One night, I had the strangest dream. The busyness of my subconscious mind might have had something to do with the fact that I was struggling to breathe. Too much dirt from a dusty trail ride the day before, I guess. Nothing a breathing treatment, a shot of steroids, and antibiotics couldn’t begin to mend but in the midst of it all I was truly frightened.
In my dream a panel of elitist, religious leaders were judging me. They were dressed to the hilt; red robes, ornate fasteners, fancy hats, scepters and the like. Interestingly, the majority of them were women, older women with gray hair and pierced faces. Their leader kinda looked like my Grandmother on my Dad’s side. I don’t know what that was all about. In an instant their looks alone could have snuffed out the weak. Somehow, I stood strong. My faith spoke volumes for me. Upon my faith, I rose to the challenge.
They spoke not a word but I knew what they were thinking. “You know nothing. How are you qualified to work for God?”
“Who are you? I asked. “What are you… if the most of what you have is knowledge? I stand before you strong in my faith; simple faith which knows beyond everything it matters not how much I know. I am weak and that makes me strong. I am without papers or proof of degree. I am like a child, filled mostly with faith and backed by friends and the internet who have knowledge when I need it. What good are you with more knowledge than faith? Upon what do you base your knowledge, on information handed down through time, on what is concrete, like mathematical equations which prove you have the power to memorize fact? I have faith, faith in God who created all things, even you and the knowledge you proclaim.”
So, who is the wiser? Who knows more? Who knows best? Those with more knowledge than faith or those with more faith than knowledge?
I awoke from my dream, frightened yet further emboldened. I have my faith and my love for God. No one can take that from me. No matter how hard those with book smarts try to convince me that what I DON'T KNOW makes me stupid… I am not.
To those people I say... You think I am trapped by simplicity, when in fact, I am more free than you to simply believe. I know the heart of the truth. The truth is I am no better than you and you are no better than me. I feel sympathy and respect for you at the same time. I can’t know all that you know. I know what I know, and that is God; the one, true God, who loves us all and has wonderful plans and specialized work for each of us. God needs you and your form of faith and knowledge. God needs me, my faith and knowledge too."
During Holy Thursday Mass, Pope Francis washed the feet of twelve regular people. They were, as a matter of fact, inmates. He called them disciples. He asked the whole Church to pray for him that he might be cleansed of his filth and made more of a slave to the people. My respect and love for Pope Francis continues to grow. I see others in our Church all hung up on their robes, rings, scepters, fancy thrones and hats. Those things do nothing for me or for anyone else, really. The simple faith of true servants is what Jesus wants and needs most to reach the hearts and souls of the people.
If I had listened throughout my life to those who told me I didn't know enough to be good at what I do, I would have given up long ago. Those who said I have no voice because I was too small or insignificant were, quite simply, wrong. Miraculously, I have remained strong in my faith, simple faith which tells me, I’m doing something right. (Nice try, evil one. You never give up, do you?)
My dream, my nightmare, reminded me, I’m alright. I'm doing my best and I feel God's love for me in that. I trust in God more than human nature. There is no need for fancy things, regalia, power or greed. God desires the faith of a child, willing spirits who doubt for nothing and live to serve. I know human nature is what it is and will always be. If we handle ourselves well we can use our abilities to lead others to faith. But if we choose to stand in the way of God's love, the damage can be great. We must be careful, cautious and on the look-out for anything which causes divisions between ourselves, others and the love of God. Inherently, we know what is true, right and good. God is bigger than anything human… no matter what the certain humans in charge may want us to think.
You shall have no other gods before Me.
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?