ColumnsDisciple’s Corner

Christian friends keep the fire burning brightly

We love to sit by a campfire and watch its bright flames dance and feel its warmth. To keep a campfire burning, it’s best to keep the logs close together so that they can feed off each other’s heat. Each log burns stronger and longer than if it were separated from the others. So it is with us. To keep the fire of our faith burning, it is important that we have strong Christian friendships. We need brothers and sisters who are also seeking Christ, to walk with us on our jour­ney and help us grow in our relationship with Christ.

[ms-protect-content id=”1339,323,1059,1325,324,257,322,6459″]

This doesn’t just mean having friends who happen to be Catholic. We need close friends with whom we can rise above the trivial and talk about things that really matter – God, prayer, overcoming struggles in our life, building strong marriages and families. We need brothers and sisters who can encourage us in our faith journey, hold us accountable and keep us on track.

Where do we find these Christian friends? In our marriage, we are Christian friends to each other. Spouses and other family members can be good Christian friends to us. New friendships may begin by participating in a small faith sharing group or service organization at your parish or in the archdiocese. Retreats and con­ferences also offer a great opportunity to get to know others who are working to keep the flame of their faith bright.

We have participated in small faith sharing groups and book clubs in our parish. We’ve attended Alpha, CEW retreat weekends, men’s/women’s conferences and Bible studies. Dave has attended Men of Action, a weekly 6 a.m. men’s group at our parish for over 20 years. The men in this group have become close Christian friends who have supported each other through difficult times, celebrated impor­tant events, and encouraged each other to continue to grow and keep bright the flame of their faith. Pat has met ­regularly with a close Christian friend for many years. They talk about how they are growing in their faith, the challenges they are facing, their roles as wives and mothers and share life’s faith journey together.

We are both participating in IMPACT. This is a two-year lay formation program through the Archdiocese of Dubuque. Not only has IMPACT helped us grow deeper in our faith and help discern how we are called to serve the Lord, but we’ve also gained close Christian friends in our small faith sharing groups. A new IMPACT session will be starting next fall. Registration will soon be open.

When one of the logs in the campfire rolls away from the others, its flame won’t burn as brightly and will soon extinguish. The same thing can happen to us without true Christian friends. Authentic Christian friendships are vital for our walk with the Lord. They help us grow as disciples, navigate the challenging times in our lives and keep our focus on God. Strong Christian friendships help stoke the fire of our Christian faith and keep it burning brightly.

 Dave and Pat Airy have been married for 34 years. They have three adult children, a son-in-law and a 2-year-old grandson. They live in Cedar Rapids and are charter members of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Hiawatha.

 The Disciple’s Corner is sponsored by the Archdiocese of Dubuque’s Office of Faith Formation and Education and is funded through the Archdiocesan Educational Development Board. It is designed to help catechists, teachers, parents, grandparents, guardians and other adults grow in their appreciation of their role as disciples of Jesus Christ.