The Joy of Helping Others Find Christ
The path that leads to Heaven is not a short one. And God does not usually grant graces that immediately and definitively bestow holiness. Normally our friends will draw close to Our Lord little by little. We will meet with resistance, often a consequence of original sin leaving its mark on the soul, and also of personal sins. For us, it is a matter of facilitating God's action with our prayer and mortification, of truly caring for those concerned, of giving example, of speaking the right word at the right moment, of sincere friendship, of understanding, of overlooking their defects. If our friends are slow in responding to grace, we should be all the more generous with our signs of friendship and affection, thus reinforcing the human basis of apostolate. To intensify our relationship with a person who seems not to want to be committed to something which could bring him or her closer to Jesus is a sign of true friendship on our part and of rectitude of intention, and of the fact that we are motivated by the desire that God may have many friends here on earth, as well as by concern for the good of our friends.
The Gospels show us how Our Lord was a Friend to his disciples, giving them as much time as was necessary: He asks them, in order to start the conversation, whether they have anything to eat. He then prepares a meal for them on the shore of the lake. He goes away with Peter and asks him, while John follows behind, to continue trusting him. It ought not to surprise us that some friends treated in this way by the Friend should afterwards give their lives for him in martyrdom, for the salvation of the world. Let us pray to Our Lady that she will help us to imitate Jesus in such a way that in friendship we may not be just passive. You have to become a real friend to your friends. You can help them first with the example of your behavior and then with your advice and with the influence that a close friendship provides.
from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume 2 pp.327-328