Do you dream?
Some people maintain that they do not whereas studies from the field of psychology hold that everyone dreams. The fact that some individuals do not remember their dreams may indicate that they lack a methodology for dealing with this dimension of their life. A friend shared this methodology for clarifying and understanding dreams: TTAQ!
The first T stands for Title — give the dream a Title. Second, spell out the content of the dream by indicating its Theme. Then name the Affect or emotion that the dream conveys. Finally, what Question(s) does the dream leave you with for further exploration? TTAQ!
The word of God is no dream but the above methodology is a handy tool for grasping the heart of God’s word. In today’s Gospel we might give it the Title of revelation. In these 10 verses from Mark’s Gospel we see revealed for us the tremendous love and compassion as made manifest in the person of Jesus. He cares about the ill and possessed; he longs to instruct the people about the kingdom of God.
St. Paul had a similar desire. His preaching flowed from a sense of urgency; his compassion was grounded in identifying with those who are weak and hurting. Paul knew that he was an entrusted steward and his task was to share what had been given to him. His life was consumed by the knowledge of God’s love and forgiveness revealed in Jesus.
A Theme in today’s scripture could be that of balance. Jesus not only healed and preached, he also spent time in personal prayer. Out of his deep interior life with the Father, which was nurtured by solitude and contemplation, Jesus reached out to the people with wisdom and compassion. No false dichotomy was proposed: either prayer or ministry. Rather, it was the delicate holiness and mission that characterized his life.
Job, in our first reading, confronted the dark side of life. He personally knew misery, drudgery, troubled nights. He knew the swiftness of time and the restlessness of the human spirit. We sense in his life a lack of balance, a person who was unable to cope with human condition. Would a life of prayer have helped him to deal with pains of human existence?
Affect! What are the emotions of our scriptures today? For Job, discouragement is not depression; for Paul, an enthusiasm that made him restless and anxious to spread the word; for Jesus, a profound empathy for those in need; for the people healed and preached to, a gratitude and amazement that knew no bounds.
Question(s)! Am I able to identify with both Job and Paul? What are the demons in my life that diminish life? How well do I exercise the stewardship entrusted to me? How much balance is there in my life? What was the purpose of Jesus’ existence?
Bishop Morneau is the auxiliary bishop of the Green Bay Diocese and pastor of Resurrection Parish in Allouez.