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A Tale as Old as Time: Weekly Message for 10-17-2023
The month of October is one of my favorite months for celebrating the feast days of powerful saints. Just this week we celebrate St. Teresa of Avila, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Luke, St. Isaac Jogues, St. Paul of the Cross and one of my patrons, St. John Paul ll.
Besides being saints, these holy men and women contributed in enormous ways to the story of the Church’s collaboration in the work of redemption. Each of their lives told a story. Each of their stories was impacted by a redemptive act: the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The great Flannery O’Connor wrote, “There is something in us, as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored. The reader of today looks for this motion, and rightly so, but what he has forgotten is the cost of it. His sense of evil is diluted or lacking altogether, and so he has forgotten the price of restoration.”
St. Teresa of Avila wrote extensively on the path of holiness in her work Interior Castle. She chronicled not only the journey of any soul, but she weaved in the many ways that the Lord himself authored her own life story.
St. Luke the Evangelist gave us one Gospel and is beloved by many Christians as he penned for us the Annunciation and the infancy narrative of Jesus. But Luke himself has a story. A disciple of Paul and a physician, he healed many through his profession, but he knew he could not heal himself. He needed Jesus.
St. Paul of the Cross founded the Passionist order and spent his life focused on sharing the story of Christ’s Passion as confirmation of God’s love for humanity.
St. John Paul ll wrote 14 Encyclicals, 15 Apostolic Exhortations and countless letters and poems. His encyclical Faith and Reason took him nearly 20 years to compose. In the closing paragraphs, he writes, “I ask everyone to look more deeply at man, whom Christ has saved in the mystery of his love, and at the human being’s unceasing search for truth and meaning. Different philosophical systems have lured people into believing that they are their own absolute master, able to decide their own destiny and future in complete autonomy, trusting only in themselves and their own powers.”
We all have a story. Some of our stories seem more like nightmares than fairytales. Some of our stories got hijacked by the world. Maybe you feel like your own story needs a fresh start. The beautiful truth is you can turn the page!
That is what the Sacrament of Reconciliation is for. Each time we go to confession, our life story is given a fresh page because this is why Jesus came. He came for our stories. He came to be part of our stories and to ensure we all have an eternally happy ending.
As I close this letter, the lyrics of one of my favorite songs by Mac Powell is playing in my mind.
I see what I made in your mother’s womb,
And I see the day I fell in love with you.
I see your tomorrows, nothing left to chance.
I see My Father’s fingerprints.
I see your story, I see My name
Written on every beautiful page.
You see the struggle, you see the shame,
I see the reason I came.
I came for your story, I came for your wounds
To show you what Love sees when I see you.
Yours in the Heart of Jesus,