Note: I had written a similar post on Friendship several months ago, but a comment from one of our readers inspired me to revise it. I now re-post an updated version, especially for those who may have missed the first posting. All for the great honor of this saving and sustaining virtue!- Steven C.
The Damsel and I are working on a post for the upcoming 100th Anniversary of Our Lady’s first apparition at Fatima. Let us prepare well for this most important anniversary!
The following passage is taken from The Friendship of the Saints by Fr. Aloysius Roche:
“Solomon says, “A faithful friend is the medicine of life and immortality”; and he adds the significant words: “They that fear the Lord shall find him.” The Old Testament delights us with the story of the friendship of David and Jonathan. “Jonathan loved David as his own soul”; and David’s love for Jonathan “passed the love of woman.”
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 true 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. Bernard after the death of one of his dearest friends, Humbert of Clairvaux: “Flow, flow, my tears, so eager to flow. He who prevented your flowing is here no more. It is not he who is dead but I – I who now live only to die. Why, oh why, have we loved and why have we lost one another?”
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 all those who persevere in making great sacrifices to remain faithful to their vocation. No matter married, single, or religious; they are the dearest friends of Our Lord.
~ Steven C.