Dream (Vision) of Heaven: St. John Bosco

We have here a dream of St. Bosco that seems to tell of a natural side of Heaven.

Actually, what he was told by St. Dominic Savio in the dream was that what he was seeing was not Heaven. (I think what this means is that St. Bosco, since he was still mortal, could not behold the Beatific Vision but was seeing other wonders of Paradise.)
americaneedsfatima.org/heaven-the-hope-of-our-souls.html - link to St. Bosco’s vision.

Now this vision made me wonder (especially b/c of the commentary at the end). Is everything he is seeing - meadows, flowers, buildings - real things of Heaven? Material/natural?

Or is all of this only symbolic as the commentary at the end seems to suggest? (Though I do not think so. Please correct me if I am wrong about the commentary’s suggestion, as I do sometimes misread things with my ADD and all.)

One would think that God might make his abode a place of beauty, with flowers and trees and buildings more beautiful than anything on earth, since God loves beauty or the things of creation, and would perhaps give us this. Sure we don’t need it with the Beatific Vision, but that doesn’t preclude the idea of God giving us all this.

After reading the vision for yourselves, the part I really want you to focus on is the following.
"Summoning my courage, I replied, “I am shaking because I don’t know where I am.”
“You are in the abode of happiness,” Savio answered, “where one experiences every joy, every delight.”
“Is this the reward of the just?”
“Not at all! Here we do not enjoy supernatural happiness but only a natural one, though greatly magnified.”
“Might I be allowed to see a little supernatural light?”
“No one can see it until he has come to see God as He is. The faintest ray of that light would instantly strike one dead, because the human senses are not sturdy enough to endure it.”
from americaneedsfatima.org/heaven-the-hope-of-our-souls.html

What does it mean at the end when it says, “In this vision, through symbols, the saint was only shown natural aspects of heavenly happiness. He was not able to contemplate the essence of heavenly happiness, which is the beatific vision. Even the most beautiful material things are only symbols of spiritual things; and the pleasure they procure us cannot compare with spiritual pleasures” ?

In other words, what does St. Dominic mean when he says that they experience every joy and every delight here, if the ‘natural’ things being seen are only symbolic in the dream (Once again, I’m not sure I believe this interpretation.)

Are there any other saints you guys could point me to who have this kind of ‘natural’ vision of Heaven? (gardens and large homes and such things)

II. Ways of Coming to Know God

31 Created in God’s image and called to know and love him, the person who seeks God discovers certain ways of coming to know him. These are also called proofs for the existence of God, not in the sense of proofs in the natural sciences, but rather in the sense of “converging and convincing arguments”, which allow us to attain certainty about the truth. These “ways” of approaching God from creation have a twofold point of departure: the physical world, and the human person.

32 The world: starting from movement, becoming, contingency, and the world’s order and beauty, one can come to a knowledge of God as the origin and the end of the universe.

As St. Paul says of the Gentiles: For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.7

And St. Augustine issues this challenge: Question the beauty of the earth, question the beauty of the sea, question the beauty of the air distending and diffusing itself, question the beauty of the sky. . . question all these realities. All respond: “See, we are beautiful.” Their beauty is a profession [confessio]. These beauties are subject to change. Who made them if not the Beautiful One [Pulcher] who is not subject to change?8

33 The human person: with his openness to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom and the voice of his conscience, with his longings for the infinite and for happiness, man questions himself about God’s existence. In all this he discerns signs of his spiritual soul. the soul, the “seed of eternity we bear in ourselves, irreducible to the merely material”,9 can have its origin only in God.

34 The world, and man, attest that they contain within themselves neither their first principle nor their final end, but rather that they participate in Being itself, which alone is without origin or end. Thus, in different ways, man can come to know that there exists a reality which is the first cause and final end of all things, a reality “that everyone calls God”.10

35 Man’s faculties make him capable of coming to a knowledge of the existence of a personal God. But for man to be able to enter into real intimacy with him, God willed both to reveal himself to man, and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith.(so) the proofs of God’s existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason.


All natural good is a testament to and indeed symbolic of God’s goodness. There are certain things that cannot be described, however. Especially they cannot be described to a person who has never experienced them.

I think this is the point of these visions. Since it is hard to explain how the Beatific Vision will be the fulfillment of your every desire, in St. John Bosco’s vision is the fulfillment of many people’s desires…beauty, wealth, loving reunions, etc.

While all of these things do likely exist in heaven (as does natural beauty here on earth) they promise and offer a glimpse of what the Beatific Vision will be like…and thus are symbolic.

I had read about St. John Bosco’s vision of hell, and some others, but this is the first time I have even heard he had one about heaven.

St. John Bosco is one of my heroes. I’m glad you took the time to mention it, since it should be the goal of us all to be with God, in paradise.

Glad to bring St. John Bosco’s dream of Heaven to light :slight_smile:

And yes, I have read St. Bosco’s dream of Hell. Utterly horrifying.

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