Your story and THE story
We talk about the “story of our lives” — but is there an overarching story that we’re a part of? What story do we belong to?
Edmund: Once upon a time on a darkened stormy night, people told stories. All these books are full of stories, storytelling, you know, spinning a yarn, telling a tale, telling a story by a fireplace, it’s as old as language itself, you know, like stories can be really good. They can capture our attention and our imagination for months or years, but not all stories are great. Some stories aren’t good at all.
Edwin: I had this dream the other night that we were in a building. It was kind of similar to this building, but it wasn’t, it wasn’t really like this building at all, but it wasn’t really you. It was like, it was you, but it was kind of like a combination of them. Are you, are you listening? Oh, am I boring you?
Edmund: So stories help us make sense of the world and all the data flooding at us. I mean, stories are everywhere. News politics, social media, I mean, books, movies, like stories are a part of our culture. And whether we know it or not, we’re telling stories. When we post a social media, we’re telling a story, we’re revealing how we view the world, but is there an overarching human story that we’re a part of? I mean, is it the story of my family, my city, my country? What really is the bigger story that we’re a part of?
In some modern movies, you can see the characters wrestling with a world without a larger story. Sometimes the characters are written without any backstory. They seem really isolated. The main character comes out of nowhere, belongs to nowhere and acts in a small world that seems to have its own set of rules that has no consequence on the broader humanity or human history. These characters are often written in a way that detaches them from any people or place that they would belong to.
So what we’re really seeing happen is these characters wrestling with the natural consequence of us losing our sense of the bigger story. Okay. So we can explain it this way. So there was a time where a more Christian worldview is popular with God at the center of the story and humanity and mankind, history was all part of that story. Then there came a time in the more modern era as the rapid advancement of technology, man really becomes the center of the story. And God just becomes part of it. The focus becomes what man can accomplish and what man can do. And God more becomes part of private opinion or your private life. But then we start coming to after two world wars and the consequences of the industrial revolution, that if a man becomes the center of the story, and God is just part of opinion or suggestion, terrible things can happen. We start losing confidence that there is any meaning or story at all, which the leads to what we might consider a more popular contemporary view of the world, that there really is no story at the center. And we all live our lives detached from any greater meaning or purpose or story. And this is a really bleak outlook on life, but it’s one that’s impossible not to wrestle with, especially if you lack faith in any type of narrative story, a bigger story to be a part of.
You can even say that for us Catholics, we’ve lost the story as well. I mean, all the teachings of the faith just become a pile of disconnected beads.
Oh, the pile, hold on.
You know what I’m realizing is that beads don’t actually pile. So it’s kind of just like this, right? Like you have all these random teachings, like here’s a teaching on Mary and here’s a teaching on the Eucharist and here’s some teaching about the Pope and something about, I don’t know, confession and our sins. And we just try to like, like, how does this all fit together? Like, what we’ve lost is the story like the narrative strand, the story that holds everything all together so that they make sense together. So here we go. Now we have the narrative strand. And most of us, when we were taught the faith, we weren’t given this bigger picture to put all the teachings in context. Jesus’ preferred method of teaching was to use stories and parables because he knew that we would understand things better this way. And so when you understand this story, you’re gonna understand the doctrines of the faith much better and see the bigger picture.
Okay? So we’ve talked a lot about stories and now I want to tell you the story, the most important story. I wanna tell you the story of salvation history, the plan of God’s loving goodness. Maybe you’ve heard parts of this story before, but I invite you to just sit back and listen to the whole thing all the way through. This is the story of salvation history. The story of God’s plan of loving goodness. This is the story about how God loves you and wants to be united with you. God is one, three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is total self-giving love. And he desires to be united with us in a deep personal friendship. We are created to be united with God in a relationship of love, through God’s gift of grace. But through original sin, we lost our union with God, but God has promised us a Redeemer.
God gave Moses the 10 Commandments, the laws of love. The people were unable to be faithful to God in living out these laws because they were not united with God through grace, which is his divine life within them. In the fullness of time, the Redeemer and Savior was born. God became man in Jesus Christ to reunite us in a relationship of love. Jesus established one Church and instituted the seven sacraments, the means through which we receive God’s grace. Jesus suffered and died on the Cross out of love for us so that our sins can be forgiven. And we can be reunited with the Blessed Trinity in a relationship of love through grace. On the third day, Jesus rose from the dead overcoming Satan, sin and death. Jesus made it possible for us to be united with him through grace. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit upon Mary and the apostles to empower them to publicly manifest the Catholic Church that he established.
The apostles went forth to teach, preach and baptize as well as celebrate the other six sacraments so that we can be united with the Blessed Trinity. God created us to be united with him. We separate ourselves from him through sin. Out of his love for us, God brings us back into union through our reception of sanctifying grace, his divine life received in the sacraments. We are called to respond to this story, and God’s love for us. Ask God to help you to know him personally, through the person of Jesus Christ and to grow in your understanding of what it means to be united with him.
So that’s the story. I invite you to prayerfully reflect on this story, go back and listen to it again if you need to. And really think and ask God, “How would my life be different if I were part of this story?” We’re invited to enter into the story and to make it part of our own life. And if there are parts of the story that don’t make sense, we can always turn to the Catechism to fill in any gaps. And I hope that today you start living your life as part of the greatest story ever because it’s worth it.
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