Jesus’ dream for me

Last week I couldn’t write my dream. I couldn’t see. I couldn’t imagine.

This week, during our Monday morning prayer, I heard in Isaiah, “I have carried you since birth.”

Later that day, I had a vivid experience of Jesus carrying me. He was looking ahead. He had confidence, hope, a dream.

I was content with being carried into something new without asking him or knowing about his dream. At this point, in my mind, I had already decided to ask for a leave of absence from the Jesuits. I wanted to sit in the mystery of going into something new, and I wanted to be the one to decide what the “something new” was.

My spiritual director was not convinced. “Has Jesus told you to take a leave of absence? What is Jesus’ dream for you? Ask him.”

I was afraid. I was worried that his dream might be different from mine. Different from what I feel I need or want right now. Different from decisions I thought I had already made. What if he asks me to do something I don’t want to do – or feel I can’t do?

Days passed. Eventually, I relented.

“Jesus, I want to know your dream for me. I’m open to you smashing my categories. I trust your dream is bigger and truer and deeper and more beautiful than what I can conceive. Show me your dream. Help me to trust that you can and want to share your dream with me, and that I’ll hear your voice.”

Jesus’ dream for me:

Space to dream, imagine, pray, plan, organize.
Health, healing, balance.
Life, joy, laughter, friendship.
Time alone with God – for imagination, for strength.

To build ekklesia.
To support the formation of Catholic women who are called to be ministers of the Gospel – ministers who teach, preach, heal, gather people together, break bread.
To announce the good news that Jesus’ desire to feed his people does not require a celibate male Catholic priest ordained according to a particular ancient lineage, but that Jesus has the power to transform bread and wine – and each of us – into his body through the faith of anyone who believes in him.

To disrupt.
To disrupt religious patriarchy.
To disrupt patterns of exercising power and ministry in the church that do not reflect the revolutionary love of Jesus.
To disrupt whatever harms God’s people.
To disrupt the countersigns to God’s reign.

(Jesus, show me this disruption.)
I healed on the Sabbath, in the synagogue.
I went to Jerusalem and drove the moneychangers from the temple.

(I feel so angry at Mass.)
I put that anger there. You know something’s wrong.
I have given you powerful gifts for disruption: thoughtfulness, sincerity of heart, kindness, desire to reconcile, vision, conviction and conscience. You can see what’s wrong.

Luke, do you wonder why you always feel like you don’t fit? Because I planted this dream in your heart long ago.
(It’s true. I’ve known this dream for a long time, and I’ve tried hard to be faithful to it while also being a “good Jesuit.” I feel so much joy that those days are over.)

Jesus continues his dream for me:

To build community.
To pray, dream and act together.
To engage in experiments of building and disrupting.
To be formed.

This dream gives me so much joy and excitement: To build. I’m also terrified by parts of it: To disrupt.

Questions remain. How does this dream relate to my religious and priestly life? Where can I be formed for this work of building community, this work of disruption? Who will be part of it?

Jesus is carrying me. He’s looking ahead. He has confidence, hope, a dream.

I sense that Jesus wants to reveal more, wants to put more flesh on this dream. I’m listening for his voice.

8 thoughts on “Jesus’ dream for me

  1. Oh Luke, Amen. Amen. In your vulnerability, your struggle, your holy anger, your longing, your surrender, you are surely engaging the liturgy of the world where the real presence of Jesus is revealed.
    May you receive all that your heart most needs and desires.

  2. Amen Luke! This is beautiful and vulnerable and I am so grateful for all of it.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the fear that accompanies our big dreams, about how we can feel simultaneously terrified and excited, and it seems like these places are the ones where God is crying out to us most. Something about that tension is where God dwells most deeply.

    Thank you for sharing your journey, your frustration, your joy, and your holy encounter – it’s such an important affirmation of the truth that exists inside each of us.

  3. Your reflection, vulnerability, and honesty are powerful. Thank you for living with integrity.

    It is a heavy burden to know something is wrong and not to be able to fix it. I cannot pretend to know what you are called to, but your insights here feel authentic.

    Also, it is healing for people to encounter a priest who is genuinely troubled by the dysfunction in our Church. It is healing to encounter a priest who sees clearly. It is healing to find a priest who genuinely shares our ill-fitting discomfort with our church. Everyone experiences our moments in the Garden of Gesthemane where we want any other cup/suffering than the one we have been given.

    May you know peace.

  4. To build and to disrupt and to build again. “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” The Spirit is so so moving!! Listen to that call deep in your heart. Then it’s okay to pray for “writing in the sky.” God is good all the time. All the time God is good. AMEN!

  5. Thank you and Amen to all you write here, Luke, and to all the responses above. I’ve worked in liturgical music ministry for decades. I’ve witnessed reflexive, global, habitual misogyny uttered in casual words of hate and fear by priests and bishops in rectories while drinking tea between Masses. It seems to be a misogyny cultivated through centuries of clerical celibacy. It’s a misogyny found nowhere in the words or actions of Jesus. Reading your words (the second thing I read this morning, the second gift from God to set this day in blessings), I think of Jesus and his compassion for women. I thank God for your courage to walk this righteous, inclusive way of Our Lord. I thank God for the courage of your questioning. I pray for your continued strength to live these questions as you become both challenged and delighted by God to live into deeper answers. The institutional church needs you. I wonder, does it need you more than it needs to shut women out of ordained ministry? I’m eager to see this mystery unfold.

  6. I am so happy you had time and space to be held by Jesus, to speak with Jesus about your dream, the dream that was gifted to you.

    “I put that anger there. You know something’s wrong.
    I have given you powerful gifts for disruption: thoughtfulness, sincerity of heart, kindness, desire to reconcile, vision, conviction and conscience. You can see what’s wrong.”

    These words stand out to me, because indeed there is power in these gifts that can be easy for us to overlook or see as too small. These are the gifts of love. “Blessed are the clean of heart for they will see God”… That’s how I see Jesus seeing you as he looks on you and your gifts. Your gifts born our of love let you see clearly. How can you continue to let this be the source of your visioning as you discern where/how to disrupt and what/how to build?

    Yep, as Sarah said, you are striving to live with integrity and I commend that and look up to it.

    I pray that you continue to be held by Jesus and with His strength, the gifts he has given uniquely to you, you will continue to walk together in this mission to build and disrupt.

  7. So, Luke, I wonder, what exactly is a “good Jesuit?” Serious question.

    I’ve known many Jesuits in my lifetime, observed others, some of whom I would, even now, call to serious discernment in light of the times. Or wish the Society would. Sometimes it’s easier not to. I’ve seen that too. Who gets to decide? Using what criteria? The Gospels? Founding documents? Jesuit martyrs and witnesses? Liberation theologians? Superiors General? Local communities and superiors? Comments at dinner and in hallways? I recall that Pope Francis was once called to “exile” to consider that question — to his benefit and ours. What do you internalize in your judgment of yourself? To what do you give priority?

    How did Ignatius himself grapple with that question and did anyone ever stretch his notion? From what I’ve observed, you live in a way absolutely consistent with the spirituality of Ignatius. Consolation and desolation set up pitched camps in your discerning. Difficult, that. Like the rest of us, many Jesuits go about their daily, even important, work making few ripples. The world needs more ripples. May result in sea sickness and the intervention of Jesus dreaming in the boat. That is to be hoped for.

    The origins of Decree 14 from GC34 were unknown to me until I saw this 2015 article by Margo Heydt from Xavier. Some of your brothers from that era may still be around for conversation and support. You probably know all this, but I found it enlightening.

  8. Luke,
    I read your prayerful reflections like lectio. You show us a beautiful process of yielding inner territory to Jesus!

    “To build ekklesia. To disrupt.”

    These two movements—one to build up, one to break down—reminded me of the call of Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:
    See, I place my words in your mouth!
    Today I appoint you
    over nations and over kingdoms,
    To uproot and to tear down,
    to destroy and to demolish,
    to build and to plant.

    I wonder if Jeremiah would be a good companion for you. The evils he addresses in the Temple Sermon in Ch. 7 reminds me of the situation of the church leadership today. Jeremiah was also (seems to me!) a sensitive and thoughtful person who felt deeply the wrongs of his time.

    If you don’t know my friend Jack McLinden SJ, he (though young) might be a person to speak with. He’s very trustworthy and true. I haven’t spoken with him in a while, but I know that several years ago he was thinking about church reform.

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