Everything in our world seems to add to our anxiety: the economy, unemployed friends and family, difficult relationships, wars on distant shores, even the price of gasoline and celery. We’ve never been busier, worked longer hours, driven the kids to more school and sporting events, and volunteered more in our communities where needs continue to grow.
Twenty million students have just returned to college and you’d think that it would be a happy and carefree time for them. But a recent survey showed that 39 percent of college students will feel hopeless during the school year, 25 percent will feel so depressed they'll find it hard to function, 47 percent will experience overwhelming anxiety and 84 percent will feel overwhelmed by all they have to do.
Fr. John Eudes Bamberger is the retired Abbott from the Abbey of the Genesee in Piffard, NY and gave a talk at the local university to students and parents for “move-in” weekend on “Reducing Anxiety.”
Fr. Bamberger’s wisdom: “We all stand in need of a kind of trust, someone whose values we identify with, someone who is attractive to us and who cares for us. This friend will always feel a readiness to respond when I act in a certain way. Friendship and love are characterized by an overwhelming caring to reduce the amount of anxiety in another person. A spiritual friend is one who will help us to continue to perceive our world as friendly and to help us maintain an appropriate level of anxiety that ensures that we are caring (a lack of all anxiety is indifference), yet engulfing us with love so that our anxieties do not overwhelm us.”
We all need spiritual friends, now more than ever.
Today, I pray that you will say thanks to 3 or 4 spiritual friends in your life and reach out and be a spiritual friend to 3 or 4 others.
Blessings, my friend,