– Br. Michael, ofm
This past week I was handed the gift of sitting in a classroom being part of a one week intensive about storytelling and how God continually invites us to be a co-author. It was a time of renewal and fueling as it was also holy and sacred ground. To sit at the feet of young men and women and hear them tell their stories – even if brief – was simply awe-filled and wonder-struck. It was powerful and palpable. It showed to me how God indeed is writing the story of our lives. We are not just characters waiting to enter the page, rather we are writing with God. We pick up our pens as we listen to the voice of Love in our brokenness, in our joys, in our journeying and in our being. To hear stories of great pain and great joy, to hear stories of amazing discovery and personal growth, to hear stories of redemption and bravery this past week was a gift of seeing scripture brought to life and woven into our very story.
I was in awe of my friend who led the intensive, how he gently challenged the group and how he probed at their hearts. He himself was vulnerable and open sharing his pains and joys. I heard him weave stories from his life with scripture and heard him take keys words from the students and weave them into the truths of their heart. He was giving them the language that God is using in their life and my own spirit was lifted and bubbled up with awareness of God’s nearness. How often do we fail to hear or see the words that God is writing in life? How often do we discard them as false or too demanding? How often do we allow ourselves to get caught up in another story instead of our own? These questions circled through me as I sat and listened, shared and told stories, as we shared insights and prayed. God continues to write our story with us – how amazing is this? It truly is and yet it is so seemingly ordinary.
In the gospel for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time we hear the story of Bartimaeus, the blind beggar (Mark 10.46-52). He knows how his story has been unfolding but he believes he can co-write it in new ways. Filled with courage as he hears Jesus is near, he calls out to him: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” The response from Jesus is powerful, “What do you want me to do for you?” In other words, what story do we need to write? What can we do to continue this story in a new way? What I hear in you is deep faith are you willing to go deeper?
The boldness of Bartimaeus is the boldness we each carry. Are we willing to say to Jesus, “I know God is writing my story and I’m willing to write with God”? This is the faith of Bartimaeus. When we ask this question with faith our eyes are opened to deep truths, new story lines, new characters and refueling for the journey ahead. We are with Bartimaeus and follow Jesus with a ready heart, surrendering to the story which we co-author with Christ and God and the Holy Spirit. Are we brave enough to ask Christ to co-author with us, even if this means writing a new story?
“In the beginning, once upon a time, or one fine day,” it doesn’t matter where we start. We are invited to do so again today. The blank page is here, the pen is ready, our eyes are being opened, let us write the God-love story which is our life. Bartimaeus reminds us to simply be bold enough to start. With our sight restored let us trust Christ our co-author and write.