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Cloud of Witness
Author: Nathaniel Slattery
Posted: Month of St. Joseph, 1st Day, Year of Our Lord 2023
From City of God by St. Augustine

I have not decided where to place this in a book, and I might never publish it anywhere else. But it is the fruit of requests to God for visions of Heaven for the sake of a fruitful Lent, to withstand these small penances I do, and from reading Butler’s Lives on St Vincent Ferrer. This was written on St Matthias’s Day, but it is scheduled for the first of the Month of St Joseph, for the sake of the minimal required articles. I trust no one has been harmed by waiting for it, my readers being few and patient. Here:

I see now, I do, with eyes of spirit because my eyes of flesh fail me. There is a great cloud of spirits flying to and fro in all manner of splendid colors. I see a great many red and a great many white, and the white supplicate the red, leaving a trail of particles which are also spirits in blue and yellow and green, and it is their delight to go to the red and thank them with great heartiness as a son does a father when reflecting upon the gift of his conception.

Oh the many thousands! Oh brilliant color! Oh innumerable hosts, the stars, the sands, it cannot be counted! But look above you and see these great constellations intermixing in a hierarchy most profound. There is no emptiness up there, but all the sky is lit with the glory of God, filled with martyrs and confessors and penitents and their angels!

Look, there goes the white soul of Vincent Ferrer, and how he cherishes that unknown red martyr who meritted his salvation! How the Precious Blood of Christ comes through the crimson spirit and becomes water to him! And what multitudes follow him! There are the former heretics, the Mahometans, and the dumb woman like a rainbow in his wake, and they split off to minister to us, shed like dew upon us, and we do not know their names. They labor for their number not yet added, here and below.

So, too, St John of God, St Thomas Aquinas, St Peter Damien, St Jerome fly by shedding the Holy Ghost, funneling It from above upon us.

There are the rare purple spirits, what majesty! For their fewness in number is well supplied by the great cloud of Blessed Company that surrounds them like nebulae, And there is St Louis, St Henry, King David. Oh how they minister to us and bring justice to the affairs of men!

Above this is the source of all their splendor, Our Mother and the Trinity, just above the bright light of St Joseph. Here my powers fail me, for the infinity of their dew is indescribable until it comes down to those hosts I have mentioned.

Why do we delay and linger on our journey? Do we not see that the road is interior and requires perfection? Are we not supplied to travel?

Come, let us fast, pray, and give alms, for the reward is great for these austerities, very great, much greater than their value even if all was exposed to the eyes of living men, and they, fueled by the Sacraments, are the means of travel. Let us be poor, hungry, and worthless to the world, with our hearts always ascended to Heaven, after the Beloved of our souls. Let us not be those dim lights who must be burnished in the fire for many a year before forming the earthy base of that Paradise, with no goods nor treasure to greet them in Heaven. Let us labor and die in the flesh to join the number of jewels at the centers of those clouds of witnesses.

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