Father Kowalski and Sister Francesca were saying the morning prayers. “You look tired, Father,” Sister Francesca remarked when they were finished. “Didn’t you have a good night’s rest?”
He smiled. “How could I sleep with all that racket?”
“Oh, you mean the rain?”
“It was more like a storm. It kept me awake for a while. I didn’t mind, though. As a boy I loved rain storms. I used to lie my bed and listen to the rain lashing against the window, the thunder crashing and the lightning illuminating the black sky. When the storm is raging, it reminds me of God’s majesty and sovereignty. The rain, the thunder and the lightning obey His commands.”
“Yes. All of nature obeys Him. Father, I got a call from the director of Crimson Clover Compassions. It seems like they are in need of Bibles and prayer books.”
“Thank you, Sister. I will make the announcement on Sunday before Mass.”
“Another thing. Mrs. Wilson’s father isn’t doing so well and she was wondering if you visit and pray for him.”
“Of course. Please let her know that I will stop by this evening after my walk. Was there anything else?”
“No, not at the moment.”
“Thank you, Sister Francesca. I’ll be here in the office if you need me.”
After she left, he settled back in the chair, his expression troubled and pensive. It wasn’t only the storm which had kept him awake. It was his last encounter with Clara. Their conversation was still fresh on his mind. She said a lot of things which got him thinking but which bothered him too. It felt strange having her call him Pastor instead of Father. She was very headstrong and unwavering in her faith. He admired that about her even though they were usually at loggerheads when it came to spiritual beliefs. He knew that if he wanted to have any interaction with her it would have to be outside of the church. It was clear that she had no intention of ever setting foot inside his church again.
The last time he saw her, she had been reading a book called, Divine Interventions. He wondered if she was through reading it. Perhaps he could ask her to borrow it. Surely, she wouldn’t mind. Would she be under the tree again when he went for his walk later. He found himself hoping that she would be. He was curious to see what other spiritual truths she would challenge him over.
Clara closed the shop, told her grandmother that she was going for a walk and left. As she walked down the sidewalk, heading for the open field, she wondered if she would run into Father Kowalski again. In spite of their differences in spiritual matters, she looked forward to seeing and talking to him. She wondered why someone as young and attractive as he would choose to become a priest instead of marrying and settling down with a Catholic woman. He could serve God in so many other ways. He could be a teacher at a Catholic School for instance.
She reached the field and went to her tree. This time, she didn’t sit under it, though. The grass was still wet from last night’s storm. It had rained so hard that it kept her awake for a long time but she’d didn’t mind. The air smelled clean and fresh now. Smiling, she took deep breaths and it was then that she saw him coming towards her. She ignored the increased tempo of her heartbeat, smoothed her hair down and adjusted her clothes.
“Hello, Clara,” he said smiling when he reached her.
“Hello, Pastor Kowalski.”
“How are you today?”
“I’m fine, thank you. And you?”
“Good, thanks. That was quite a storm we had last night, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, it was.”
“I love storms. I especially love the sound of heavy rain.”
She smiled. “Me too. I lie, snug under the covers and listen to the rain and the thunder. Even though my eyes are closed, I can still see the lightning. It’s so bright. I know there are people who are afraid of thunder and lightning but not me. They are from God.”
“Yes, they are.”
“You can’t miss the lightning when it flashes across the sky. It’s almost blinding. Jesus’ Second Coming is going to be like that. It will be visible for everyone to see.”
“Do you believe in the rapture of the church?”
“No. I believe that God’s people will be here during the tribulation just like the children of Israel were in Egypt when the plagues were unleashed. Remember what Jesus said to the Father about His disciples. He said, “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. The world hated them just like it hated Him and He warned them that they would face persecution, death, imprisonment, still He didn’t ask the Father to spare them these things by taking them out of the world. How can we be over-comers if there isn’t anything for us to overcome?”
“Many protestants use Paul’s words, we will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air to support their Rapture teachings.”
“This is at Jesus’ Second Coming. The resurrected and the living saved are caught up to Him but this is after the tribulation.”
“So, you believe that millennium takes place between the Second Coming and the final judgment?”
“Yes. What do you believe?”
“Amillennialism is more consistent with Catholic teaching. The Church rejects the the pre and post-millennium views.”
“What is Amillennialism?”
“It’s the belief that the millennium is the period in which Christ rules in heaven and on earth through His Church. This saints who reign and judge with Christ are on their thrones in heaven. During this time, Satan is bound and cannot prevent the spreading of the gospel. The strong man Jesus talks about binding in order to plunder his house and rescue people from his hold is an inference to Satan. This explains why after preaching the Gospel and the disciples rejoiced that even the demons were subject to them that Jesus testified, “I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven.” During this period, the world will not be converted to Christianity because Satan, although he is bound, he’s still able, somehow, to prowl about like a predator and attack souls.”
“Well, I agree that the redeemed will reign and judge with Jesus and that Satan will be bound. These two events will take place during the Millennium. After the Millennium, Satan will be loosed from his chains. These aren’t literal chains. His hands are basically tied because there isn’t anyone for him to tempt. The righteous are in Heaven with Jesus and the wicked are dead and buried until it’s time for their resurrection and judgment. Satan is released from his prison to lead the resurrected wicked in a final attack against God but they will be defeated. Satan, his angels and the wicked will be destroyed. And then, God will create a new earth.”
“I agree that this Post-tribulation view can be consistent with Scripture and Catholic teaching to because it holds that the rapture and Christ’s Second Coming occur together, after the tribulation and the Church Militant on earth.”
“And the time of Jesus’ Coming is unknown.”
“Yes. The last time we saw each other, you were reading a book.”
“Are you still reading it?”
“No. Would you like to borrow it?”
“Yes, I would.”
“I can bring it for you here tomorrow if you like.”
“All right. Thank you, Clara. Incidentally, if you have any Bibles that you don’t use, would you mind dropping them off to the church? We are collecting old/used Bibles and hymn books to donate to Crimson Clover Compassions.”
“I think I do and I will see if my grandmother has any as well. Could I bring them here when I bring the book instead of dropping them off at the church?”
“Sure. Here is fine if you prefer. Well, I must be going. Please say hello to you grandmother for me.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow. Goodbye, Clara.”
“Goodbye, Pastor Kowalski.” As she watched him walk away, she thought how nice it was that they were able to have pleasant discussion for a change. It was too bad that he couldn’t stay longer. Well, at least, she was going to see him again tomorrow. Her heart skipped a beat at the thought.
Source: Scripture Catholic;