God Awaits Us...in Our Stories
Pope Paul VI insisted that people pay more attention to witnesses than we do to teachers. And when we do pay attention to teachers it is because they are witnesses. That is the rationale for Pope Benedict XVI's proposal of a Year of Faith. Disciples live their hopes and witness through their stories.
Stories ignite our imaginations because we all know how to find truth in stories. We want to be surprised. We are fascinated when the whole turns out to be greater than the sum of the parts. We sense God's presence when 1+1=3. And that was the math in all the stories told by Jesus. Startling abundance! Anyone who reads the Bible knows that God loves stories. What is your story? What part does God play?
On stages, pages and screens stories we are addicted to stories because in our deepest marrow, we want to know and we hunger to believe. Stories move us from left brained skepticism to right brained receptivity. Stories communicate truth that is emotional and transcendent. That is why we love good guys who are seriously flawed and villains who remind us of ourselves. People are not afraid that they will come to church and be changed. People are afraid that they will come to church and NOT be changed. Good stories ask us: who we are, to whom do we belong, what do we believe, and for what do we hope. Disciples live in hope and stories generate hope.
A Parish Retreat:
Session 1: My Faith Story - In the post-modern age, the perennial question remains: 'Is God with us or not?' God still speaks. Let's stop long enough to listen.
Session 2: A Confident Faith - The most fascinating people among us draw from a deeper well. These witnesses accept God's plan for life and they step out in faith. How about you? Recall, explore and be awed by the movement of God's grace in your own life.
Session 3: A God-Sized Faith - We love stories because they communicate as nothing else can. Jesus told great stories. Life can still bring us to our knees and fill us with gratitude if we practice a few simple and prayerful steps each day. Come and learn how.
Topics can be presented on three consecutive evenings, or as three sessions in a retreat day and concluded with a weekend parish Mass. At the close of this retreat, participating parishes will receive God Leads Us Through Our Questions, a six-session guide for small groups to continue sharing stories and growing in faith.
There is no cost for this retreat and it can be sponsored for a group, a parish or a parish cluster.
To schedule a parish retreat or for more evangelization programs and strategies,
contact: Office for Evangelization and Parish Life