This week I read a book that in part promoted listening to God’s messages in your dreams. I tried it that night, but my many dreams were so jumbled I couldn’t glean any message from them. I figured that way of communicating with God was not for me. Then last night loud and clear I heard the words, “Be faithful.” That was just the message I needed right now.
When you think about it, Scripture reveals that God sometimes communicates through dreams. In the Old Testament, the patriarch Joseph’s dreams about sheaves and stars foretold that his eleven brothers would someday do him homage. Later Joseph’s ability to interpret prophetic dreams, in particular the Pharaoh’s, catapulted him to power and helped to feed the world during a famine. In Babylon, Daniel explained to King Nebuchadnezzar the dire meaning of his dreams for his country and his future.
In the New Testament, God spoke to St. Joseph in dreams four times, telling him about Mary’s Son and later giving him directions for preserving his family from Herod’s wrath. The Magi were warned in a dream not to report back to Herod.
Saints also received messages in dreams. St. Patrick was guided in a dream to escape captivity. Later in another dream he was instructed to go to Ireland. Before St. Dominic was born, his mother dreamed of a black and white dog carrying a burning torch. The Latin name for the Dominicans, who set the world on fire for God, is Domini canes (dogs of the Lord). St. John Bosco dreamed that vicious dogs were turned into lambs, a hint of his future work of transforming rough boys into people of integrity. One book is entitled “The Forty Dreams of St. John Bosco.”
There is no reason to doubt that God speaks to you through dreams too. After all, God can speak through anything.
The year I entered the convent I had a strange dream. My father had lost his faith during World War II. One night I dreamed that I was helping him climb a steep hill. He was breathing hard. Then he said, “I see saints and angels at the top.” This made me feel happy in my dream. When I awoke, I was worried about my father. If I recall, we had a little blue book in which we recorded our intention and good work for the day. My intention that day was my father. During lunch, although I was only a postulant, the novice director asked me to come to her room. There she told me that my mother had called. My dad was in the hospital. Sister said the phone connection was bad, but it sounded like he had cancer. My dad worked night shift. When I called my mother, she said he didn’t have cancer. During the night at work my father’s lungs had collapsed. He couldn’t breathe. My father lived years after that. Right before he died, he was anointed and received Communion.
Books and workshops give advice for analyzing dreams. It’s said that only you can interpret your dreams.
By the way, did you know that St. Raphael the Archangel is the patron against nightmares? This is because of what he did for Tobias as told in the book of Tobit. A demon had killed seven of Sarah’s husbands on their wedding night. After Tobias married Sarah, that night Raphael chased the demon faraway to Egypt and bound him hand and foot!
Here is a link to an article about how St. Anthony has appeared to people in dreams: https://www.messengersaintanthony.com/content/i-had-dream
• Have you ever received a message from God in a dream?