The art of storytelling

  • Italiano

Many commentators point out the unusual quality of Pope Francis’s post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia. On such complex question, the Holy Father seems to use colloquial language, to feel close to his audience, and to reach everyone. Nothing works better than a good story that can make become a pleasant and attractive message what might have seemed abstract otherwise. This strategy is useful when one wants to talk about important issues. In fact, the latter are often narrated in a monotonous and contrived way. Whereas wisdom, suggests we use clear and accessible words in these cases. The best model is that of the Bible, especially the Gospels, although the Church has been enriched with exemplary writings also over the following centuries. The apophthegmata, that is, the sayings of the fathers are a literary genre and a form of spiritual discourse that still fascinates people today.

All these stories narrate the deeds and behavior of exceptional people. The apophthegmata narrate the lives of the monks who, truth to be told, never thought they could become the protagonists of some story one day. They just wanted to live for God, radically and fully, and this was enough to make their existence something worthy of being documented. Those who felt emotionally involved in this experience, felt also the need to narrate them. After all, what could be more important than salvation? And who can give better evidence of it than those who take the Gospel seriously? These narratives have enriched generations of monks and nuns, as well as others.

Our times seem very favorable for stories. We like to learn about the lives of famous people. We are looking for authentic and strong stories, although they do not always have a positive content. True meetings would be necessary to help us live and be saved. So, if we feel the need to have concrete, short, strong, and beautiful conversations because there is an inflation of words at present, it would be better for them to contain a nice main message. Around us there are, in fact, too many negative stories, which are mercilessly spread by communication operators.

To transmit essential things, simple news is not enough, nor suffice 140 characters on Twitter. A story is necessary, in which the listener can partake emotionally, becoming emotional. What is narrated well, easily reaches our hearts and sometimes it remains there forever. It becomes a point of reference, a heritage to protect and carefully transmit, so as not to disperse it. A story is an extraordinary treasure, because it remains, it can be shared, thus becoming even more valuable.

The Pope invites us to express our closeness to our families, to communicate and convey love. Nothing is therefore as important as the recovery of our ability to tell. We narrate our lives and hopes, all things in which we find out the presence of God.

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