Forty Dreams of St. John Bosco
Publication Date: February 1, 1997
For 60 years St. John Bosco experienced remarkable vision-like dreams, which were so lively and vivid that he would often awaken exhausted the next morning. The dreams frequently featured the actual boys at the Oratory; however, their value goes far beyond this, since they bring to life the realities of the Catholic faith in a way that is absolutely unique!
In these dreams St. John Bosco saw his boys facing fearsome and disgusting animals or involved in battles, banquets or journeys which would reveal to him the state of their souls. The boys eagerly anticipated the narration of new dreams, and for many boys the dreams resulted in the rectifying of bad Confessions, recovery of Sanctifying Grace, preservation from sin and even holy deaths. Catholics who may not be inspired by abstract spiritual writings will be able to see in these dreams the evil of impurity, disobedience, gluttony, pride, bad Confessions, sacrilegious Communions, etc., as well as the reality of Hell and the danger of flirting with temptations. They also will see the great power of good Confessions and devout Holy Communions, as well as the rewards in store for those who practice purity, obedience, temperance, humility, but especially for those who preserve their baptismal innocence - a precious gem far too little regarded by most Catholics.
We are truly indebted to those priests who recorded St. John Bosco's narrations of his amazing dreams. Readers of all ages will be admonished, entertained and inspired by these Forty Dreams of one of the greatest and most beloved Saints of the Church!
It seemed to me that I was standing on a hill, looking down on an immense plain that stretched away into the invisible distance. It was as blue as the sea in perfect calm, but what I was looking at was not water; it seemed like crystal, unblemished and sparkling.
Long and broad avenues divided the plains up into large gardens of indescribable beauty, in which were lawns, groves of ornamental trees, flowering shrubs and flower-beds with an amazing variety of ornamental flowers. What you have seen in gardens can give you little idea of how wonderful all this was. There were trees whose leaves seemed to be of gold, the branches and trunks of precious stones.
The book has some very good moral lessons on confession, temptation, and striving to lead a holy life.
This materialistic world that we live in, has infected our minds so much that we discount spiritual realities to some extent due to our lack of faith. Through his dreams, St. John Bosco make these spiritual realities become concrete. The devil is as real as a wild animal and the threat he poses is deadly as a mountain lion is deadly.
My favorite dream, the one that stands out the most, was not a warning but an invitation to be holy. It involved Dominic Savio in a quasi-heavenly place, but as Savio informs the priest, is not heaven exactly. The imagery in this scene fills you with wonder and is truly awe-inspiring.
With all this being said, about halfway through the book, I began each new chapter with a subtle dread, because the moral lessons started getting redundant, where the devil is some cat/elephant/snake/dog/horse, or some other thing, and some boys succumb to the evil thing and some don't. I breezed through the last half of the book because, at least for my part, I felt the lessons were learned.
Overall, I recommend this book to get a taste of what St. Bosco was all about. This method of lessons involving turning abstract spiritual ideas into concrete imagery, will absolutely help your faith. This book is also a source of inspiration. St. John Bosco is an important and holy saint to know about and his body is numbered among the incorruptible saints.