I had an interesting dream during the night, one that gives me both encouragement and warning in my vocation.
As is very common in my dreams I was both looking for something and carrying some sort of container. This time I was carrying a pair of snowshoes covered in bees. I had the idea that the snowshoes were like the frames that fit into an artificial beehive, and I was searching around to put them back where they belonged. As is uncommon in my dreams, this search was indoors. I was in what I thought in the dream was one of our friaries, but I realize now that it was also Freeman Hall at Connecticut College, the basement of which I was living in during the fall semester of 1992. It's where I was living when I was baptized, received my first Holy Communion, and my Confirmation. My search in the building was cut short when I discovered a dead body partially entangled in a heavy curtain and put down the snowshoes to call 911. That's what I remember. I think I woke up after that.
I think the snowshoes are my vocation; baptismal, religious, priestly, the whole thing. Snowshoes let someone journey safely over an otherwise impassible surface, and so it is with my vocation and the otherwise impassible road that is this world and my own life born into it. The snowshoes were covered with bees because my vocation is supposed to be something that is industrious and bearing of sweetness. But for that to happen, I have to search out how to make it work within the particular context of my religious life. I have to seek out where the snowshoes fit into the beehive that is somewhere in the friary. In this quest, I cannot be distracted by the works of death that tangle us up in the veil--that is, the flesh. I must care for those who come to be injured or even spiritually dead by them, myself included, but I can't be distracted from seeking how to make my own vocation fruitful with the industry and sweetness God wills from it.
A Franciscan dream for Easter, I think:
On this, your night of grace, O holy Father, accept this candle, a solemn offering, the work of bees and of your servants’ hands, an evening sacrifice of praise, this gift from your most holy Church. (Exsultet, new translation)
The Lord gave to me, brother Francis, to begin to do penance: for when I was in sin it seemed bitter for me to see lepers. And the Lord himself led me among them, and I had mercy on them. And returning from them, that which had seemed bitter was changed into sweetness of soul and body; and after that I lingered for a little while and then left the world. (St. Francis, Testament)