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We Are God’s Story… and God’s Story-tellers

by | May 29, 2020 | Formation, Reflections | 1 comment

Is there one word you would use the describe yourself?

Happy, sad, discouraged, hopeful, frightened, secure? One or the other probably describes who you were at a given moment.

But is there a word that describes you and the whole of your life?

What one-word descriptions do you think Pope Francis and St.Vincent use to describe the whole of their lives? … sinner and wretch. Words that basically mean the same thing and certainly have negative connotations.

Pope Francis, without hesitation, when asked who he was said simply “I am a sinner”. His personal motto certainly reinforces that. “Miserando atque eligendo” In substance it means, God has mercy on me; God chose to love me. And then there is St. Vincent. Some 150 times he described himself as a “wretched sinner”. He often said he only had one sermon – the love of Goid!

I must admit that in both cases I thought differently. Either, “if they see themselves as sinners, I don’t stand a chance” or “they were just being humble, unaware of their goodness ” When compared with how they lived their lives these words just don’t seem to fit.

I have come to realize that for them these words were and are “badges of honor” telling of their awareness of being loved by God. They have transformed the meaning of these words just as we have transformed the meaning of the cross. The sign of the cross is no longer a sign ignominy but a sign we make every day to say who we are and remind ourselves we are truly loved by God!

We are God’s story…

Pope Francis recently captured this and more. I am beginning to see what they are really trying to say. We are God’s story… AND … God’s storytellers!

That God has first loved us before we were even born is the basic “Good News.” This is what Mary understood when she said “God who is mighty has done great things for me”. Certainly, in being chosen not only to be the Mother of God but first of all and before all else that God had loved her.

St. Vincent and Pope Francis are on to something. Simply put, unlike so many who think we have to earn God’s love, or worse, that we can make God love us…they were aware of being examples of and embodiments of God’s story of love!

… AND … God’s storyteller

We are God’s story and God is sticking to that story. But there is more!

That experience of being loved turned their lives upside down. In their joy of the awareness of being loved they dedicated their lives to telling the story of God’s love helping others to see what they see.

They were and are God’s storytellers. They were filled with the urge to tell the story of a God who loves us… and all of creation from all eternity. God’s love compels us to tell God’s story in our words and deeds, even to the extent of laying down our lives, as Jesus did.

Vincentians are called to be God’s storytellers especially to the forgotten of the world. This is what it means to follow Christ, the bringer of good news!

Awareness of God’s love

  • Are we awake to the Goods News that God loves us?
  • Do we take time to grow in our awareness of ourselves being God’s story?
  • In what ways do we tell God’s story… to whom?

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1 Comment

  1. Ross

    Please pardon me, John, and don’t approve his comment, if I hope I’m not off topic. But I figure father/mother-son/daughter relationship bespeaks love, and even awareness of love. But here is one self-description that I heard from a teacher. He described himself one day as “child of God.” That was first, he added, then “citizen of the world.”

    Nothing surprising. Unless you grew up in the Philippines, as I did, where “colonial mentality” among us Filipinos was prevalent then and there, when “good”, “beautiful,” “quality” meant “white,” “American,” “Spanish,”—Americans and Spaniards meanwhile smoke Filipino cigars and drank Filipino rum—, where, unlike in Vietnam, I understand, being half-white was something to brag about.

    Surprising, too, coming from a CM missionary originally, from San Sebastián/Donostia, in Basque region (associated with separatism) Guipúzcoa/Gipuzkoa (associated with Ignatius of Loyola). Even more surprising, when even missionaries would joke (they don’t do it nowadays, of course), saying there are only two kinds of Spaniards: those from Navarre and those who want to be from Navarre.

    This one favorite teacher’s self-description has left a lasting impression on me, inclining me to side with Pope Francis when he speaks out against clericalism and the holier-than-thou attitude.

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