Let’s Talk About Dreams – Ignatian Spirituality

When I speak of dreams here, I don’t mean the mind’s journeys while you’re sleeping. I refer to dreams—visions, imaginings—you have for yourself, for those you love, for your larger community.

Dreams do make a difference, but how exactly? When has a dream sent your life in a different direction? When has a dream given you the ability and the nerve to do something new?

When do you know that a dream needs attention—that maybe it’s meant to develop into reality? What are the signs that, this time, you need to work on this dream and help it materialize?

What about communal dreams? Do you belong to a community that likes to dream and then work on the dream? I remember when my church was grappling with the problem of hunger in our city. That triggered a dream, and today we have a garden that helps supply fresh produce to shelters and pantries in our neighborhood. It took several people dreaming this at the same time—and we had help dreaming from our Jewish friends down the street, whose synagogue community had already begun to cultivate gardens around the city.

How do you encourage dreams in your children? How do you communicate to them that some of their dreams might not come true—or do you even say that?

Speaking of which—what about the dreams that never get beyond dream stage? Do we consider those failures? Or are some dreams meant simply to give us good practice at dreaming?

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Vinita Hampton Wright has served as senior editor at Loyola Press for 16 years and recently became managing editor of the trade books department. She has written various fiction and non-fiction books, including the novel Dwelling Places with HarperOne, Days of Deepening Friendship and The Art of Spiritual Writing for Loyola Press, and most recently, The St. Teresa of Avila Prayer Book for Paraclete Press. Vinita is a student and practitioner of Ignatian spirituality, and from 2009 to 2015 she blogged at Days of Deepening Friendship. For the past few years, she has co-led small groups through the 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises. She lives in Chicago with her husband, three cats, and a dog. In her “spare” time these days, she is working on her next novel.

Vinita Hampton Wright

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