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The “American Dream”

We just witnessed something extraordinary. Some 150 MILLION Americans cast their votes for what they believed is the American Dream. The American Dream is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims that “all men are created equal” with the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”[2]

What is more extraordinary is that they had such different visions of the details of American Dream and the candidates they thought would best embody and move all forward toward the realization of that dream.

Of course, we should also remember that the American Dream is not the only dream motivating people. There are French, Indonesian, African, and Japanese dreams to mention but a few.

Dreams in our own image and likeness

Are not all these dreams made in our own image and likeness? It occurs to me that right from the beginning of time we have tended to make our grandest dreams in our own image and likeness.

For nomadic desert people, it was natural to dream of a luxurious garden as “paradise”. In the later pages of the Old Testament, we see a people who were enslaved and longing 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.

I have often wondered if a utopian “Book of Genesis” were written today the “author(s)” might not use the image of a garden but rather a smoothly functioning city with easy access to natural wonders. Food, clothing, lodging and transportation would be sufficient for all and no one would have to work.

God’s dream for all creation

I had never given much thought to God as a dreamer. Yet Pope Francis describes God as a dreamer.  The Pope understands “For I know the plans I have for you, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11}”

Think about it! Isn’t God’s dream another name for God’s plan for us and all creation?

“Don’t make me come in and show you!”

To this day I recall my mother saying, “Don’t make me come in and show you”, when I was particularly dense about how to do something. God seems to have had a hard time getting us to underst

The author of the Book of Hebrews writes…“In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he spoke to us through a son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe.

The Incarnation is God “coming in to show us” what real love looks like. Jesus embodied God’s dream for us. God’s dream acts out the greatest love story known!

God is love. But we shy away from really thinking about the implications of the love that humbly washes his disciple’s feet, suffers, and dies for us.

If we believe that God is love and Jesus shows the depth of that love then we are called to imitate Christ in every circumstance of our lives.

In doing so we incorporate the best of all of the dreams that show us possibilities greater than we could have imagined.

I suggest that all of the dreams made in our image and likeness pale in comparison to God’s dream for us to become the love that God is.

Living our Dreams

  • Which of the above dreams most shapes my life?
  • What would my life look like if I entered into God’s dream?

Click below for an audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk