Mary and Joseph are not flattened on the present; despite having a strong sense of trust in the divine Will, they do not live day by day, but make plans: they have a common dream which is to plan a life together within a family.
Dream! Dream! Dream! and Transform it into Various Projects of Life
“Dream is not that which you see while sleeping it is something that does not let you sleep”. This are the words of a great man who has ignited the minds of lakhs of Indian Young minds. APJ Abdul Kalam, who is known as the Missile Man. He is not just a scientist and Former President of India, but one who has ignited the dreams of lakhs of young people saying “Dream! Dream! Dream! The dreams will transform into thoughts and thoughts into action.” The dream is actually the fuel that makes young people live their life to their fullness and manifest themselves as self-reliant and self-actualized beings. It was actually the same dream which has given sleepless nights and tiresome days to St. Joseph after the annunciation by an angel to the change of his residents to Nazareth. Each dream made him act like one who is in a war, prompt and ready to do anything. The Bible itself says that he woke up and suddenly acted as the angel said. That immediate actions made his life so blessed, and his family secured as a holy family. A young man who has been given a heavenly vocation must be like St. Joseph. Dream like him, which does not make him lazy and aimless, but enthusiastic, available, and ready to act according to it.
It is usually spoken about two P words with the success of life. The first step to success, of course, is the “passionate” dream. The passionate dream must be actualized with the second P Word: Pragmatic strategy. Both these steps are inevitable for the young one who is living in this world, becoming smarter and smarter every day. The generation of this era is described as the smart generation. But actually, the generation is not as smart as the world around him. In an actual sense, the generation is following a smart world around him day by day, which is becoming smarter and smarter every day. And to succeed or find a way to live in this world the dreams are inevitable. And dreams without passion are just vague and confusing pictures. The passion which gives the clarity of a direction to the dreams. When the dreams are passionate, the very next moments are filled with so much enthusiasm and desire to fulfill them. And the dreams will not let us sleep but wake us up and do what is inspired by the dreams.
The Passionate Dream and the ways to fulfill them
Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation to the young people, speaks about the same ‘dream’ which urges and prompts the mind of the young people to the projects of life. He says that youth is the time for dreaming, but also time for making a decision. The imagery of the young man with one step ahead who is ready to act himself speaks about the importance of dreams transformed into thoughts and the actions, i.e., the project of life. But this happens only after having a passionate dream (cf. Christus vivit, 139-140).
The ‘passion’ is to be understood as the love towards what it is dreamt of and a push until it is fulfilled. And this passion can enhance love in the dream. We see Jesus as the young man with that same passionate dream in the Gospels, traveling from Galilee to Jerusalem, healing the sick, casting out the demons, feeding the poor and hungry, and proclaiming the Kingdom of God. His dream was so passionate that it did not allow him even to settle in a place for many days, even though he was prompted by his disciples to do so. His dream was so passionate that it did not allow him to stop, even when his enemies threatened him. His dream was so passionate that even the tribulations and death did not stop him from fulfilling them. Hope that he has learned it from his father on earth, St. Joseph, who started his mission on a dream and stopped nowhere until he got it fulfilled.
The dreams without a mind determined to manifest them may die or be forgotten throughout life. The accomplishment of dreams always depends on how young people set plans and pragmatic strategies to achieve them. We don’t believe that St. Joseph, who was given the plans of salvation for the world through dreams, did not have his pragmatic strategies to fulfil them. It was sure that when he knew that his wife, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, was with the baby conceived by the Holy Spirit, he had his own plans for her. Even before it, he was so confused but with a plan, i.e., not to expose her as a guilty woman among his people, so a righteous man decided to divorce her secretly.
And after that plan was changed after the clear and firm message he had received from heaven, he decided to take her home immediately. And from that moment, he had plans to lead and achieve God’s dream about him and the Holy Family. Immediate and well- founded decisions and actions accompanied every dream, and the accomplishment of each project he was assigned to was done not by simple luck or blessings from heaven but by his prudent, intense, and brilliant action plan. Like St. Joseph, we are to be the best planners until we realize our dreams.
The Phoenix Strength
The Phoenix strength is a coined word to explain the mental power in failure in the ways and plans to fulfillment of the dream. The phoenix bird is seen in Greek Mythologies as a sign of survival or the new beginning from the ashes. The bird is strong, beautiful, and immortal, and its end is depicted as it exposes itself to fire, and the new bird is born from the ashes. And this is a strength that young people need most when they are pursuing their dreams. There will undoubtedly be many failures, drawbacks, accidents, and occasions of losing hope and faith. It is seen in the life of St. Joseph that the things said to him were glorious and royal. But the things that happened were against them. He was told that he was to be the ‘father’ of the king of Israel, the promised one, the messiah. But he has, even after witnessed any miraculous interventions at Bethlehem as Mary did not get a place to give birth in a decent and safe house, his plans may have turned into ashes. But he found the next way. In all the emergencies and casualties of nativity stories, Joseph found a new way to come out, without losing hope and faith to fulfill the dreams of heaven and the earth.
The path after the passionate dream is not at all easy and straight. Sometimes God draws “a straight line with curves”; at every curve and stop, find out the right way and new way until the dream is accomplished.
The Poor Youth
“Oh, poor young people, you are too abandoned and overlooked! You are a poor growing generation left too much to yourselves and then slandered or, at best, harshly judged for your frivolity and misguided generosity, for your untapped need for activity, for wrongly directed affections that lead you astray through no fault of your own. Poor young people! Let us pray, and let us pray especially for you.”St. Joseph Marello, Letter #29, February 20, 1869
There are a group of young people who do not even have dreams, sometimes they have dreams but no possibilities for fulfilling them even though they have passionate affection and desire for their dreams. St. Joseph Marello has given more preference to these poor young ones. It’s the duty of each oblate to give them wings of fire to fly like a bird to the new horizons of their dreams.
The company of St. Joseph
Ecclesiastes 4/12 says that the “three-fold cord is not quickly broken” when one fails to withstand, and two just survive. And the company of St. Joseph at Nazareth and the Company of St. Joseph Marello, were safe and strong only because they were this threefold cord. Whenever the dreams of God and the dreams of the holy family got challenged, they defended and defeated them by being close to one another and in communion with the Lord. And this “threefold cord” mode made up of being close to one another and blended with the Lord’s presence is the lesson our founder put before us when we approach the young people. When young people out in the world face challenges as they pursue their dreams, we have to make them “threefold cord” with our togetherness with him and togetherness with the Lord.
We, the oblates of St. Joseph, promise you in this pursuit of Dream to the Project of life our company and togetherness, dear young people, as St. Joseph accompanied with the interests of Jesus. “We are ready to dream with you” (Step by Step) and to make your dream more passionately followed, and to facilitate all the possible pragmatic strategies to realize them. We are always at your side when you fail and to help you to rise from the ashes for the better way to realization. We do it as it is our duty towards you.
“It is the apostolic task of every Oblate: on the one hand to promote in young people the harmonious growth of their physical, moral, and intellectual gifts, striving to develop in them by the process of integral education their sense of freedom and responsibility in a context of community; on the other hand to encourage their formation in faith and in the life of grace that leads youth to give genuine Christian witness and gradually becomes the motivating purpose of their lives.”General Directory, art. 28
Fr. Anoop Kalathithara OSJ
Director Youth Commission “St. Thomas” Province – India