John 3:16
February 17, 2024
February 17, 2024
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Day Four of Lent – Spiritual Friendship

Day Four of Lent
Spiritual Friendship

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. – John 19-26

By the providence and will of God, our Blessed Mother was not at the foot of the Cross alone. She was joined by two other holy women as well as by Saint John the Apostle. Together they stood at the foot of the sacrifice of Jesus.

The strength of our Blessed Mother was unmatched. She and she alone could have stood at the foot of the Cross gazing in faith and perfect trust as she watched her Son endure His sacrifice. However, it was the will of the Father in Heaven that she not endure this alone. She was given certain spiritual companions with whom she would walk through this suffering.

In many ways, our Blessed Mother was more of a pillar of strength for her companions than they were for her. But we can also be certain that she allowed the companionship of Saint John and these holy women to bring comfort and strength to her own heart.

It is not the will of God that we face the hardships of life alone. Even if we were as strong and immaculate as our Blessed Mother, we could still be certain that God would want us to face the challenges of life with the assistance and consolation of others. Human life is made for communion with one another. Offering and receiving strength and consolation makes up part of who we are. Therefore, we must allow this holy scene at the foot of the cross to remind us of our need for the spiritual friendship of others. We must daily seek to embrace those friendships that God has given us and be open to new ones that He sends our way.

Reflect, today, upon two things. First, reflect in gratitude upon the people in your life who act as a source of strength and support in times of need. No one but Jesus and our Blessed Mother will be a perfect support, but if we are open, we will come to realize that there are many whom God uses to offer us strength and support in various ways. Reflect, also, upon those who need your spiritual friendship. Who has God placed on your heart to reach out to and to console? Stand with them, at the foot of their daily crosses, and together you will be gazing at our Lord Himself.


Dearest Mother, as you stood at the foot of the Cross you were joined by Saint John and the holy women. You allowed them to be a source of consolation to you who were immaculate in every way. You invited them into your own grieving heart and allowed their mutual love of your Son to bring you joy and strength.

Dear Mother, draw me also close to your heart. May I also become a spiritual consolation to you in this agony. As I do so, I trust that this closeness to you will also be a source of consolation to me in my suffering and pain. I thank you for standing by me throughout life and I renew my trust in your motherly care.

My dear Jesus, you draw me to Yourself and invite me to gaze upon You in Your agony. As I do so, give me the grace of true friends who will join me in my gaze of love towards you. May these friends strengthen me and may I always provide consolation to those in need.

40 Days Journey with Our Lord
Day Four: Dryness

Today, we ponder the dryness of the desert. One symbolic lesson the desert teaches is that prayer and fasting do not always produce the emotional consolation of “rain” we might desire. If prayer and fasting always produced an abundance of interior consolation and emotional satisfaction, it would be easier to quickly embrace those practices. But if they did always flood our souls with emotional consolation, then we would simply be building a habit of practicing prayer and fasting for the sake of indulging ourselves with those consolations. We would be greatly tempted to continually seek good feelings, rather than the God Who sometimes produces those feelings.

Often, at the very beginning of one’s spiritual life of prayer and fasting, God does flood the soul with these spiritual consolations. When a baby is learning to walk, a mother cheers her child on, encouraging every step. As the child receives those tender and motherly encouragements, taking another step becomes another delight. But eventually, once the child learns to walk, a mother stops her continuous praises for walking.

Similarly, God will often offer much interior encouragement to you when you take the first step of enthusiastically embracing a life of prayer and fasting. But just as the goal of taking one’s first steps is to learn how to walk without constant encouragement, so also the purpose of taking the initial and wholehearted step of engaging in prayer and penance is to form a habit of sacrificial living that can be lived even within the experience of interior dryness.

If you truly want to imitate our Lord, then follow Him into the desert by first building a habit of prayer and fasting. Then continue that newly formed habit, even when you do not immediately perceive a benefit, such as emotional or spiritual satisfaction. Fast and pray in the desert. Fear not if there is dryness. When dryness sets in, let it be the cause of gratitude. It’s as if God is saying to you, “You have learned to walk; now persevere in this newly formed spiritual habit to fulfill My holy will, even during times of dryness.”

Ponder, today, the dryness of the desert as an image that you will undoubtedly experience within your soul. Run to it. Allow the Holy Spirit to drive you there and lead you so that you can begin—with fortitude and perseverance—to use these newly formed habits of prayer and fasting to better accomplish the mission God has given to you.


My Lord of dryness, You know just what I need. You know when I need the tender encouragement of consolation, and You know when dryness in my spiritual practices will help strengthen me and deepen my resolve to follow You. Please grant me the graces of fortitude and perseverance in the spiritual practices of prayer and fasting so that I will grow more deeply in conformity with You.

Mother Mary, pray for us. Jesus, I trust in You.

Source: mycatholiclife

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