Fourth Sunday of Advent: Discovering God’s Dream For You

Saturday 17th December 2022

For our final week of Advent, we’re catching up with Canon Paul Daly to explore this Sunday’s Gospel.

Matthew’s Gospel this weekend tells the story of St Joseph and a visit he received from an angel in his dream. 

We learn of St Joseph’s plans to quietly divorce Mary after discovering she was with child, but the angel’s visit gave him the courage and strength to take Mary home as his wife and fulfil God’s plan for him as part of the Holy Family. 

As we near the end of our Advent journey, we invite you to join Canon Paul in exploring more about this story and how it can inspire us to also respond to God’s invitation to become the people He created us to be.

Continue reading to hear more or find a video from Canon Paul at the bottom of the page. 

“I’m standing in St Joseph’s Chapel here in the cathedral with the statue of St Joseph behind me standing, holding the lily, looking as an older man, a working man. But a statue that speaks a lot to me is a much smaller statue that I have on my desk.

“This is a statue of St Joseph as he is portrayed to us in the Gospel today: St Joseph the Dreamer.

“Now Pope Francis has a larger version of this statue on his desk and I’m told that whenever he has something on his mind, which I guess being Pope is pretty much most of the time, he writes it on a piece of paper and he puts it underneath the statue of St Joseph and hands it over to St Joseph to look after.

“When we talk about somebody being a dreamer these days, we don’t usually mean it as a compliment. We mean somebody who’s got their head in the clouds, who’s kind of this abstract, romantic figure without feet rooted firmly on the ground.

“Of course, that could never be said of St Joseph. To be a dreamer for St Joseph was to be somebody who heard the voice of God speaking through His angel. Of course with Our Blessed Lady, the angel appeared to her in Nazareth during the day when she was wide awake, but of course, Mary was full of grace – she was fully attuned to the voice of the Spirit.

“Joseph, I guess, had many things on his mind; always preoccupied, earning a living, providing for Mary. So God found a way – the way of least resistance – to get straight through to Joseph when he was asleep, when he couldn’t resist, when the angel could communicate God’s message in such a direct way.

“But, of course, when Joseph woke up, he had to remember the dream, He had to respond to the dream, and he had to act on the dream.

“As we approach Christmas, what are your dreams this Christmas? What are your dreams for the coming year? And do you know what? God has a dream for each one of us. Do you know what God’s dream is for you? Have you ever asked God what God’s dream is for you?

“Maybe in your prayers in this final week of Advent that might be what you ask for? To reveal that dream for you and to give you the strength to bring it about:

Loving God, 

“God of the journey, God of our dreams, God of our hopes:

“Calm our fears and enable us to know your dream for us;

“To remember it, to respond to it, and

“To bring your dream for us to its fulfillment.

“Enjoy this blessed final week of Advent.”


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