“I had a dream and visions as I lay in bed.” (Daniel 7:13). The Old Testament Book Daniel leads us into the vision and hope of God’s reign in our world. The Book originates from a time when the Israelites faced exile and persecution. Like all the prophets, Daniel offered hope at a time of discouragement and disillusionment. He brought God’s message of promise and continued, constant love to His people. He brought them hope and gave them vision. God’s saving love would live on in them.
As we watch our world face conflict and tensions, as we see efforts to close borders and exclude others, do we see all of this as threats that will ultimately overwhelm us? Can we be a people of vision and of hope? Can we be a people of peace and justice, openness and compassion for all? God’s love and mercy can live on in us. Do we have a dream for our world?
As we observe our Catholic Christian community encountering the pain of abuse and betrayal do we find ourselves wondering where to turn? As a church, can we openly admit to our weaknesses and failures and move forward? Can we make the changes necessary to do things differently that we do not repeat our sins and hurts? Can we be a church of vision and of hope our world? Do we have a dream for our church?
As we look at our local parish and see it diminishing and greying, do we seem to have lost our energy and excitement for our faith? Are we ready to respond and build a renewed and vibrant faith community? Do we have a dream for our faith community?
As we hear the call for change and transformation in our parish structures, are we threatened and find ourselves throwing up walls of resistance to new ways of doing things? Are locking ourselves into resistance and retention of what we have always done? Are we open to renewal, vision and hope for our local church? Do we have a dream for our parish?
Fr. Richard Rohr in a recent reflection on God’s creative love made reference to the words and work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French Jesuit priest of the 20th century. Teilhard was a researcher, writer and teacher in paleontology (the study of the evolutions and development of life from its origins). His studies brought him to recognize the manner in which humanity has evolved, not just physically, but also spiritually.
As Rohr put it: “Teillard might say that God has an evolutionary “project” for creation.… God wants creation to become fully conscious that it is imbued [or filled] with divine love and living in that love.” Disciples are called to build a world of peace, harmony and justice. Our work is God’s dream. Our example is Jesus, the Christ. Our hope directs us to faithful, committed efforts to bring this to our world as the face of God’s mercy in the flesh. This is God’s dream for us all. It is the Kingdom of God.