My parents’ dreams
Their dreams kept them going. They both arrived in time for the Great Depression. My father dreamt of a better life than was possible in his native Germany. My mother, all of 16, was an “unaccompanied minor” crossing the Atlantic. She had similar hopes of a better life.
Part of their dream was fulfilled when they met each other and married. Despite the hardships of the times and the hostile attitudes they sometimes endured more of their dream was fulfilled in the birth of their two children. To their children, they exemplified the values that drove them – “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” They had a shared dream for their children. They taught their children a dream.
I remembered this as I thought of how God has a dream for us. Jesus modeled that dream in his teachings and the values he embodied.
We are God’s dream
Jesus was the embodiment of God’s dreams for all his children. God’s dream for them was that we realize we are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters who would live accordingly.
In the pages of the Old Testament we see that they caught glimpses of what it meant to live as sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. Yet so often they misunderstood and worshiped idols, or more subtly rules and secular models of society and kingdoms.
They were a people who were enslaved and longed to be free. It was natural for them to dream of a kingdom that would look like a perfect version of the kingdoms they knew. They were looking for freedom from oppression by outside forces. The Messiah would bring them this freedom.
They seemed to have difficulty in understanding God’s dream so Jesus came to spell out the “good news” in word and actions.
When Jesus walked among the people of his time they interpreted what he said in light of their longing for such a kingdom. Yet Jesus rejected such a kinship. Jesus focused on conversion to an awareness of being sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. “Repent”! Change your way of thinking… and live accordingly. Thus, was born the Christ-movement and the “church”. This message was about the deepest freedom… to become who we are called to be.
Yet once again over centuries we bought into the model of church as an institution or society modeled after secular societies rather than as a family who loved one another as sons and daughters, brothers and sisters.
The struggle to recover that we are the people of God.
Vatican II called us to rediscover the fullness of God’s dream as embodied in Jesus. Pope Francis is calling us to model our being sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, in our lives, and in the structures of the way we live and treat each other.
To live as a ‘family’ is very simple and very concrete, it means welcoming others while respecting their person and their differences
In each of the major documents he has written during his years as Pope, he has called on us to recover and embody God’s dream.
He has written some challenging documents – Evangelii Gaudium, Amoris Laetitia, Gaudete et Exsultate, Christ Vivit, Laudato SI, Querida Amazonia. Each reflects on realities of our lives and how we can embody God’s dream.
Above all in his actions he has tried to model St. Francis who lived in a society caught up in first places at tables and proper places in society. He continues to remind us of those we would rather forget as “inconvenient truths”.
I fully expect that that is precisely what he will do in the encyclical on human community and solidarity he will release tomorrow.
Food for thought
- St Vincent clearly understood the message of Jesus. Do we?
- How conscious am I of the privilege and call to embody the “Good News” God’s dream for us
- What is my greatest obstacle to being an embodiment of God’s plan?
Click below for an audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk