photo (used with permission) courtesy of Raising Ecstasy
*I write this on the occasion of St. Teresa of Avila, 'our' favorite saint...
Close your eyes
"Wait..." he told me as I began to pray...
"Breathe love first..." I breathed him...
"Slow down..." and I placed my hand on his chest to take the rhythm of his heart beat...
A few months ago, my good friend in the Purpose Driven Life sessions, challenged me to finish one drawing I had since 2010... he, like the others, was so eager to see me committing myself to a man...
I looked at my Vision Board and saw a bride and a bridegroom on the right, a family, and a mother holding a child. I've always had conflict with my desires for I never have fully felt the 'need' to have someone at the moment.
"Please... please don't start drawing Jesus. You've already come out of the convent... Draw a man you've dreamed of becoming your husband in the future..." my PDL friend chided.
I knew in my heart what I have asked Jesus for.
Fall in Love
To see Jesus face-to-face...
To encounter Him in a personal manner...
and to experience real love... ~ these were my deepest desires.
Jesus gave me a spiritual companion...
There was a shift from the love I first came to know in this world ~ from looking at each other to fixing our gaze at the face of Jesus on the Cross.
"In a spiritual friendship, there is no possession at all."
~Ronda Chervin, Spiritual Friendship: Darkness and Light, 34~
The only time my spiritual companion looked at my direction was when he asked me to pray with him at specific hours in the morning and evening.
With the time difference we had, he reminded me of the importance of holding the world together through prayer. I slept, he worked and vice versa... and we met each other at our hours of prayer.
I never thought such friendship could exist between two persons especially in this age.
At those hours when I read and opened Facebook or worked early morning as soon as I woke up, he took me out to pray the rosary and we prayed Lauds/Vespers together.
He directed me to the 'hidden life' and re-arranged ALL my schedules. He never spoke of earthly things but of the life that awaits us with Christ where, he said, we shall meet one day. He allowed me to re-experience religious life especially my novitiate years.
"... in friendship are joined honor and charm, truth and joy, sweeetness and goodwill, affection and action. And all these take their beginnings from Christ, advance through Christ and are perfected in Christ. ... And thus, friend cleaving to friend in the spirit of Christ, is made with Christ but one heart and one soul ..."~Aelred of Rievaulx, Spiritual Friendship 1977:74-75, 2:20-21
I knew in my heart, this wasn't an angel but Jesus Himself visiting me through this person.
To him, I was Jesus' white rose in the garden of love which the Bridegroom asked him to tend and take care of while he was around.
Donald Nicholl in his book Holiness wrote,
"everyone needs a soul-friend, someone who loves you so much that he will never allow you to stray from the path of holiness..."
~excerpts lifted from Ronda Chervin, Spiritual friendship: Light and Darkness, 45~
I was moved to tears because of the purity this friendship brought.
I remembered, how at the time of my Ignatian retreat, the fear of relating with others especially with the opposite sex surfaced. I thought by not relating with men at all, I was living a chaste life.
My friend taught me to love fearlessly ~ to love LOVE Himself not just the person giving it. It is in this way that love is purified and perfected by Christ.
Stay in Love
Our moments together intensified when he said he awaits the new life ahead of him after ten years of commitment to the Lord. There will come a time when he has to be assigned to another place and our meetings will be less or come to an end.
In a dream I had, I spoke with Jesus and asked Him why, "Why in such a short time? Why leave?"
And Jesus in that dream brought me to His Mother. And showed me three phases of His life: His birth, death and resurrection.
In all those occasions, Mary was there. She didn't understand everything from the Annunciation to His death. A sword pierced Her heart (Luke 2,35). But She stood there for Him at the foot of the Cross. And at the Resurrection, at Mary's death, He took Her with Him to Paradise.
I related this to my spiritual companion and he told me that Jesus and Mama Mary are 'twin souls ~ twin hearts."
"What is beautiful about union in friendship is that such times of greater distance will be accepted, no matter how painful, for the friends could find each other in prayer where the apex of each soul is in touch with Christ."
~Ronda Chervin, Spiritual Friendship: Darkness and Light, 48
And this will be my role to him, to stand by him until Jesus' revelations take place ~ to gently and quietly offer him to God, Who is the Author and Source of this friendship.
And he told me, in return, he'll be Jesus' burnt offering ~ and his prayers will be offered to the world in dire need of them.
"It is lovely to be able to love on earth as one loves in Heaven."
~ Intro to the Devout Life III, 19
Yes, a friendship that will last for all eternity... truly a glimpse of Heaven ~
Love at the springtime of my life.
So to that precious friend who has accompanied me spiritually these months ~
"We are united in prayers and in love in Jesus."
And I thank the Lord for this wonderful surprise He has brought into my life...
I think of you...
Spiritual Friendship by Aelred of Rievaulx
Spiritual Friendship: Darkness and Light by Ronda Chervin
Aelred of Rievaulx: On Spiritual Friendship by Patricia Carroll, OCSO
St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross by Jenny Schroedel
How to Develop Spiritual Friendships by Mary de Turris Poust