WE ARE THE STORYTELLEERS
The pale blue dot that is our home
We are coming to the end of this first year of preparation for the 200th anniversary of our foundation. During this year we looked back on our story as Holy Family, and we remembered and gave thanks for all the blessings we have received during this time.
Our Holy Family story, like all stories, originated 13.7 billion years ago in the original flaring forth that was the beginning of all that is. In a single moment, all the energy that would ever exist in the entire course of time erupted as a single quantum – a singular gift – LIFE. In the future, stars would blaze forth, flowers and plants would flourish, animals would come into being, humans with the capacity to reflect, to create, to love would be born – all powered by the one creative energy that burst forth at the dawn of time. All life is connected to that first powerful creative moment. “God saw everything that God made and it was very good”.
Our stories, as individuals, families and nations are embedded in that Great Story of the universe. It is the wonderful story of God’s love and God’s delight in creation and we, as the universe become conscious of itself, are the ones who are now telling it. All over the globe, on the internet, in schools, colleges, in retreat and conference centres, the great story is being told, and we are drawn to marvel and reflect on how it impacts on us and changes our relationship to Earth, to one another, to ourselves and to God. The New Story has brought about a radical shift in our worldview and consequently in our actions and behaviour. The New Story has helped us realize that we are all connected and we are all responsible for one another and for our common home – Earth.
Our times require new storytellers. Good storytellers “have the power to shape our reality, to alter our perceptions, to create new worlds of experience. Storytelling is, in fact, a god-like power, one that can affect and change consciousness… If, as St. John says, in the Beginning was the Word, then the Story followed directly after, unfolding the universe from the imagination of God. In emulation of the divine, we have sought to duplicate that moment of creation by being storytellers, too.” (David Spangler – Context Institute 1997)
Spangler goes on to say that storytellers are not mere purveyors of facts and information. Rather good storytellers connect with the emotions of their listeners; they fire the imagination and inspire creative involvement. They encourage participation in the storytelling so that the listeners identify with the story and allow the story to transform them from within. Then, they in turn feel the impulse to tell the story and present a vision of a changed, hope-filled future. We ask ourselves: in telling the story of Jesus, of our Family, are we able to fire the imagination of our listeners? Does our storytelling invite creative participation and inspire wholehearted commitment?
The awakening of such creative participation and commitment everywhere in our world gives us great hope for the future. We know that the New Story of the Universe requires our active participation; it demands that we take up our role as co-creators, contributing to the emergence of greater life, wholeness and abundance in our world. It requires us to be responsible for working with others to resolve the great problems facing humanity today.
Climate change, for example, is recognized as one of the biggest threats to the future of life on Earth. At the Paris climate conference in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. The agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C.
So, we are beginning to take on board our responsibility as storytellers and planetary citizens. The little pale blue dot filmed by the space probe Cassini is our home, the only home we have, vulnerable in the vast blackness of space. It is our privilege and duty to love her and care for her; our destiny is intimately bound up with hers.
The 200th anniversary of our Foundation is an opportunity to see our Holy Family Story as part of the Great Story, to take up the challenge of telling our Holy Family story in new, exciting and creative ways that invite participation and inspire commitment to live God’s dream which was also our Founder’s – to draw all people into the one Family of God.