Friends are gifts from God. Think about your life-long best friend for a moment. Why have you been friends for so long? What keeps your relationship so strong? Certain people come into our lives for a time, and then major life changes, like a job change, or a move across country separates you and the friendship wanes. Yet, with your life-long best friend, neither time and/or space seem to matter. Why do you think that is?
Certain relationships can weather… Read more…
A true friend loves without fail; that is the foundation of true friendship. True friendship requires mutual love between parties. How does a friendship result? First, you identify common interests. Next you perceive desirable character traits in each other. You are drawn to each other, and want to mutually pursue getting to know each other better. Through the interchange of dialogue, you come to know more about each other, and the friendship blossoms. You build trust with each other. Before you know it, you have mutual love for each other, and call each other friend.
The same can be true for our relationship with God. Read more…
Friendship as defined by Jesus through the writings of the Apostle, Saint John:
No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you, and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another. (John 15:13-17).
Let’s unpack this statement, one point at a time. Read more…
|Self Portrait with a Friend by Rafael.
In the middle of Lent, I received an email from a new reader I’ll call Jill. Jill shared with me her years of darkness in her personal and spiritual life. My heart went out to her. I wanted to do something for her, more than just writing an encouraging answer. So I thought about it and prayed about it. Then I had an insight.
Here, in part, is how I replied:
“I explore these questions [about God and suffering] a lot in my book. I will give you a brief version here. Rabbi Kushner, writing in When Bad Things Happen to Good People, said that we shouldn’t ask why when we suffer. Instead, we should ask, What now? How am I to react?
Finding meaning in our suffering“Similarly, Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning wrote, “Suffering ceases to be suffering in some way in the moment that it finds a meaning.” He found that in the concentration camp, those who were able to survive and be psychologically sound found a purpose in their suffering. For Frankl himself, that purpose was to rewrite the manuscript of his book on helping his psychiatric patients find meaning in life. The Nazis had destroyed his manuscript when he was stripped of his possessions at the camp. So over the years he rewrote the manuscript, partly in his head and partly on any strips of paper he could find. He had the will to survive so he could publish his work…
“My question for your situation then was, How can your suffering become purposeful? Some people would counsel you to offer up your suffering. But if you are unable to complete even small projects because your darkness has sapped all your energy, offering it up may just be beyond your strength. What then?
Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.