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Walking Together in Suffering

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30 Days with Teresa of Avila (Week 6 of 6)

…He is a most faithful friend. Let us feel confident that He has considered what is best for souls — all else matters little in comparison. Eternal weal or woe is what signifies; so I beg of you, for love of our Lord, not to brood over your reasons for sorrow but to think about what is consoling.

Day 28, St. Teresa's letter, paragraph 3

How do we help our friends when they are crushed by the sorrows the Lord permits them to suffer? It is a matter of being a good neighbor who will have the courage to stand with those we love before the inscrutable secrets of divine judgment.

Day 28, reflection, paragraph 1

Walking Together in Suffering

I finished this book weeks ago. In fact, I read it in just a few sessions. So there was really no excuse for me to not have my post finished in plenty of time.

And yet I still failed. As I write this, I've missed my deadline by a lot. Two whole days. (Apologies for the late post, everyone..but I can't help but feel like maybe I can use this as fodder for my reflection…)

That's forced me to go back and reread sections to prepare for this writing, and that's been good. I've also dipped back into it for other reasons.

Again and again, I find that God is really using St. Teresa's words to touch me, to reach me where I am, whether I'm a flustered, chaotic, mentally unstable mess or a calm, focused, task-oriented force. (I'm exaggerating, yes. But only slightly.)

It seems there is no shortage of trials, whether it's exploding diapers or exploding emails. Whether it's drama I have to juggle or tasks I have to prioritize, the wrenches that can so easily turn me into a frazzle seem to be just waiting.

Do I read this as God sending me trials? So this is all on purpose?

What caught my eye in this is the need to rely on God's mercy.

And in that mercy, he has surrounded me with friends. Some of those friends and family members are people who are covering me with prayer and support. Others are people who I'm walking with spiritually, remembering them as I go about my day, trying to offer my silly little hurdles for what I know are gigantic battles for them.

St. Teresa has helped me understand why I have such a soft spot for certain intentions, and she's also helped me to appreciate that. Somehow, I seem to get connected to those people who need my prayers to help them through a challenge I really identify with. In the moment, I always bemoan that all I can offer is my prayers. And yet, looking back, I can see how the effort I put forth, however small it seemed, was as much a blessing to me as to the person who needed it. I can't help but think, maybe I was the person who needed it, not the person for whom I was praying!

I hate watching people I love suffer. I hate it as a mother, I hate it as a friend, I hate it as a child. It pains me even when I'm hearing about a stranger, especially if they've just suffered miscarriage or lost a spouse. I find myself adding names of strangers to my prayer lists because I hear they long for children.

And it is this, I think, that God is trying to get me to understand through St. Teresa. This is what loving one another looks like in practice (at least in part).

Reading Assignment:

Join us May 26, 2015 as we begin our journey through The Confessions of Saint Augustine.

Discussion Questions:

1. How have you walked with your friends as they've suffered? How have others walked with you?

2. Who can you offer your suffering and trials for in a special way today?

Feel free to comment on anything from our assignment this past week!

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About Sarah Reinhard

Sarah Reinhard continues to delight ”and be challenged by” her vocations of Catholic wife and mother. She's online at SnoringScholar.com and is the author of a number of books for families.

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