelter, every year, at Christmas time,” whereupon he closed the door.
The mother cat and her kittens didn’t even meow. They walked uptown and gradually the nice buildings disappeared, together with the doormen. Instead, we saw drab, dilapidated apartments.
As the poor animals walked and the buildings grew shabbier and dirty, they walked more slowly and with greater effort. I knew that they could not survive much longer. Darkness began to envelop us.
Suddenly, a door was opened – not by a doorman but by an old, wrinkled woman in a cotton dress. She seemed to be trying to decide if it was too cold to venture out. She looked down and saw the mother cat and her kittens and said, “Oh little mother, come inside!” She grinned at the cats and I could see she had few teeth left, yet her smile was warm and filled with love. She gently ushered the mother cat and kittens inside, who jumped happily about because the warmth of the house embraced them.
For those with eyes to see and ears to hear, the message is clear. For the blind leaders of ‘faith’ and those who follow them, the message cannot be heard. For more, you can read “God’s Broker, The Life of John Paul II in His Own Words.”
If you have heard the truth of this message, spread it to others. This is what the Lord says.