The Divine Storyteller

May 12, 2023
Archdiocese of Baltimore

Everyone has a story. Have you ever experienced that “wake-up” moment, when you looked at the people around you and realized, “Wow! Every person has their own story!? The waitress who serves us our meal at our usual restaurant, the UPS man who drops our Amazon packages at our door, and even the priest at our Sunday Mass parish; they all have a story. Their stories are a mystery to us, but we may catch a glimpse in their eyes that reveals whether the present chapter in their story is a happy one, or a sad one.

When I first began my pastoral year assignment at St. Isaac Jogues Parish, I realized that each parish is an anthology of stories put together by God, the Divine Storyteller Himself! Having the privilege of spending over a year at a single parish as a seminarian, I discovered the richness and the depths of the stories of my parishioners. I encountered the stories of those undergoing a conversion experience through RCIA; widows and widowers who poured out their hearts in grief groups; and children preparing to make their first Holy Communion. Whether the story was a happy or sad one, I realized that God was present at every moment in these individuals’ lives; He never ceases to draw us closer to Him through His divine providence.

I recall a profound experience that I had during Mass one day; this was one of those “wake-up” moments in my life. It was during Communion. While kneeling in prayer I looked over at the line for Communion and what I saw wasn’t just a line of bodies, but of stories. What I saw in that line was a mother who had recently lost a child, a couple who were struggling in their marriage, a man who had just lost his job, a teenager who was suffering from a severe disease, and many more stories. I was moved to tears because when they received Communion, God was profoundly weaving a beautiful path in their stories to the depths of His healing love. I am reminded of the words of St. Paul: “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6). He reminds us that we are all works in progress making our way to eternal glory in heaven, day by day, through God’s love and mercy. Our heaven began here on Earth when we were baptized; through our Baptismal graces and the graces of the other Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist, we draw nearer to that perfect glory in heaven where all wounds are healed, all pain ceases, and love is supreme. As a priest one day, God-willing, I will have the undeserved privilege of being God’s unworthy instrument in drawing people nearer to Him. This experience enflamed my desire for priestly ministry; I want to be a priest to help bring my people to heaven, to walk with you into heaven.

Everyone loves a good story; the greatest story of all is the one that God has been telling from the moment of creation. Through His divine providence, He is drawing each of us closer and closer to Himself. No matter what the present chapter in our story may be, even if it is a sad one, if we allow God to guide our path, our story will always be beautiful. Let’s embrace our Catholic faith and allow God to lead us on the journey to the depths of His love. He is, after all, the best storyteller.

Daniel Andrades is in 3rd Theology at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD. Daniel’s home parish is St. Joseph’s in Fullerton. Please pray for Daniel!