Tag Archives: dreams

Dreaming the dreams of God

I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth…
Isaiah 65: 17

 The vision of a new creation, in Isaiah 65: 17-25 and in Revelation 21, has inspired me for many years.

We need a vision of newness, of something that is a real change, of something that shakes up our world. We need to dream, to imagine the world as God does.

I create Jerusalem to be a joy…
Isaiah 65: 18

 But Jerusalem today is not a joy – especially the Palestinians. They and the Israelis often live in mutual fear and suspicion.

No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there,
or the sound of crying…
Isaiah 65: 19

 How many are wailing – not just weeping – throughout the world, because of children killed by violence or by preventable diseases?

They shall live in the houses they build,
and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant.
Isaiah 65: 21

 How many are without homes, even in the US? How many have lost their homes because of war or disasters?

But the prophet offers us hope.

But it is a hope that demands our response, our openness to the new world God is creating.

For God listens to us and knows our inmost longings.

Before they call, I will answer;
while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
Isaiah 65: 24

 But do we really long for something new? Do we really have hope? Or are we stuck in the past, in our memories of failures?

Do we really want new heavens and a new earth? Do we ask God for that new creation?

Do we really want the peaceable kingdom promised at the end of the chapter

The wolf and the lamb shall pasture together,
and the lion shall eat hay like the ox…
None shall harm or destroy on my holy mountain,
says the Lord.
Isaiah 65:25

 Or do we still want to rely on our weapons of war – or our weapons of self-aggrandizement and self-justification?

Do we let ourselves dream the dreams of God?


Here comes the dreamer.
Genesis 37:19

Joseph may have been a little imprudent telling his brothers about his dream that seemed to indicate that one day they would bow down before him.

But dreams – real dreams – often provoke resistance since they propose a different world, a different arrangement of life and society.

I think of Martin Luther King’s dream as well as the dreams of Monseñor Oscar Romero. They dreamed of a world in which love and justice reigned.

Martin Luther King’s dream, expressed in his speech at the August 28, 1963 March on Washington, is well known:

…I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream… that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed, “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream… that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream… that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream… that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they sill not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character…

I have a dream… [that] one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers….

I have a dream… that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain and the crooked places will be made straight, and glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

In his July 17, 1977, Monseñor Romero expressed his dream:

The true protagonists of history are those who are most united with God, because with God’s viewpoint they can best attend to the signs of the times, the ways of Providence, the building of history. Oh, if we only had persons of prayer among those who oversee the fate of the nation and the fate of the economy! If, instead of relying on human devices, people would rely on God and on his devices, we would have a world like the one the church dreams of, a world without injustices, a world with respect for rights, a world with generous participation by all, a world without repression, a world without torture.

Dreamers threaten our security, our complacency. Both King and Romero were martyred.

But if we let ourselves listen to their dreams we may begin to dream and, even more, begin to work together to make their dreams a reality.

There is a quote attributed to Dom Helder Camara, the saintly and prophetic Brazilian bishop, another dreamer:

When we are dreaming alone, it is only a dream. When we are dreaming with others, it is the beginning of reality.

What am I dreaming these days? Am I dreaming with others? Am I dreaming the dreams of God for all God’s people here on earth?

Dream on!

Joseph and the dreams of God

As we celebrate the Birth of Jesus, Joseph is often the hidden member of the Holy Family. Fr. James Martin, S.J., recently wrote about this recently in an article in Slate.


Only in the Gospel of Matthew do we learn anything significant about Joseph.

Like his Jewish counterpoint, Joseph, the son of Jacob, he is a dreamer. In fact, dreams change his lives.

In today’s Gospel, Matthew1: 18-25, he is told not to put Mary away but to take her as his wife. Then after the visit of the Magi another dream leads him to escape to Egypt; in another dream he is told when to return home.

God continually send him dreams to change his plans – and Joseph responds faithfully. He is open to God’s plans.

From his prison in Nazi Germany, Fr. Alfred Delp, S.J., wrote this of Joseph:

Joseph is the man on the outskirts, standing in the shadows, silently waiting, there when wanted and always ready to help. He is the man in whose life God is constantly intervening with warnings and visions. Without complaint he allows his own plans to be set aside. . . .

Willing, unquestioning service is the secret of his life. It is his message for us and his judgment of us. We have crabbed and confined God within the pitiable limits of our obstinacy, our complacency, our mania for ‘self expression.’ We have given God only the minimum of recognition.

May our hearts be opened this Advent season to the dreams that God sends us, opening our hearts and lives to God’s Reign, welcoming the Child and protecting Him and all other children of the world.