Friday, July 08, 2005

The power of Story

Most of us can recount the stories of our family — the tales that gave us our identity and a pride in our past. In these stories, we “caught” the faith of our parents and grandparents.
Mary Jo Tully has reflects on Story and Faith in the Catholic Sentinel. Behold:
Today’s liturgy reminds us that both Jesus and the Prophet Isaiah were storytellers. In the Gospels we hear many of the stories Jesus used to teach the people. They were not simply fables with morals like those of Aesop. They were stories that uncovered the existence of God in the lives of his people.

Faith is built on narrative. For Catholics, the central story is the Paschal Mystery. It is a tale we have told ourselves. It is a story we have heard again and again in countless forms. It is the seed that is sown and believers are both those who sow and the ground in which the seed is planted.

The Jewish people knew the meaning of struggle with the land. They understood the frustration of seeds that did not grow. Jesus told them that all of life is like that, that even the words he spoke would not all bear fruit. Only those who were adequately prepared would be receptive. The gift of faith is nourished but not given by those who proclaim the Word of the Lord. Where the Lord is active, his Word is heard and his stories come to life. The message in Jesus’ story is as much a call to listen as it is to proclaim.
I live for stories as a writer. I've created them all my life. Storytelling bonds storyteller and audience. A relationship forms between them. Faith is also born of a relationship. After all, when does faith begin? When each of us consents to God's invitation to love. When each of us says yes and opens up to his grace, faith is born within us. Our relationships with our loved ones model this. We live in the trust that begins in our relationships with our families. Thus, our trust in God results from our relationship with him.

Storytelling and Faith depend on relationship. Neither exists without it.