Around 11:35 P.M., I awoke with this dream:

The late morning sun glints upon long rows of black-suited priests wearing Roman collars and parading down the tree-lined-boulevard. Their stooped posture, shuffling gait, and sunglasses speak of exhaustion. Yet, they march, at times, grimacing. Crowds overflow the curbs freshly swept for this event. Afterwards, many restaurants will serve buffet lunches for everyone.

This curious dream gave me pause. The color black, associated with mourning and death, scintillates beneath the sun’s glare; it produces an almost ghoulish effect upon the black-suited priests wearing Roman collars. Despite tailored-made suits contrived to give them youthful appearances, they seem spiritless, but willing to participate. Who organized such a march, marshaled the crowds to watch, and prepared the festival afterwards is unknown. No one questions the appropriateness of the demonstration. It just is.

Yet, the dream seems to be a parody on priestly functioning: Instead of evidencing conversion of heart through prayer and humble service, the priests seem bent upon display and congratulations.

On a deeper level, however, the black-suited priests wearing Roman collars suggest my own aping for the priesthood, when much younger, even leaving the Catholic Church for one that would ordain women. Such foolishness bore no fruit, especially since my recertification with the National Association of Catholic Chaplains was due several years later.

 Not that I’ve not uncovered my own priesthood in subsequent years, one of stillness and learning, for which I’m most humbled.

Whatever the dream’s actual intent, however, there will a banquet with choice foods and juicy wines, as found in the prophet Isaiah, for those who choose as to participate.