U.S. President Woodrow Wilson noted that true friendship “is the only cement that will ever hold the world together”. As the modern world falls apart around us, causing ever more conflict and bitterness, we might question whether indeed such friendships exist in good numbers today.
Good Christians have the best and dearest example of a true friend in Our Lord Jesus Christ. In John 15:15, for example, He addresses His disciples as such:
“I will not now call you servants: for the servant knoweth not what his lord doth. But I have called you friends: because all things whatsoever I have heard of my Father, I have made known to you. ”
In John 15:12, Our Lord commands us “that you love one another, as I have loved you.” We are called to practice Our Lord’s dear example of Friendship. And what did Our Lord do for His friends? He went through the most excruciating Passion and Death, in the greatest and most terrible of sufferings that any of us could ever undergo. He did so for the reason that all of His friends could enjoy the great Kingdom prepared by His Father for them for all Eternity. So great was Our Lord’s generosity that He even suffered His Passion and Death for those who did not accept Him, in the hopes that all men would become His friends and be saved.
If there are indeed few friendships in today’s world, it is because of a lack of a spirit of sacrifice. Sacrifice is the essence of a true and loving friendship. One might feel tempted to object: “But it is such a pleasure to have such wonderful friends! It is not sacrifice!” Well, Heaven never commanded that sacrifice be such a painful burden. On the contrary, true sacrifice is joyful! Even if there may be much pain surrounding our sacrifices, we accept God’s will and offer everything up to Him, for love of Him. There is always at least that element of joy in every true sacrifice.
The sacrifice in a true friendship is the withholding of love for one’s self and wholeheartedly sharing this love with another. This can be especially necessary in a time of a trial for our friend, when he needs much consoling and encouragement and care. One truly knows who his friends are in the most difficult of times.
I will now share with you all some beautiful quotes from great saints regarding this innocent and noble joy of life:
St. Francis de Sales- “There is not a man who has a heart more tender and more open to friendship than mine or who feels more keenly than I do the pain of separation from those I love.”
St. Therese de Lisieux- “When I entered Carmel, I found in the novitiate a companion about eight years older than I was. In spite of the difference of age, we became the closest friends; and to encourage an affection that gave promise of fostering virtue, we were allowed to converse together.”
St. Teresa of Avila to Don Francisco de Salcedo: “Please God you will live until I die; then I shall ask God to summon you promptly, lest I should be without you in Heaven.”
St. Augustine to St. Jerome: “O that it were possible to enjoy sweet and frequent converse with you; if not by living with you at least by living near you.”
From The Mirror of Perfection, during the time of St. Francis of Assisi’s death: “The Lady Clare, fearing she would die before him, wept most bitterly and would not be comforted, for she thought that she would not see before her departure her Comforter and Master.”
This post is dedicated to the Damsel, who remains always the kindest and most selfless friend to so many, and the dearest inspiration to all!
~ Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition