Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Friendship with Christ

“You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15: 14

We all long to have deep, meaningful friendships and relationships. But a true, authentic friendship with another can only come out of a personal relationship with Christ. Any friendship or relationship without Christ as the foundation and center is merely a shadow of the reality it could and should be in Christ.

But don’t just take my words for it. In his address to young people in preparation for World Youth Day in Spain 2011, Pope Benedict XVI says, “…many young people experience a deep desire for personal relationships marked by truth and solidarity. Many of them yearn to build authentic friendships, to know true love…” But he also goes on to say that the desires of our young hearts are not possible apart from God and that at the core of our lives is a yearning for Jesus. He puts it this way, “Jesus himself tells us that he is our life. Consequently, Christian faith is not only a matter of believing certain things are true, but above all a personal relationship with Jesus Christ…when we enter into a personal relationship with him, Christ reveals our true identity and, in friendship with him, our life grows towards complete fulfillment.”

So we can see that without the fulfillment of Christ calming our restless hearts, we will always be searching for meaning and love and friendship in ways that will never bring us happiness or wholeness. This, of course, will lead us into the temptation of using others, rather than loving them. Or operating in our relationships out of fear or impatience, rather than out of courage and confidence; becoming exclusive rather than inclusive, taking rather than giving, tearing down instead of building up. If we have not found our true identity in Christ—in other words, if we do not have full possession of ourselves—how can we hope to give ourselves away in self-donating love without counting the cost?

We also need to take an honest assessment of our lives and our friends. Just because we share the same building with people for the majority of the hours of each day does not mean they are our friends (whether this be school or work). And just because facebook tells us that the people we allow to see our profile page are “friends” does not mean that they are. True friends are people who desire what is best for us. And what is best for us is a relationship with Jesus, growing in holiness and eventually getting to heaven. If you don’t have friends helping you to do this, then I think it might be time to get some new friends. And if Jesus isn’t your BFF, then I encourage you to start working on that, because when I say “Best Friend Forever”, I really mean FOREVER!

Dear Jesus, I want You to be my best friend. Give me the grace to seek You and to know You above all else, so that all of my human friendships can be a reflection of my friendship with You. Amen.

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