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People's Stories

“Every person goes on a unique journey related to his or her faith and spirituality, and every story matters.” (David Kinnaman)

“If there is one resilient and God given aspect of us that has remained intact throughout history and time, it is our innate desire to love and be loved. At our core we want to belong. We want to be loved and needed. Safety has also always been important for us. We like to feel safe. No matter how ugly or disturbing the world becomes, no matter who we are, this innate yearning for love and safety holds true. Perhaps the real tragedy is when this innate urge and desire becomes buried under layers of hurt, alienation, anger, and fear. When this occurs, the one who just wanted to be loved like everyone else, can become the stereotypical difficult person. We then suffer hurt, stress, and alienation from our encounters with them. In the end, we lose the perspective that this difficult person is just someone who wanted to love and be loved, but sadly fell victim to a fallen world. Somewhere in their life, something went terribly awry. There is always a story to every human soul.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)

“We always have opportunities to share the love of Christ simply through our willingness to “be there” when someone needs a non-judgmental ear to listen. Sometimes the greatest thing we can give someone is not a sandwich or a bowl of soup, or money, but just our undivided time. Like the homeless man in the warming center, many [persons] live near us and need to tell their story. The one thing they have in common is the need for someone to see them as God’s image bearers and acknowledge their humanity; not to try to fix or judge them, but to provide a Christ-like presence in a life so often devoid of love.” (Deacon Michael Schlaack)

“If we only took some time to reflect on the life-story of the challenging souls we encounter, we might better emulate Christ in so many ways. We would do well to respond to the story of a person, rather than to their behavior at any given moment. When we react to someone’s life-story rather than solely the aggravating behavior, we can help alter the trajectory of their life in a positive way. In doing so, we give them a life experience they may not have had. However, when we respond to the behavior too harshly and in the ways so many others may have, we are simply contributing to a self-fulfilling prophecy. The challenging soul learns “this is what I do, this is how I make people feel, and this is who I am.” This does not mean that we cannot set boundaries or become upset; it simply means we learn more restraint, patience, and compassion.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)

“In times of suffering, the Church encourages us to fully experience our story… Deepening our understanding of our faith relinquishes our need to tell each other empty words like “God won’t give you more than you can handle” and “He/she is in a better place.” Instead, it allows us to offer prayer, presence and understanding that strengthen our relationship to God and each other. If we put aside the pressure to speak, we recognize silence is not awkward; it is prayerful stillness, and we find words that are honest, loving and compassionate. We can honor and express gratitude for the joys, sorrows, fears and tears experienced in vulnerability while embracing hope in the resurrection and a will that is greater than our own. We each have a story of joys and sorrows and it is a holy gift to share it with others.” (Danielle Xanthos (MDiv, MA))


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