“Yahweh continued to support you all along the road until you arrived here” (Dt 1: 29-31)


To encourage participants to recognize both their own and each individual’s story/history as an intended continuation by God of his effective presence in the world, ever drawing it to himself.


Allow participants to recognize:

1. that key experiences of life are remembered because of their significance, usually seen with hindsight

2. that there is a visible and invisible side to almost every experience

3. that reflection on life’s experiences almost always reveals a pattern

4. that God continues his work of revelation and creation/salvation through human beings, within the circumstances of their lives, and that each person’s story/history is hence potentially sacred

5. that we are formed as much by the ‘dark’ as by the ‘light’ experiences of life.



Reflection on last week’s session

My Sacred Story


Read and journal

Individual Prayer: My Personal Story


Individual Prayer: My Personal Story

Start reflection. Pick 1 (or 2)

incidents for this evening. Finish at home.

Remember to dialogue with God about this

evening’s situations



Music Link:

Do not be Afraid – St Louis Jesuits & Bob Dufford, S.J.

We see in the Bible how God was present in the history of the People of God, calling them, freeing them from slavery and their disordered tendencies, sustaining them in the wilderness and ‘shaping’ them into a community, even when things were difficult. God did this through their leaders, particularly the prophets, through the Law/the Covenant, always forgiving them and calling them back when they had gone off-course. In the narratives, we see something of the nature of God, and we become aware of shifts in the people’s understanding of God. We notice that the story of the People of God is also our own personal story.

We see more of the nature of God in the story of the Son – God’s self-emptying love, identifying with the poorest and most despised, sharing their lot; God present in the most unlikely places, the most unlikely circumstances and to the most unlikely people.

Through his people and through Jesus, God reached into our world, ‘creating’ it, helping it move towards its full potential. God continues to do this, to shape me through others and others through me; and God does this through every single human being who reflects and lives by God’s values, whether consciously or not. We begin to explore this evening.


  • Name people (religious and other) in history, including those you know, through whom God has continued his work, particularly as exemplified in Jesus.

  • Choose 1 or 2. Write a paragraph about them: their situations, the creative/saving elements of what they did, the cost to themselves and the outcome for themselves and others. Who was the God whom they revealed?

And now, thus says Yahweh who created you …“Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name, you are mine. Should you pass through waters, I shall be with you; or through rivers, they will not swallow you up. Should you walk through fire, you will not suffer, and the flame will not burn you. You are precious … You are honored and I love you … Do not be afraid, for I am with you … You are precious in my eyes and I love you” (Is 43: 1-2, 4, 5).

“Do not take fright, do not be afraid of them. Yahweh your God goes ahead of you and will be fighting on your side, just as you saw him act in Egypt. You have seen him in the desert too: Yahweh your God continued to support you, as a man supports his son, all along the road you followed until you arrived here” (Dt 1: 29-31).

When your personal story becomes connected in your heart with the story of redemption, you are coming close to the heart of the meaning of your life, and discovering that that meaning is part of the meaning of the whole of God’s creation and his redeeming life … your story becomes His-story, and His story – of creation and redemption – holds your story in the palm of his hands (Margaret Silf, Taste and See: Adventuring Into Prayer, DLT, 1999).

A Prayer:

I begin by asking God to open the eyes of my heart:

  • to see where, when and how God has been present in my life

  • to notice how God has reached others through me and reached me through others

  • to recognize and treasure my story – and the stories of others as ‘sacred’.

1. Visible:

Note the important events in your life: birth, starting school, changes of school, student days, jobs, relationships, marriage, family, friends, places where you have lived, holidays, and so on.

2. Invisible:

a) List those things that no outside observer would notice, but which may turn out to be the most significant things of all, the most life-giving and life-changing points in your story. Don’t try to force your memory, but trust God to bring to your awareness what he is inviting you to remember. Examples of these ‘inner landmarks’ might be:

  • events or encounters that caused some ‘change of heart’ inside you and made you see things from a different perspective;

  • moments when perhaps the world ‘stood still’ for you, and you felt ‘touched by God’;

  • times of particular darkness when you felt abandoned by God; people who have been ‘wisdom figures’ for you, or who have profoundly influenced your inner journey.

b) Which of the above were life-giving? How have they made a difference to your life? What about the events that seemed destructive at the time – have they actually destroyed you? With hindsight, can you see any way in which these dark patches of your experience have led you to new ‘growth spurts’? What do you most relish in your experience? What do you most regret? Let them both be there, simply laid bare before God in your prayer. Don’t try to suppress the feelings you may have about them: share them with God, whether they be joy or tears. This kind of prayer is truly an intimate encounter with the Lord and it will become a source of renewed energy for you.

c) How has God been present in the above, and who is the God who was present?

d) How has God reached you through others and others through you?

A closing Prayer:

Thank God for your personal ‘’sacred story’.

Having surfaced and begun to see the meaning of your story, try to capture it in a way that is meaningful for you. You might want to use one of the following ideas:

1. A Patchwork Quilt: a ‘patch’ can represent anything from your reflection; the quilt is being woven: it is about wholeness, the coming together of all that is you to make something that is greater than the sum of its parts; and it also holds the people who have been part of your life. Your story is God’s story lived out in you, and it is also the story of the whole human family which is not complete until your part of it is told and welcomed.

2. A Film of My Life: If you were to make a film of your life, within the inclusive framework opposite, what might you include and who would be in the credits?

3. The River of My Life: You may like to image the journey of your life as a river, sometimes calm an restful; sometimes bubbling with delight; sometimes having to negotiate rocks, dams and other obstacles; sometimes going underground, and out of sight, even to yourself; sometimes feeling dried up and lost in the wilderness; with tributaries feeding into you; and heading for the sea!

4. A Mountain Pathway: What difficulties does the path run into? What special views along the way have left you with a sense of joy and wonder? What signposts have been helpful to you? What major milestones do you feel you have passed, and how do you feel about them? What important discoveries have there been along the path? Where did the path begin and where is it leading you? What ‘baggage’ are you carrying, and do you ever wish it were not so heavy? Which companions have been alongside you at different times? What landmarks have guided you on your journey?

5. Travelling with Jesus to Emmaus (Lk 24: 15-35): We believe, as Christians, that Jesus walks alongside us on our life’s path. Imagine that you are one of those travelers. Let the gentle stranger come up beside you and draw you into conversation. He asks about your story, and why you are making this journey. He asks how you feel about the events of your own life’s story. Don’t be afraid to show him your negative feelings as well as the happier memories. After a while you come to a cross-roads. The stranger appears to be going straight on, but night is falling and you need to stop over in the inn. How do you feel about your walk with the stranger? What happens next in your imagination?


You shall cross the barren desert

But you shall not die of thirst

You shall wander far in safety

Though you do not know the way.

You shall speak your words in foreign lands

And all will understand

You shall see the face of God and live.

Refrain: Be not afraid

I go before you always

Come follow Me

And I shall give you rest.


If you pass through raging waters

In the sea, you shall not drown

If you walk amidst the burning flames

You shall not be harmed.

If you stand before the pow’r of hell

And death is at your side

Know that I am with you, through it all.

Refrain: Be not afraid

I go before you always

Come follow Me

And I shall give you rest.

Blessed are your poor

For the Kingdom shall be theirs

Blest are you that weep and mourn

For one day you shall laugh.

And if wicked men insult and hate you

All because of Me

Blessed, blessed are you!

Refrain: Be not afraid

I go before you always

Come follow Me

And I shall give you rest.

Do not be Afraid – St Louis Jesuits & Bob Dufford, S.J.

These moments – holy, precious, sweet – all collied together in a symphony of song.

Where the simple cascades over the complicated

Where the beauty rushes over the mundane

For this is a sacred story.

A story that continues on and has no end

A story that echos the first mark on the page that started it all

This is a sacred story.

One that is a page turner, a can’t put it down kind of read

Where adventure lays within each chapter and hope within every letter placed.

Yes, this is a sacred story.

A redeemed one

A restored one

An unfinished on that daily is being written

And you are the vital piece, the character the Author has dreamt of and imagined and has placed you into the existence of His story.

And my what grand mysteries await as we venture forth as the Author makes the next stroke of the pen upon the paper – He is the greatest storyteller and with Him it only get’s better!

With Him it only get’s wilder!

With Him it is how the story becomes complete!

For through Him and by Him are all things

Yes through Him and by Him

Through Him and by Him

Through Him by Him

And this is the sacred story

Like the Frodo Baggins or the Samwise Gamgee’s we are apart of something much larger than ourselves.

And while the part you are in right now does not seem significant He who writes the story has chosen you for THIS SPECIFIC REASON

You have chosen to risk on the Author and step into the larger story being told – leaving the comfortable and stepping in the the unknown.

And while you cannot see what is ahead He who promised is faithful

For this is a sacred story

He knows the fellowship needed, the ones to come alongside you in the your greatest times of need.

Bonds unbroken and a lifetime of cherished moments.

And my it’ll be worth it, this sacred story.

For it is only the beginning of the real story – we’ve only been at the cover and the title page: now at last we are at the beginning of Chapter one of the sacred story

Which no one has read,

Which goes on forever,

Which only gets better with ever turn of the page.

For this is a sacred story

This is a sacred story

This a sacred story

This sacred story

  1. Complete any unfinished parts of what we did in the session especially related to sections A to C.

  2. Read the article on the webpage: Your History, Your Mystery (Silf).

  3. Continue what you have begun over the weeks ahead, praying with different parts of your story as it surfaces and become aware of how you might ‘capture’ it for further contemplation. You may want to leverage Section D for this purpose.

  4. Try to schedule ideally one day each quarter to revisit your sacred story, to contemplate it further and to add to it events from the most recent time frame. Each time you contemplate it you may find a new depth of meaning.

LINK: S19: Your History, Your Mystery (Silf)

LINK: S19, My personal Story – PowerPoint presentation