What Vincentians Can Learn from St. Joseph’s Dreams
March 18, 2019 | Fr. John Freund, C.M.
As I was preparing a homily for the feast of St. Joseph, Pope Francis reminded me there are many things followers of Vincent and Louise can learn from St. Joseph. First some background. [This is a slightly modified version of a post that first appeared on the website of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission USA.]
Joseph was a dreamer.
In Pope Francis’ homily on the feast three years ago, he reminds us that Joseph was a dreamer. Four of his dreams are recorded in scripture.
God speaks to Joseph in a particular way when he is the most silent, meaning, when he sleeps.
In dreams, God tells Joseph
- to take Mary as his wife,
- to flee to Egypt in order to escape Herod, and then
- to return to Nazareth when the threat ceased.
After each of his dreams, he acted. Joseph did what God asked of him in his dreams.
Joseph as Guardian and Protector of God’s dreams
I had never given much thought to God as a dreamer. Yet Pope Francis describes God as a dreamer. Think about it! Isn’t God’s dream another name for God’s plan for us and all creation?
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”Jeremiah 29:11
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love.” 1 Cor 2:9
In doing what God asked of him a dream, Joseph acted as the initial protector of God’s dream soon to be manifestedin Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
What would have happened if Joseph had not accepted his role as protector of Mary and Jesus in the perilous days of Jesus’ incarnation and growth in wisdom, age and grace?
Keep in mind that neither Joseph nor Mary knew the details of the role they were playing in bringing God’s dream of bringing good New to all. They both said yes in spite of not knowing the details of the script.
Pope Francis prays for us
Pope Francis ended his homily by praying for young peoplebecause Joseph was young. He asks “give young people the ability to dream, to take risks and to take on the difficult tasks seen in their dreams”.
Pope Francis also prays that each of usalso to be faithful dreamers like Joseph… “Grant all of us the ability to dream because when we dream great things, good things, we draw near to God’s dream, what God dreams about us”.
These prayers should have special relevance for all of us who wish to follow Vincent and Louise as bearers of the Good news of God’s dream to those who, so often have had their dreams snuffed out.
Questions for each of us today
- Do we ever get beyond our own dreams to think of God’s Dream?
- Do we recognize our part in God’s dream?
- Do we accept our responsibility in God’s dream of the kingdom where all love one another to the extent of washing one another’s feet and laying down our lives for one another?
- Do we “get up” as God asks?