Sirach Friends

“Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter; whoever finds one finds a treasure.
Faithful friends are beyond price, no amount can balance their worth.
Faithful friends are life-saving medicine; those who fear God will find them.”
       Sirach 6:14-16
  
Beautiful women are one of God’s absolutely most amazing gifts to humankind.

If you know one, you know what I mean. If you know one, you understand that I’m not talking about only physical beauty, I’m talking about soul-beauty. Some saints have remarked that we should be like “panes of glass,” windows letting the light of Christ shine into a dark world as clearly as possible.

I actually have been blessed to know several of these women. This particular post is inspired by one of them, a truly lovely woman who “window-panes” really well.

I spent last weekend with her, and as I left I had an unfortunate sinking feeling accompanied by the thought: “Oh, crap, now I have to go back to working hard at being holy.”

She makes it SO easy to focus on God, to live in joy, to rest in trust…I felt like her love was holding me close to Christ every moment I spent with her.

But, as it turned out, her prayers and the gentle words of encouragement she shared with me remained, a warm layer of protection around my lately-fragile heart.

Imagine a rower who gets in the boat, understands what is necessary to move the boat, but refuses to exert the necessary effort to row or even to pick up the oars. Then the rower starts to get frustrated about not moving.

Deep down I knew I’d been clinging to distractions because they were less work than what I was actually supposed to be doing. Deep down I knew, to get anywhere, I had to quit wallowing and start rowing.

But all the pep talks I was trying to give myself weren’t working so well. Several times I explained to myself: “Listen, kid – you’re supposed to be working on T-R-U-S-T.”

The main effect of these little self-lectures was the inclination to throw a fit and scream: “Well, WHY? Didn’t we already work on that? What’s even the point? I realize I’m supposed to wait on God and all, but how long will be long enough? Why should I even bother to budge if I don’t even know where we’re going?”

I’m kind of hoping you can relate to this.

Otherwise that just makes me a spiritual brat, huh?

Anyway.

So, there I was, stuck on the shore, hesitating to answer St. Josemaria’s cry to “throw aside the pessimism that paralyzes you, launch out into the deep!”

Then, God in His goodness shipped me off to a weekend with this beautiful friend, and gave her words which poured themselves like a healing balm into the ache that had frozen me. She reminded me of how God uses His children to reveal Himself to the world. If the world acts in defiance of some particular trait of God, He will raise up saints who particularly model that trait as a witness to the world.

And what is the world more fixated on than the satisfaction of self? And in this fixation, what does our world forget more than the enduring faithfulness of God, His desire to provide all things in His perfect timing for His beloved children?



So, what if God wanted me to fall so deeply into a relationship of trust with Him, that I would start rowing diligently toward the One Whom Chesterton rightly calls “the blazing Sun of our mortal midnight” … without hesitating to ask how long it would take to reach Him?

What if, like Simon Peter, I wanted just to be with Him, and leapt forward without pausing to demand how such a thing might be possible?

What if I chose to focus on the fact that the wait was meant to perfect my desires, not to stifle them?

What if I fell at the feet of the Divine Lover and begged, “I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief.”

This is the answer, the truth that needs to sink into our hearts:

“Blessed are those who trust in the LORD;
the LORD will be their trust.
They are like a tree planted beside the waters
that stretches out its roots to the stream:
It does not fear heat when it comes,
its leaves stay green;
In the year of drought it shows no distress,
but still produces fruit.”
– Jeremiah 17:7-8
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