A couple of years after my conversion I felt like God was calling me to the priesthood. I didn’t want to be a priest, I had other plans. It wasn’t the vow of poverty that bothered me, I am used to having very little and actually I prefer it that way. Chastity, well that one would be harder, I have always wanted to get married. I would be willing to give that up for God, if I really felt that was what He wanted. The last vow is the one that upset me the most: obedience. I would have to go where they told me and do what they told me. I had issues with that. Big ones. As you know, if you follow this blog, I spent a long time in prison, and I cherish my freedom. I wouldn’t want to give it up to anyone or anything. Besides I had dreams that had been put on hold for long enough. It was time for me to live! My dreams weren’t bad, I wasn’t wanting to go have orgies with strippers and smoke meth, I just wanted to serve God in my own way. What I wanted was a sailboat. I wanted to sail around the world. Go to all the places I had dreamed about seeing; the British Isles, Paris, run with the bulls in Spain, see Florence, Rome, and most especially Venice. Go to the Holy Land, and Egypt. Sail around Africa. So much to see in India and Indonesia. Then get lost in the South Pacific. All the while I would write, take pictures, work on my art. It was a beautiful dream, and I wasn’t ready to give it up and go back to school, then to spend the rest of my life in service. I would glorify God, but in my own way. Strange how God works.
As I was struggling with this I had a dream. It was an odd dream, because I knew I was dreaming, something that seldom happens with my dreams. I was a child and had a security blanket. I never had a security blanket in real life. I was clutching it to me tight, because God was trying to take it away from me. He was pulling but he more He pulled the more I fought back. I was crying and screaming, and all the while God is talking to me in a very soft voice. “Please, just listen to me.” He was saying. I wouldn’t listen. I was fighting to hard. Finally, I realised He was telling me to look at it, to look at my blanket. I did. It was grey and rotting. It was slimy and covered in maggot, and in all the struggling I had got he grey slime and maggots all over me. I was covered in death and rot. That woke me up.
I knew what the dream meant. The blanket was my dreams. The rot and maggots represented the sinfulness of my dreams. Not that sailing around the world is sinful, but that doing what I wanted instead of what God wanted is sinful. He had something else in mind for me.
The dream got me. After a little more prayer, I decided to give up my dream, and instead go with God’s dream for me. I let go of my life and really gave it to God. I had thought that I had already done that, but what I had really done was given up sinning. That wasn’t what He wanted. He wanted me to do the work He wanted me to do. There is a difference. It was the hardest lesson God ever taught me.
Of course, things didn’t go smoothly. God works with what He has, and I was still filtering what God was telling me. Turns out the Church doesn’t take felons, or at least felons with my charge. The priesthood has an image problem right now and so they are very picky on who they take. But by looking into it, I found the Franciscans. While I am not a priest, by trying to become one, I found where God was trying to lead me. God does work in mysterious ways.
Has God ever asked you to give up anything you thought was good? Has He ever spoke to you in dreams?