“The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her… When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home” – Matthew 1:20,24
Joseph decided to divorce Mary quietly, not wanting her shamed. Unlikely in a little town like Nazareth though. Tough decision! Why not sleep on it? Who makes a well-thought-out decision, then dreams an entirely different possibility with the help of an angel? That never happens to us; or does it? Have “angels” ever pushed you to do what you were hesitant to do? Have they helped you dream of responding “to the call of God to live a life of love in faith and trust?” (Fundamental Principles)
As we reflected on these questions, we both agreed parents were our first pushy angels, teaching us by the way they lived that family is important, prayer is essential, forgiveness is possible, and life is for service. Over the years, both of us faced painful realities – loss of jobs, illness, loss of family and friends to death or distance. We each became an “angel” to the other, helping dream what the Holy Spirit might conceive in us.
We fondly named Richard and Gwen Costello, and Brothers Bonaventure Scully, and Cosmas Rubencamp as angels who guided the dream of the Associates program. In the company of many Xaverian Brothers and Collaborators, we more clearly see the dream of Ryken to “stand ready to answer when asked if you are available for God to become more present in your life and through you to the world.”
In a larger context, our dreams have been shaped by angels who took great risks in public life. We both watched as Pope Francis, in his address to Congress in 2015, referred to America as “the land of dreams.” He then named Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr. Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton as dreamers that helped shape our nation. Each one of us, no doubt, has his or her own public and private list of angels and dreamers.
After each of his dreams, Joseph immediately acted in obedience to the angel’s message, trusting that God was leading him. We are asked to do the same: “Above all else remember that your God is forever faithful….For your part, God asks you in return to make the word of God your home.” (FP) Just as Joseph, the dreamer, made a home for the Word of God. Sleep well, and sweet dreams!
Blessed Joseph, man of strength, teach us be humble that we might endure life’s sorrows. Believer in dreams, teach us to believe in God’s faithfulness. Man of action, help us act with compassion and justice in this world. Man of silence, teach us to be still that we might know God. Amen.
Michael Buckley & Jeannette Suflita
To view the full Advent 2021 booklet in English, click here.
For Spanish, click here.
For French, click here.