I only have one sibling, my older brother – ‘mi hermano’ (‘my brother’ in Spanish). He is arguably the most influential person, right from my formative years as a baby, toddler, teen and now as a young adult. Besides being my best playmate, his crazy imagination and enthusiastic ideas made for adventurous journeys as siblings. Mi hermano always had a ‘C’mon Ems!’, awakening me to new things and discovering new joys as we played together. Undoubtedly, my brother’s life strongly influenced and shaped my creative side, aided my learning and fueled my growth.
When we were teenagers, amidst disputes and frictions expected during those years, my brother was always kind to me. In his loving disposition I saw how heroic it was to be that way, taking the first step always, striving to love higher. Some of my earliest memories take me back to familiar streets we walked everyday from school. There was a dairy shop on our way and mi hermano always knew the way to my heart.
Now as we grow older, our conversations go deeper as we find time to express and share our hearts whether over a meal, in the car or on a long walk. I am always surprised by how his short candid expressions cut to the truth of who I really am, who God says I am and who He created me to be. They invoke in me a deep desire for belonging, a reflection of God’s love and they poignantly silence the lies I often believed about myself, especially when I go through difficult times.
The Art Of Accompaniment
Why do I sense the need to share about my brother’s love?
During the past few years, the idea of ‘mentorship’ has kept popping in my head. I’ve heard people talk about it in sermons, at events and seen it operating as I’ve studied the Word of God. What I have come to realize is that we all have mentors in our lives. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they have been a consistent figure that we’ve met up with at certain times, but God has placed people in our lives for the purpose of being mentored in the most ordinary moments, sometimes in our own homes.
Now when I see the trail influence in my life, I notice that people end up mentoring us without realizing it themselves. This could be through someone at your job who helps to teach you and navigate your work, an influential teacher or coach, a youth leader, an older person within a community of common interest, or even someone younger than you. These are just a few examples and they are a work of God’s Grace – his kindness flowing in us, desiring to flourish us.
To mentor someone is to accompany them.
Jesus was a great mentor. Beyond sermons, live demos and miracles, Jesus’ greatest influence was imparted in what Pope Francis calls the “the art of accompaniment”, walking beside people, leading the way, being a friend.
On the very familiar road to Emmaus story found in Luke 24:1-35, we see Jesus, even if perceived as stranger, entering the broken road with two despondent disciples whose hopes were shattered following the brutality of the cross. We learn one great truth – Jesus walks alongside them and He listens, undeterred by the fact that they don’t recognize Him.
His gentle loving intrusion creates a pathway for Truth, ultimately leading to the risen Christ, who sought after them with scars still on His hands, to reveal the truth of the Resurrection and in it, our rising in Him.
The truth that my brother has walked alongside, undeterred of my recognition of his influence is something I am now savoring with gratitude. He has always been there, since I was born. He probably never realized it himself, that he was mentoring me and shaping my spirituality by his humility, his presence and his friendship. He was simply being a loving, kind, caring and nurturing older brother to his younger sister. He was simply accompanying me; walking alongside me, on my journey through life.
Within Christianity, mentorship can be extremely beneficial to help grow spiritually, learn more about God and faith. We all learn from each other and we can impart this knowledge to strengthen another’s journey.
Mentorship can happen through a variety of beautiful avenues:
- Through a person face to face.
- Through a person in another part of the world via technology – the advantage of our times.
- If there is no person to mentor you, look to the people within scripture and let their witness mentor you. Look to the saints. Look up your confirmation saint. Search patron saints of your interests, field of work or those relevant to your calling. Become spiritual besties with them and let them mentor you. Follow podcasts, blogs, YouTube videos etc from people of God that resonate with you. Let their witness mentor you.
- The Holy Spirit is the best mentor out there.
- If you like, you can pray for God to send you someone who can mentor you, if it be within His will. Or better yet, ask God to open your eyes so that you may see people in your life at the moment who are naturally mentoring you, in whatever capacity that might be. You can even ask Him who He might be calling YOU to mentor.
The Call To Go Higher
Mentors can have the ability to see in us what we fail to see in ourselves. They have the ability to speak truth into our areas of doubt, worry or confusion. They have the ability to affirm our identity and crush the lies. They have the ability to nurture the beautiful truths of our gifting, capabilities, our nature and personality.
Mentors also have the ability to call us out so that we can go higher in our spiritual walk with God. They can empower and encourage us not to settle for temporary, selfish pleasures but to rise above everything that prevents us from truly pursuing our call to holiness.
This is mentoring – leading someone to holiness, so that they become a bearer of Christ’s light and love to a world in darkness.
We need mentors today that can reflect the love of God and help us discover our image in Him. We need role models, forerunners and those who will teach us how to run the race with endurance, compassion and courage.
We need mentors who chase after God’s own heart and influence a generation to do the same.
Will you join me in praying for mentors who have taken on the courageous ‘art of accompaniment’, those who are aspiring to become mentors and those who desperately need a mentor in their walk with Christ, just like mi hermano.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emma Sullivan is a writer, teacher and musician from New Zealand. Her core passion lies in empowering women and young people realize the beauty of who the Creator created them to be. Family time is her favorite time, be it grocery shopping, long walks in nature, or simply sharing in the mundane activities of life. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati is her spiritual bestie from whom she has learned love, laughter, generosity and many more life lessons that are penned down in her blog, Child, Awaken. Connect with Emma on Instagram @emma_mauricia