Needing A Faithful Friend


Needing A Faithful Friend



Everyone’s been stressed or lonely at some point in their life and
wanted to reach out and talk to someone. But in today’s world, being
Catholic means having to discern carefully the kind of advice being
given. If you or someone you care about has a need for a Catholic voice
to talk to, then a new ministry A Faithful Friend, is what you are
looking for.



The founder of AFF remains anonymous as a confidential listener, and explains the beginnings of the organization this way—


"Some
years ago when I was struggling with all the feelings surrounding
caring for my mother who was ill, I found myself desperate for someone
to talk with who would understand what I was feeling and could help me
sort things through. I had volunteered as a ‘listener’ on a crisis
hotline some years prior, but being Catholic I wanted someone who could
understand the spiritual aspects of my situation as well.”



It is those “spiritual aspects” that form the heart of AFF’s mission.
Fidelity to the teachings of the Church is the cornerstone of this
apostolate and when AFF offers insight it keeps it related to
magisterial teaching, which can be looked up and referenced while the
caller is on the phone.



But beyond guidance, A Faithful
Friend
is about listening to someone rather than preaching to them.
People who call a support line typically do so to talk with someone who
understands their feelings and will be neutral. Through letting someone
talk their feelings out, the caller may be led to the teachings of the
Church—the only time an AFF listener will step into the area of
guidance. And through being led to the Church, they are able to more
easily surrender their problems to Christ. A favorite quote of the
founder comes from St. Teresa of Avila—“One of the great spiritual
weapons against the devil is distrust of self.”



One of the
great paradoxes of Christian living is that distrust of self leads to
greater trust in Christ. And greater trust in Christ leads to a greater
sense of self-worth. At the heart of many emotional problems, as well
as conflicts in relationships, is that people are unaware of their worth
in Christ. No matter what, we will always feel a void at the very
center of our being that can only be filled by God—that’s how He made
us. All the adulation in the world won’t satisfy this void. The famous
people who have self-destructed in spite of fame, fortune and the
adoration of millions, bear an all-too-eloquent witness to this. But
with Christ’s help we are able to overcome our insecurities and break
through to our authentic selves and values. In realizing the
unconditional love of Christ, we are freed to be our best selves and to
fulfill His Divine Intention in our lives. If we put our trust in Him,
God “will perform the good work He’s begun in you.”



Human
feelings need to be acknowledged and expressed, but not always acted
upon as though they are factual and worthy of basing one’s life on
them. A precondition to a healthy choice of action is talking about a
situation as soon as possible. When the AFF founder was seeking help,
she recalled calling one of the local agencies—and being told she
needed to wait two weeks for an appointment. “I didn’t need someone in
two weeks,” she says now. “I needed someone today, or at least within
the next few days.” From this frustration, she knew she couldn’t be the
only one in this situation and began the work of getting A Faithful
Friend
put in place.



Through personal networking, the
director found volunteers who are trained to work with the people who
need the service. Volunteers receive extensive training in empathetic
listening and responding. Listeners are available to offer comfort and
support to callers during difficult times in their lives. Any person
who is perceived to be in need of in-depth counseling or professional
help is referred to a priest or an extensive list of service providers.




Those hesitant to reach out and talk to someone, lest they
think themselves a bother, must bear in mind that they help the
volunteers as much as the volunteers help them. Those that help others
at AFF are there because they want to be able to share the fruit of
their Faith with those who call. And it’s a part of spiritual living
that the only treasures of the soul one can truly keep are those that
one gives away. It calls to mind a scene in the classic film It’s A
Wonderful Life
, when George Bailey’s guardian angel asked for help in
getting his wings. “How?,” a distraught and depressed Bailey asked. “By
letting me help you,” the angel replied. And that’s what A Faithful
Friend
is all about.

 

A Faithful Friend is confidential,
anonymous and free of charge. For more information call 703-532-0011 or
visit http://www.afaithfulfriend.org

 

This article can be reprinted by including the following credit:

This article is reprinted with written permission of 4marks Magazine
and is part of the 4marks.com network which offers a variety of online
services to Catholics, including our online Daily Catechism program,
Catholic Trivia, Temperament Test and single Catholic service. To learn
more about any of our services or how 4marks is helping Catholics
connect online in order to deepen their faith offline visit
www.4marks.com.





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