How Fairy Tales Open Doors to Authentic Spiritual Growth

Paul Keggington

July 05, 2010
Fairy Tales Open Door to Spirituality

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Ruth Ann Myers, OSF, encourages the writing of fairy tales to open the door to authentic spiritual growth.

Just about everyone loves the fairy tale, and just about everyone loves the deeply spiritual person, that is the authentically spiritual person. We see this authenticity in the wholeness of Jesus who reveals to us the mysterious Transcendence of God. We are drawn to this Transcendence because we sense something of this within ourselves. The fairy tale helps us to imagine this SOMETHING, not yet present, but potentially possible. We begin to feel a little of the magic of who we are called to be with possibilities beyond what seem realizable.

Both the fairy tale and the Bible use images and symbols to take us beyond ourselves into the mystery of the Transcendent. Jesus tells us that he is the Light of the world and that we, too, are Light. The more we explore the natural light of the universe, the more we begin to sense a little of the magnificence of God and how awesome it is to participate in this Life/Light. Light transforms darkness into light, heals the wounded, brings warmth into the cold, gives energy to the weak, and transforms what is not yet into what is.

Entrance into the Kingdom requires us to overcome obstacles and rise above tragedy. So, too, in the fairy tale. The prince may have to slay the dragon to win the princess, quite an impossible task. But suddenly unexpected help comes, e.g. a miraculous sword puts the dragon to sleep.

We, too, may be faced with something so difficult, we think we can’t do it. We cannot forgive the person who has permanently harmed us, or give up the possessions that have become life for us, or turn away from immediate pleasures that block out the longer spiritual journey. All seems hopeless. Then unexpected help comes: a grace, an angel in human form, a book that inspires, heals, melts our heart.

In the fairy tale, all ends well and the prince and princess live happily ever after. So, too, with our spiritual journey. All ends well and everyone lives happily ever after.

The Gospels do not end with the crucifixion. They end with the Resurrection. So, too, our lives do not end with tragedy, not in a eternal sense. Instead, new life comes out of our death.

Write your own fairy tale. Put your life into symbolic language. Don’t forget the happy ending.

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