2009-2010 Notre Dame Vision (Mentor-in-Faith)
University of Notre Dame, Class of 2010
I would like to share a letter I wrote to my good friend, James. He and I inadvertently met seven summers ago at World Youth Day in Germany. Although James lived in England, we joined together our thoughts and our prayers by exchanging countless emails. My prayer life has grown and continues to grow through my relationship with James. He is one of my most cherished companions in faith.
I am thrilled to sit down finally and write a much needed note to you. Thank you for sharing in recent experiences of my life that continue the journey we started at World Youth Day together. For this, I am so grateful. Our faith was the bond that brought us together in the first place, and our shared passion for writing allowed us to strengthen our friendship with one another and with God.
As you know James, I have faced many joys and struggles since we last saw each other in Europe. Your words of support helped me mourn the death of my two grandfathers. When pressures at school became overbearing, you reminded me to turn to the sacraments. You offered most sincere opinions on the tough decision of where to attend college.
I hope and pray that my letters have provided the same sustenance for your faith life that you have given to me. I shared in your pain during the dark moments of your health battle with Cystic Fibrosis. I prayed ceaselessly for your recovery when you were gravely sick. When I visited you at your gravesite, your twin-sister reminded me that our common devotion to Our Mother Mary assisted you on your road to salvation.
My dear brother in Christ, can you ever know how much your letters answered my prayers? I know positively that God’s words appeared in my inbox, with your name as a pseudonym. How blessed you are to be an instrument of God.
For both of us, writing served as a way to say what we could not say in person. As prayer partners, we grew comfortable talking about deep spiritual issues. Those aspects of life I feared discussing with others, I admitted to you. I requested you remember my intentions, and I did the same for yours. You were present, despite being miles away. Those silent sentences, however, were delivered to someone besides you James. My emails were prayers to God.
James, I think we both know one of the most fruitful ways to sort through a problem is to write it down. Through writing about recent events, we process our thoughts more fully. Our back and forth letters became a journal, with the added benefit of trusting your best friend to read it. I did not mind you reading my prayers because I quickly learned that God was near when you answered.
Thank you James for being interested in my welfare, as God and a friend would be. You had confidence in me and you affirmed the good in me. Most of all, thank you for helping me identify what was wrong in my life and calling on me to make changes. Through you, God intervened and moved me to take action.
God called you to be with him James, but that does not mean you will stop receiving and hearing my prayers and thoughts. I will be even more accountable to prayer knowing that there is nothing I can hide from you. While I know you are never disappointed in me, I do not want to forget what you have taught me. You inspired me to be faithful and truthful, contemplative and reflective. The words may be silent and the task may be great, but it is nearly impossible to ignore a friend.
James, pray that I may respond quickly and earnestly to the messages I receive.
Your sister in Christ,
Editor’s Note: For other reflections pertaining to All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, please see the previous post on this blog, as well as a series of reflections on our sister blog, Oblation.