I have a dream. It is a wild dream – filled with love, pain, joy and suffering. Inspired by the saints yet filled with sinners. It is a dream of life. Of final chances. And death.
And my dream has been inspired by Pope Francis.
There is no doubt Pope Francis has inspired more than a few to look deeply within ourselves and wake up the virtue of charity slumbering within us. Feed the poor, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless. So many times he has called us to shake ourselves out of our comfortable homes and take to the streets and tend to the needs of those around us. His words force us to look inside ourselves and see where our sins of omission are so apparent.
Have you felt that nagging need to do more? To stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone and give of yourself as you have never done before? Have you had dreams of all the good you could do if only you had different circumstances, or made wistful “Someday I will…” promises of grandiose fairyland type charity?
I have a dream. And it is a biggie. If it is God’s will that it happens, so be it. I am ready for the challenge! All it will require is the bishop’s approval, lots of land, several small houses, a chapel for daily Mass, enough volunteers to pray before the Blessed Sacrament 24 hours a day, a full-time priest, a doctor and a night nurse or two, and several million dollars. Oh yeah – and maybe a washing machine that isn’t quite as loud as our current one.
Yes, Lord! Big dreams! All for You!
But to pull this off, we will need a nanny and a tutor to take care of my children, and another way to earn a living since my husband will have to quit his job to stay here and work my dream 24/7…
Hmm. Or maybe not.
Am I the only one who has big dreams for Holy Mother Church? Probably not. Am I able to implement this dream I have? Absolutely not. Yet the need I see, the suffering souls starving for nourishment, is very real. And very close to home. Something must be done – but what?
I have decided to break my dream down a bit – to take it apart and see where Our Lord really wants me to be. Because He certainly does not want me neglecting my vocation as wife and mother. Yet He also is calling me be more than what I currently am.
I recognize the fact that my dream is not exactly tailor made for me. But the pieces of this dream – the true need that exists in society – the golden nuggets of true charity found hidden within those grand designs – is perhaps where God’s divine will resides. And it is those nuggets that I must polish off and share with the world.
I will learn little ways of bringing physical comfort to the terminally ill. I will learn how to lead souls to perfect contrition. I will study ways of helping people find joy in their last moments. I will pray constantly for those in their last agony. I will educate Catholics on the absolute necessity of having a priest present when their loved ones are dying. And maybe I will be able to put these skills to the test and volunteer in a hospice facility.
Yes. These are things I can definitely do.
You see, it is nice to dream of big ways to make the world a better place. In fact, these grand ideas and dreams we sometimes have are inspired by the need to relieve the very real suffering taking place around us.
But these dreams do not help the needy. Action does. Find those little nuggets within your dream and act on them. Don’t let the idea of “I can’t do it all” hold you back from doing something. Make our pope proud and get moving! And who knows – perhaps your ongoing small acts of charity will help change someone’s situation, giving that person hope and a chance at a life of which they had previously dared not dream.
Have you been inspired to do great things for God but gotten discouraged? What nuggets of charity are hidden beneath your dreams? What can you do today that will eventually or directly result in relieving someone’s suffering?
Copyright 2014 Cassandra Poppe