Growing in Spiritual Friendship

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Spiritual Friendship - Co-Workers in the Vineyard club fair booth. Photo by Emily Ashman

At this time in our education and lives, it is likely that most students are in their own kind of survival mode. For the juniors and seniors, the past two weeks was the third temporary school-wide shutdown of our collegiate career. The days feel long, and finding motivation becomes difficult in the stream of never-ending homework. It is likely that many students have become lonely and isolated, making even the smallest tasks challenging. 

Even as these restrictions begin to lift, the motivation and drive to endure in schoolwork can be difficult to recover. 

During this time, where everything is uncertain and no days are guaranteed to be maskless or in-person, it is vital to find ways to keep our faith alive. Our school takes pride in how many faithful, Catholic students are within our community. This is something that cannot and should not fade. 

The times that are the most challenging are the times in which seeking God is the most necessary. Seeking Him in communion with the Body of Christ that surrounds us is the only way to fight isolation. 

In Genesis 2:18, God states that “it is not good for the man to be alone.” God has made us to be a communal people that must love each other simply to survive. One of the best ways to grow throughout your life, and especially grow in spirituality, is by having friendships of a spiritual character that add accountability for faith. These friendships mutually check each other when things are difficult and help remind you to turn to God. 

There are many programs around campus that can help you seek community and grow within your faith life, such as FOCUS, Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord, and Campus Ministry. Co-Workers, a student led organization, creates small groups that help to aid your spiritual adventure. Each week the groups get together and attend events such as Mass or Reconciliation. They host Bible studies, or simply gather together to discuss what battles they might be facing within their faith lives.

Groups such as Co-Workers provide a chance to be together and to actively pursue those things that allow everyone to grow and flourish within their faith. The club leaders work to help others in this community navigate different aspects of their spirituality and faith. It is of great importance to seek out how the Lord continues to move through life, despite the challenging circumstances that are forever present in the world. 

Being a member of Co-Workers has allowed me to grow with other members serving on the executive team. Because we did not have our own small groups, we were able to make our own as the executive team. There were planning sessions that would turn into a gathering to talk about things we were struggling with and were able to get aid from each other. 

Whether it was at Waffle House or one of our apartments, we found ways to be there for each other and utilize the club for what we designed it for. These friendships have remained intact despite the challenges we face and still trying to run the club, we always find ways to be there for each other and check in to make sure all is well. 

As Lumen Gentium made clear, everyone has a universal call to holiness. In order to act on this call, there must be a continual strengthening of faith and deepening of spirituality. Because Catholics are to live in communion and create the Body of Christ.

This is affirmed by 1 Corinthians 12:27 that tells us, “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.” We are all called as members of the Church to live as one. To create this unity we must work together and help each other through the difficult or happy moments that are placed within our lives.  

There is no better place to create the foundation for lifelong spiritual friendships than in the great community that is the University of Dallas. 

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