Friday, May 23, 2014

Daily Thought For May 24, 2014

The Gift of Friendship

Down through the centuries, friendship has been (and still is) a pathway along which many men and women have come close to God and gone to heaven. It is a natural and simple path which eliminates many obstacles and difficulties. Our Lord frequently bears it in mind as a means of letting himself be known. The first few who met him went to tell the good news to the ones they loved. Andrew brought Peter, his brother; Philip, his friend Nathanael; and John probably brought his brother James.

This was the way that faith in Christ spread in the early days of Christianity: from brother to brother, from father to son, from slave to master and vice versa, from friend to friend. Friendship is a unique basis for letting Christ be known, because it is the natural medium for communicating feelings, for sharing the joys and sorrows of those who are near us by reason of family, our work or mutual interests.

It is characteristic of friendship to give our friend the best we have. Our greatest treasure, beyond all compare, is having found Christ. We would not have true friendship if we were not to communicate the immense gift of our Christian faith. Our friends have to find in us ― Christians who want to follow Jesus closely  support, strength and a supernatural meaning for their lives. The certainty of finding understanding, interest, and attention will lead them to open their heart trustingly, knowing that we love them and are prepared to help them. All this we will do in the performance of our normal daily activities, trying to be exemplary in our profession or studies, fostering friend­ ship at all times, dealing warmly and openly with people, and urged on by charity.

Friendship leads us to start our friends off on a true Christian life if they are far from the Church, or to get them back onto the path they left one bad day, if they have stopped practicing the faith they had received. With patience and constancy, without hurry, without pause on our part, they will gradually get closer to Our Lord, who is waiting for them. Sometimes we can do a period of prayer with them, perform an act of mercy by visiting a sick or needy person, or invite them to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament with us. Then when the time is ripe, we will talk to them about the sacrament of divine mercy, Confession and we will help them to prepare for receiving it. Those trusting relationships, under the shelter of friend­ ship, become open channels for apostolate, through the Holy Spirit. Those well-timed words, whispered into the ear of your wavering friend; the helpful conversation that you managed to start at the right time; the ready professional advice that improves his university work; the discreet indiscretion by which you open up unexpected horizons for his zeal. This all forms part of the 'apostolate of friendship'

Friendship can do everything with the help of grace; it helps move us to beseech Our Lord with prayer and mortification. As we have never hidden our faith in Christ from them, they will find it natural that we often talk to them about the most important thing in our life, in just the same way that they talk to us about the things they consider the most important.

Our Lord wants us to have many friends because his love for mankind is infinite, and our friendship is an instrument for getting through to them. Among the people we deal with every day, what a great number are waiting  even without their knowing it - for the light of Christ to get to them! And how happy we are every time a friend of ours becomes a friend of The Friend!

Jesus, who went about doing good, and who won the hearts of such a great number of people, is our model. Likewise we have to go about among our relations, col­ leagues, neighbors and friends. Today is a good day for us to ask ourselves: Do the people who usually come in contact with us feel the need to come closer to Our Lord as a result of our example and words? Are we concerned about their soul? Can it really be said of us that we, like Jesus, are passing through their life doing good?

from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume II pp. 498-500