Catholic Faith Corner

Living in the Light
of Jesus Christ

Sea of Galilee at Sunrise

Catholic Faith Corner

Living in the Light
of Jesus Christ

True Blue Friends

How many friends do you have on Facebook? Thousands? Many of these are not really friends, right?  I venture to say that most people have no more good friends than you can count on one hand. A friend is a person who is very close to you. One definition is “someone who knows all about you and likes you anyway!” An Arabian proverb puts it this way: “A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.”

                  We are social creatures who especially cherish the friendship of another human being. This may be a spouse, a mentor, a sister, or a coworker. Being in their presence makes us feel comfortable and safe. We can be ourselves. We can trust that our secrets are safe with a friend.

                  A good friend  . . .

is always there for you,

supports you,

 challenges you,

 corrects you,

 gives advice,

 listens to you,

 forgives you,

is totally present to you,

 offers a shoulder to cry on when you need one.

                  In Soul Mates, Thomas Moore, writes: “Each friend is indeed a world—a spiritual sphere of certain emotions, experiences, memories, and qualities of personality . . . . We are all made up of many worlds and each friendship brings one or more of those worlds to life.”

                  Some friendships endure the test of time. I’m still friends with a woman I knew before kindergarten days. Some friendships end because of distance or busyness. And some end inexplicably. But then there are friends who have been separated for a long time yet whose relationship picks up as though no time has elapsed.

                  Friends are drawn together because of a common interest, for example movie stars Ben Affleck and Matt Damon and scientists Marie and Pierre Currie. Some friends are quite different. You would assume that Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan would be friends, but Helen also counted Mark Twain among her friends! Oddly, Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini were friends.

                  The Sisters of Notre Dame trace their origins to two sets of friends. St. Julie Billart and Francoise Blin de Bourdon in France in 1804. Our Coesfeld branch began with Hilligonde Wolbring and Lisette Kuling in Germany in 1850. St. Julie once said that she and Francoise were like two heads under one bonnet!

                  Certain saints were best friends, notably St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross as well as St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal.

Unmet Friends

A friend can be a person you never met except for in a book, a movie, play, music, or art—a role model or someone who lifted your spirits and made you a better person. In this sense, I count Beethoven, Emily Dickinson, and Monet among my friends.

Jesus as Friend

Jesus said, “I have called you friends” (John 15:15). As teenagers would say, he and you are BFFs—best friends forever. He loved you to death…giving his life so that you could be with him for all eternity.

                  Jesus fits all the descriptions of a friend in the third paragraph above. In addition, like any friend, he wants to spend time with you. He likes talking with you. He gives you gifts. He has your name written on the palm of his hand (a tattoo!) Psalm 49:16.

                  A friend in California emailed me this video about an extraordinary friendship between an elephant and a stray dog. I think you will enjoy it:

• Who are your good friends? Do you remember to pray for them? How do you “feed” your relationship?

• Who are your unmet friends?

• How has Jesus been a good friend to you?

• How have you been a good friend to Jesus?

• How do you “feed” your relationships?

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