By Fr. Mike Camilli, MSC
St. Joseph, Dreamer
In 1854, Father Jules Chevalier, MSC, had a wonderful dream of founding a religious family dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. His dream was not a small one but one that was very powerful: that the Sacred Heart of Jesus would be loved by all people, for all time, and everywhere in the world. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, an eighteenth-century German poet, scientist, and statesman, once wrote: “Dream no small dreams, for they have no power to move the hearts of men.”
One would wonder if this could not also apply to today’s Saint Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Foster-father of Jesus. Like any parent, Joseph had his own hopes and dreams. Two of his dreams are recorded in today’s Gospel of Matthew. In the Gospel, the angel assures Joseph that he should not fear about taking his beloved Mary as his wife despite her pregnancy, since God’s dream had the greatest power imaginable. And, again after the birth of Jesus, when King Herod began his murderous search for the child, Joseph receives another dream to take his family to a haven of safety in Egypt.
No matter the dream, sometimes fear, disappointment, adversity, and even tragedy will change one or more dreams for many of us. But as Joseph learned from his dreams, the most important things that we can dream for ourselves and for those we care about, are love, safety and acceptance.
For this reason, on December 8, 2020, Pope Francis issued a new Apostolic Letter, “Patris Corde” (With a Father’s Heart), proclaiming this Year of St. Joseph to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the declaration of St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. In his letter, Pope Francis called St. Joseph a “beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father” — “a father who is creatively courageous, a working father, a father in the shadows.” Father Chevalier and we MSC call him: Model and Patron of those who love the Sacred Heart. Pray for us!