Holy Father, Pope Francis (of the Catholic church) Comment: the importance of story telling to the younger generations as part of the way to train them to become of value in future.
The Holy Father, whose speech was read on Friday in Ilorin by Bishop of Ilorin diocese, Most Rev. Paul Adegboyega Olawoore in a message tittled “MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS FOR THE 54TH WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY.”
The pope’s message which is part of activities marking the world communication day had its theme as: “That you may tell your children and grandchildren,” taking a Biblical reference from Exodus 10:2, stated that the beauty of rediscovering the art of story telling cannot be over emphasized.
The Bishop, in introducing the Pope’s message, said:: “My dear friends, as we gather around the table of the Lord to celebrate the 54th world Communications Day, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, invites all of us to rediscover the beauty and importance of storytelling. This takes on the center stage in the Pope’s World Communications message, drawing inspiration from Sacred Scripture.”
The Holy Father, quoting from Ephesians 4:29, made reference to Paul’s letter to the faith community in Ephesus, where he exhorts believers to ensure that; “No foul language should come out of their mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear”
In like manner, the Holy Father also submits that; in our art of storytelling, we should propagate stories that build-up, stories that help us rediscover our roots and strength needed to move forward as opposed to stories that tear down and destroy adding, “This is of utmost importance that we may not lose our bearing.”
He also emphasized: “Hence, we need to make our own truth contained in good stories even in the midst of the different voices and messages that surround us today.”
He gave examples of stories to tell: “Weaving Stories: The word WEAVE is a derivative of the Latin word Texere and proffers the English word – ‘textile’ and ‘text’. We all weave stories. We are all storytellers. Stories influence our lives in one way or the other. Although, we do not always realize this, they leave their mark on us, shape our conscience, our conviction, and behavior. They help us communicate and understand ourselves better. We tend to weave not only clothes but also stories. In telling stories, we engage in a process of self-discovery and constant growth. However, we must be careful, for, from the very beginning, our story has been threatened; evil snakes its way through our history.”
It is in the light of the aforementioned, that the Holy Father encourages us to refrain from rumors, unfounded and baseless stories while he submits that; not all stories are good stories. “As such, we need to resist the urge to listen to bad stories that serve to continually lure us into convincing ourselves that we need to acquire and consume them. Sometimes we are oblivious of the damage these stories cause. We are neck-deep and entangled in its web that we may not even realize how greedy we have become for chatter and gossip, or how much violence and falsehood we are consuming when we listen to and imbibe them. These stories are provocative; they wear down and break the fragile threads binding us together as a society. While the stories hitherto spoken of have a short lifespan, a good story can transcend the confines of space and time, as we find in stories contained in the Sacred Scripture. As such, in our world today, we need patience and discernment to rediscover stories that help us not to lose thread amid today’s troubles.”
Further, he spoke about other story of stories: “The Sacred Scripture is a story of stories, as it shows us from the very beginning a God who is both a creator and a narrator. We are not born complete, but we need to constantly weave and knit together our lives. Life has given us an invitation to continue to weave this wonderful mystery that we are. The Bible shows the great love story between God and humanity as its centers Jesus whose own love story brings to fulfillment both God’s love for us and our love for God. God has become personally woven into our humanity and so has given us a new way of weaving our own stories.”
An Ever Renewed Story: The history of Christ is not a legacy from the past; it is an ever-renewing story that shows God’s concern for mankind. Since God became story, every human story is in a certain way a divine story. St. Paul wrote in his epistle to the Corinthians “You are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Cor. 3:3) The love of God writes within us and by the power of the Holy Spirit, every story, even the most forgotten one and even the ones that seem to be written with crooked lines can be inspired and reborn anew as a masterpiece. We know the different stories that have the fragrance of the Gospel that has borne witness to Love. These stories constantly cry out to be shared and brought back to life in every age, language, and through every medium.”
The Pope also spoke about a story that renew mankind: “When we read the Scriptures, stories of the saints and also those texts that have shed light on human heart and beauty, the Holy Spirit freely writes in our hearts, reviving our memory of what we are in God’s eyes. When we remember the love that created and saved us and when we make love our daily stories, we are turning another page where we no longer remain tied to regrets and sadness, bound to an unhealthy memory that burdens our hearts. Rather, by opening ourselves to others; we open ourselves to the same vision of the great storyteller. God! To him our story is never useless. So it is not a matter of simply telling stories as such, or of advertising ourselves but rather of remembering who and what we are in the sight of God, bearing witness to what the spirit writes in our hearts and revealing to everyone that his or her story contains marvelous things.”
He encouraged the people: “To do this, let us entrust ourselves to our Mother Mary who knit together in her womb the humanity of God. Let us ask for help from her, who knew how to untie the knots of life with the gentle strength of Love.”