Rosemary Bogdan recommends Dan DeMatte's new book to anyone discerning God's plan for their lives.
Dan DeMatte’s new book, Dream Bigger, is about living in joyful expectation that God has big plans for your life. I must confess to at first wondering if this was a new Catholic version of the prosperity gospel. But I was pleasantly surprised. It is not. DeMatte’s emphasis is on discovering God’s dream for your life, not your dream. He emphasizes that God’s dream brings unity and deeper love, whereas egocentric dreams bring division and selfishness. DeMatte writes, “God gave you a brain and a body so that you could make His dreams happen. Indeed. God has a plan or dream for each of our lives." DeMatte emphasizes that God’s dream is much bigger than we think. “So often we look through the lens of our limitation as opposed to the lens of God’s expectation.”
The book is divided into meditations for three different weeks, with a different theme for each of the 21 days. DeMatte explains that it is meant to be a prayer journal.
The most important words are not the ones written in this book, but the words God has written in your heart and will reveal in your prayer. Take time with each daily reflection bring it to prayer.
And what a lovely prayer journal it is. It is leather-bound, and each of the 21 selections include questions to pray about and at least two pages nicely lined for you to record your thoughts and inspirations from God.
Week 1 is called "All In" and includes such entries as "Throw Your Life Away" and "Burn Your Plows." The author writes, “Before we discover what God wants us to do, we must discern who God wants us to be." While he states that God’s dreams are bigger than we think, he also discusses the importance of humility and includes as “today’s activation” the Litany of Humility and an assignment to rewrite it with our own areas of pride.
Week 2, "Intimacy with God," discusses the issues of discernment and the importance of prayer with themes such as "Being before Doing," "Unity with the Father’s Heart," and "Deadly Sins Result in Dead Dreams."
This exciting process of dreaming with God is ultimately a matter of having your heart be transformed into His heart. The process of discovering God’s dream for your life isn’t about you. It’s about discovering the Father’s dream for His people and His world and partnering with that dream.
DeMatte includes a description of the seven deadly sins. “We don’t want to go out and try to heal the word while ignoring the cracks in our foundation that are still in need of healing.” The activation for the day includes an examination of conscience through the lens of the seven deadly sins, followed by Confession later in the week.
Week 3 is about "Bold Steps of Faith." Topics include "Faith Requires Action" and "Labor in a Vineyard; Don’t Sleep in a Spa." “Dreaming God sized dreams is all about trust and dependency on God.” It is about working hard and being disciplined. We need to pray as if everything depends on God but work as if everything depends on us.
I have to say I did wonder how this message would resonate with mothers whose days are entirely filled with caring for their families. What if the dream that first comes to your mind is that you could get a full night’s sleep? Or maybe you would like to just once have all the laundry done at the same time? (True confession: I have only accomplished this once or twice in the last 40 years.) DeMatte does talk about timing and God’s will. Surely God wants the children to be mothered, and that might indeed be His plan for you when your children are young.
I thought of Mother Teresa and her words, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” And Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and her Little Way. Interestingly DeMatte uses these two great women saints as examples. Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity and by the time of her death had over 4000 sisters in 610 missions in 123 countries. And Thérèse? Her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, has sold millions of copies and she is a Doctor of the Church. I guess we must remember that God has His ways and His timing. Instead of praying for protection and blessings on our children, perhaps we should dream bigger and pray that they become saints, together with their parents.
In his closing letter, Dan DeMatte writes, “It’s all about the Dream Giver. So pursue the dreams He gives you—but, most of all, pursue His Heart.”
I recommend Dream Bigger: A 21-Day Journey to Unlock God's Dream for Your Life to all who are discerning God’s plan for their lives, but especially to young people. The young will be encouraged to live in hope and to know that God has big plans for their lives. God does have a dream for each of our lives. May each of us discern it and fulfill it.
Copyright 2022 Rosemary Bogdan
About the Author
Rosemary Bogdan is a wife, mother of six adult children, and a grandmother. She homeschooled her children when they were young and currently substitute teaches at her favorite Catholic school. When not spending time with her family, Rosemary writes at A Catholic Mother's Thoughts and Catholic365.com.