by Catherine Doherty.
How we love stories! Why are they so powerful in helping us understand and remember deep truths about life? Isn’t it because stories are closer to life than mere ideas?
Jesus knew this. He, the Master Teacher, told the most beautiful and most unforgettable stories in the history of the world. They are so deep that they now are woven into the very fiber of our hearts and minds. In all this teaching to the crowds, Jesus spoke in parables. In fact, he never spoke to them except in parables (Mt 13:34).
Stories, then, are simply another way of sharing the understanding of the Gospel with others. That is why Jesus often spoke in story form.
From the very beginning of my apostolic life, I have used stories, and they have been understood and loved by young and old alike. I still continue to speak in stories. They come naturally to me.
I have found, living in this sophisticated, technological generation of today, that the hearts of people still yearn for stories, for explanations of things "wrapped up" in symbols, which are simple yet somewhat mysterious.
When I was a child, my mother and father taught me by stories. Because I had traveled much during my childhood, these stories were in many languages. And many of them were taken from the folklore of the pilgrims and peasants.
Yes, I come from a country and a generation that listened, an oral generation in many ways, one that transmitted its lore, history, and traditions through stories and parables.
Almost every family has its own tradition of stories that have been told and retold by generations. Some of those stories really happened to the parents or grandparents or distant ancestors. Other stories are beautiful legends or folklore of the nationality to which the family belongs.
These stories flow from the lives and adventures of people on pilgrimage in search of God. The stories are true because their message is true. The rest must be left to the heart of each reader.
Whether factual or legendary, these stories should truly be cherished because they are the very soul of a family’s tradition and continuity. They help to create and perpetuate a close family feeling between young members and older ones, and between all living family members and those who have gone before them to their eternal rest. Through traditional family stories, these ancestors live, once again, in the bosom of the family.
Perhaps your family has a story or two that you can tell to one another. It may be a humorous story, or one with religious significance. Children love stories; and even adults rarely tire of hearing a good tale well told. In today’s world, it costs little to tell a story—simply some family time together.
—From Donkey Bells, (2000) pp. 100-101, available from Madonna House Publications.
If you enjoy our articles, we ask you to please consider subscribing to the print edition of Restoration; it's only $10 a year, and will help us stay in print. Thanks, and God bless you!