Sometimes, I am not who I appeared to be. I am a wife, a mother, a teacher, a writer and a catechist, but I am also a prayer warrior! It is not unusual for my cell phone to explode with text messages and calls at all hours from people who need prayer. At these times, I feel like I am at the battle with Moses and I am Aaron, holding up Moses’ arms in prayer when he gets tired.
Other times, I find myself in the role of Moses, too tired to continue; I am filled with worry, so all-consuming, that my I cannot find the words or desire to pray for myself. That is when I call on my friends to be Aaron to me.
This is a unique gift of friendship and fellowship that we, as Christians, are invited into in a special way. Examples of this faithfulness are evident in Sacred Scripture since Adam and Eve, continuing with Naomi and Ruth and even St. Paul and St. Luke. By studying them we can learn how to best assist others in our lives. Holding up a friend often requires a gift of self and attendance.
Eve was created to be a companion to Adam. He describes her as “flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone.” Her very existence was designed to be friend and spouse to Adam. They worked together, they spoke to God together, they relaxed and enjoyed one another’s company. These are the building blocks of Christian friendship.
In the Old Testament book of Ruth, Naomi was left alone following the death of her husband, she must have been afraid. When trying to convince her daughters-in-law to leave (so that they may have a chance to remarry and be cared for) she described her situation by saying, “No, my daughters, my lot is too bitter for you, because the LORD has extended his hand against me.” (Ruth 1:13) Yet, in friendship, Ruth chose to stay with Naomi pledging her love and support until death. When she promised to follow Naomi’s God she was also reminding her mother-in-law to stay strong and faithful. True support requires helping others to remain strong in their faith when it has been shaken. Staying close, when a sister-in-Christ needs us, is one way to hold another up.
St. Luke shows another example of how our presence can be a prayer and salve of its own. St. Paul describes his own impending death and his feelings of loneliness, even desertion (2 Timothy 4:11), but makes note of Luke’s support and his own need for additional help. “Luke is the only one with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is helpful to me in the ministry.”
When we feel helpless to aid our friends in their struggles, we can always walk with them through the difficulties and increase our prayers for them. We can pray when they cannot; remind them of their own faith. Finally, we can assist them with practical solutions when possible (organize meals, reach out to listen, point them to resources).
We can be Aaron to them.
Copyright 2016 Mary Lou Rosien