Wisdom beyond dreams

By Patricia Kasten | July 23, 2014

It’s summer and probably hot and humid. Some of our churches lack air conditioning and sitting in them on a summer Sunday can lead to drowsiness. The air is heavy, pushed about by fans and a breeze or two might waft through an open door or window. Someone might even daydream a little.

Today’s first reading speaks about King Solomon dreaming. The Lord appeared to him and promised to give Solomon anything he asked for.

What would you ask if God came to you? A pearl of great price? A buried treasure? Perhaps, as you look around church today, you’ll see items of gold, silver, silk or marble.

Solomon, of course, didn’t ask for material things. He wanted wisdom and God gave him wisdom beyond what any human being could dream.

There are many other dreams in the Bible. How many can you remember?
There’s the very first dream, dealing with Abraham and Sarah. In Gn 20, the married couple journeyed to the land of Gerar. Its king, Abimelech, welcomed them, but Abraham was afraid and told Abimelech that Sarah was his sister, not his wife. So Abimelech took Sarah to be his own wife. However, the Lord appeared to the king in a dream and told him the truth. Horrified, Abimelech sent Sarah back to Abraham — with a lot of treasure.

The Bible contains many other dreams: for example, Jacob (angels on a ladder), Joseph (it made his brothers enraged at him), Pharaoh (which brought Joseph fame in Egypt) and many by the prophet Daniel.

In the New Testament, Matthew tells us of the dreams of Joseph and of the Magi, as well as of Pilate’s wife, warning her husband not to harm Jesus. In the Acts of the Apostles, (a story we heard June 29), we find an imprisoned Peter thinking he’s dreaming of an angel, only to find that God’s messenger has indeed freed him from his cell in the middle of the night.

In Jewish biblical history, dreams were considered part of normal life and a way for God to speak to people about what would happen in the future. One of the signs of the Messiah — as foretold by the prophet Joel — was that young men would see visions and old men dream dreams (3:1) when the Spirit of God is poured out upon the world.

The gift of the Spirit — which we celebrated not so long ago, at Pentecost — is the greatest treasure of all. And one of the Spirit’s seven gifts is wisdom.

Kasten is an associate editor of The Compass and the author of two books — one about the rosary and her latest work, “Making Sense of Saints.”

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