Issue Date: April 28, 2006
By JAMES STEPHEN BEHRENS
A little boy in India wants to be an astronomer. He gazes at the stars and dreams about them. His mother encourages him and hopes he will have a better life.
She is poor. Her boy has no idea of wealth, other than the treasures he sees at night. They are far from him and he knows that. But some day he hopes to draw them close to see better what he loves. Love does that. It makes us want to be near. Prayer does that, too.
A girl who lives in Manhattan has her dreams, too. She hopes to grow up and marry and move away to a better place, far from the city. Her family is also poor. She sits on the fire escape at night and watches the city, its lights, the people passing below.
The city lights dim the stars. But that does not matter. Her dreams are nearer at hand, within a few miles, a few years, the right man to love, the right place to go.
Boys and girls dream and hope. Worlds high and near entice them. It is as if there are voices from the stars and better places. Little do they know that they are the dreams of those who love them.
The boys mother teaches him the importance of doing well at school. Only when he has finished his homework will she let him go outside and look heavenward. He works well, fast -- the stars beckon.
The girl knows everyone in her building and knows many neighbors. She calls to them and they call back to her. She tells her dreams to her mother and her mother smiles.
Stars fall to earth and become children, and places far and hoped for draw near and become flesh and blood. Children grow and dreams come true, as the stars reveal their secrets in the ways of love on this earth. For love is what we all dream about, and it is never far. It is one of the better things we learn as we grow. It comes nearer and nearer.
Fr. James Stephen Behrens is a monk at Monastery of the Holy Spirit, Conyers, Ga.
National Catholic Reporter, April 28, 2006
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