Spiritual friendship


In order to be able to act so ‘purely’, we saw that we need to be aware of what hinders us. But we are not alone in this endeavour: the Divine within us guides and heals us by releasing and thus healing the memories and their associated wounds gradually over time – purely by bringing them to our awareness. We open ourselves to this by entering the silence of deep prayer, to which meditation leads.


But sometimes the Divine within needs someone else to be His/Her eyes, ears and hands to facilitate this process: “How great are the needs of your creatures on this earth, O God. They sit there, talking quietly and quite unsuspecting, and suddenly their need erupts in all its nakedness. Then, there they are, bundles of human misery, desperate and unable to face life. And that’s when my task begins. One must …. clear the path towards you in them, God, and to do that one must be a keen judge of the human soul…I embark on a slow voyage of exploration with everyone who comes to me…And I thank you for the gift to be able to read people.” 

(Etty Hillesum, ‘An interrupted Life’)


Telling our story, telling our truth, in a journal, to a therapist or to a good friend helps awareness and has a healing effect. The result of this is often that the suppressed, rejected part of us gets accepted and thus integrated in the whole of our being. Awareness is the key. Being awake in life, leads to realising our full potential and remembering our true nature.

The emphasis on not judging we discussed last week has love/compassion at its foundation, as we can see from what Jesus says in Matthew 25: 35 -41 in the final comment: “I tell you this: anything you did for one of my brothers [and sisters] here, however humble, you did for me.” We need always to keep in mind, what John Main also expressed: “Jesus has sent his Spirit to dwell within us, making all of us temples of holiness – God himself dwelling within us.” “We know then that we share in the nature of God” Therefore we are not separate but instead we share the same ground of our being: we all are ‘children of God’ and we all have the ‘Kingdom of God’ within us – the Presence of God, the Christ within. If we hurt others with our negative behaviour we hurt ourselves as much and also the God who is the interconnecting force of Love.

As John Main always emphasized there is no better proof of our progressing on our spiritual path than the increasing way we interact with others with love. When he was asked how we should prepare for meditation, he stressed by ‘many acts of kindness.’ But that is truly only possible, when we have accepted ourselves too ‘warts and all’ with compassion. 

This same link between God and compassion for others we find in the teaching of the Desert Fathers and Mothers: “Abba Anthony said again’ ‘Life and death depend on our neighbour. If we gain our brother we gain God. But if we scandalise our brother we are sinning against God.”  

Evagrius towards the end of his writing On Prayer stressed this point too in several sayings:

“Happy is the monk who views the welfare and progress of all men with as much joy as if it were his own.”

“Happy is the monk who considers all men as god- after God.”

“A monk is a man who considers himself one with all men because he seems constantly to see himself in every man.”


Let me finish with the beautiful saying of John Main: “Only when we live in and from love do we know that miraculous harmony and integration of our whole being which makes us fully human.” (John Main The Inner Christ)

Image by sasint from Pixabay
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