The cloisters were becoming cold now as the light began to fade. Frank’s breath was visible as he sat on the bench thinking. He was absentmindedly fiddling with his rosary which was making a clicking noise each time the different parts clacked together. Frank was nervous. In fact he was cold and nervous. He’d never been convinced of a cassock in winter and sitting out in the cold like this was… Well mainly it was making him need to go to the toilet.
He looked back over his shoulder and he could see all of the other priests standing inside at the windows looking out at him. They looked warm in there. In fact Frank could see that the windows were misting up. A few of them were giving Frank encouraging signals, the odd thumbs up, a little wave. But most of them looked worried too. In fact they mainly looked worried and a bit excited.
Frank had always hoped to hear the voice of God. He’d kind of always expected it to appear at some point in his life. When he’d first heard about God as a boy something had clicked in his universe. The world made sense when it had happened and from then on he’d always known he had been called. But he had always hoped for something a little bit more direct. He’d actually always wanted something a bit more concrete. By the time he went to seminary school he’d started to think that perhaps he would have to prove himself worthy. That he’d have to dedicate himself to God before God would show himself. That, Frank realised, was faith.
At seminary Frank discovered that the way the church dealt with the lack of a speaking God was to teach the young priests that the warm feeling of comfort that had drawn them into the church was the voice of God. That God’s influence was more a feeling than a walk-on part. At that stage Frank’s hope that God would personally talk to him took a hit, but he was still young and he had hope. Over the years that hope had faded. Frank had been teaching seminary for thirty years now and had dispensed the same message. And yet the hope had never quite gone away.
And tonight God had spoken to Frank. God’s voice, sounding exactly as he’d imagined it would had boomed across his brain at dinner. It had told him to stand up and leave the table. And it had told him to walk out of the main building and into the cloisters. It asked him to take the key from the inside side of the door and lock the door from the outside. And then it asked Frank to walk to each of the doors around the cloisters and do the same. And when he had done that God asked Frank to sit down. To sit down where he was sitting now. And wait. To wait for God to reveal himself.
About twenty minutes ago God had arrived. And while Frank had always expected to hear God he’d never expected to see him. And he certainly hadn’t expected him to be a twenty foot long red dragon.