To talk about dreams is a complex subject! What’s in a dream? Often do I have them and when I do have them, they possess stories that can be an array of outlines, nightmares, pleasures, insight in the future. In recent years, I’ve been fascinated by sleep and how it works and I’ve learned that adult will undergo REM sleep which in a nutshell is the rapid motion of the eyes during sleep believed to be an interaction with brain waves and dreams. Adults experience this 20-25% in their rest each night. It is in REM sleep where dreams occur.
The Greeks and Romans believed that dreams possessed prophetic powers. In the 19th century, Sigmund Freud put forth theories that are still held today. Freud believed dreaming allowed a person to sort out unresolved issues.
In the scriptures dreams were means of divine communication transmitted through the imagination of an individual. For the Jews, they were regarded as ordinary occurrences (Psalm 73:20; Isaiah 29:8) and supernatural events, foretelling of the future, instruction, warnings, meaning to hidden truths. God revealed himself to Daniel, Ezekiel, and Zechariah in dreams (Numbers 12:6; Daniel 7:1-27; Joel 3:1).
In the New Testament, Joseph receives a dream, urged by an angel to take Mary as his wife (Matthew 1:20); Magi dreamed about a warning not to return to Herod, so they traveled home by another route (Matthew 2:12); Joseph was guided on where to take the Holy Family (Matthew 2:13, 19, 2:22).
In today’s reading, King Solomon entered into intimate dialogue with God asking for the wisdom to rule God’s people. God graciously bestowed the gift of wisdom on Solomon for he surrendered himself to God’s plan.
No matter what angle you take on dreams, whether classical thought, science, or the scriptures … perhaps dreams interplay with the spirituality of rest. Once and a while, I pray, “Lord, multiply my sleep” and often it works! When we rest, we allow God to be God, to watch over us with his angels, refresh us, love us, and give us strength for a new day. Perhaps dreams are the place, like Solomon, where we can give ourselves into the arms of God, listen to his heart, and trust that he will give us what we need to serve him.
Once and a while, I pray, “Lord, multiply my sleep” and often it works! When we rest, we allow God to be God, to watch over us with his angels, refresh us, love us, and give us strength for a new day. Perhaps dreams are the place, like Solomon, where we can give ourselves into the arms of God, listen to his heart, and trust that he will give us what we need to serve him.
I tip the hat to Pope Francis in his 2015 address to Filipinos in the Philippines. An excerpt that would bring about the explosion of the spirituality of the Sleeping Saint Joseph:
“Resting in the Lord. Rest is so necessary for the health of our minds and bodies, and often so difficult to achieve due to the many demands placed on us. But rest is also essential for our spiritual health so that we can hear God’s voice and understand what he asks of us. Joseph was chosen by God to be the foster father of Jesus and the husband of Mary. As Christians, you too are called, like Joseph, to make a home for Jesus. You make a home for him in your hearts, your families, your parishes and your communities.”