Friendship is one of life’s most precious gifts. It is a sacred trust, ordained by God, to be a living sign of His love. During the 4th week of LENT, we can be grateful for the blessing of close relationships. But it’s also a time to embrace and appreciate THE FRIENDSHIP OF CHRIST -- and the tremendous LOVE He offers to each one of us.
“The Gift of Friendship”
A friend is someone who truly cares, someone who knows your needs and responds to you in full. A friend accepts you for who you are. You dare to reveal your secret fears, failures, and hopes to your friend, knowing that your emotions will be treated gently with the utmost respect and care.
With your friend you can remove your masks, your plastic smile. You can be YOU and it’s OK. There are no phony airs necessary in friendship.
A friend listens carefully, then gives a response. The answer isn’t always what you want to hear, but a friend risks saying what can be best for you. When you have been given a rich blessing, it is a friend who truly shares your joy, who at the deepest level rejoices with you.
You can call on a friend even when it is inconvenient and know that it’s all right. Friendship suspends rules of etiquette. A friend willingly sacrifices time, energy, and even worldly goods. A friend is always present
-- perhaps not always physically -- but very much alive in your heart and in your mind.
Miles are not measured by a friend. A friend will take your hand and walk with you for however long you need a companion. Whether you go to the summit of joy or the depths of the valley of desolation, your friend goes with you. When your burden is too heavy and you cannot go on, it is a friend who says, “You rest. I’ll carry the load.”
A change in your mood can be perceived by a friend without a word ever having been spoken. Sometimes that caring alone can heal a deep pain. Feelings of unworthiness are removed by a friend who invites you to see yourself reflected in the mirror of God’s acceptance.
A friend can be a spouse, a family member, a neighbor, a co-worker — anyone whom you love in this very special way. Friendships may start with “Hello,” then expand, reaching to greater depths and heights. Friendship requires GIVING, but must also include RECEIVING to be complete.
Life can be very challenging at times. God in His infinite love and mercy knew this and so He created friendships for the journey. He knew that His love might seem intangible to our humanity. To be more real to us, to concretely manifest His love, He said,
“LET THERE BE FRIENDSHIP,” and there was -- and He saw that it was very, very good.
God gave us a model of the ultimate height of friendship. It is portrayed in the life of Jesus Christ, the greatest friend who ever lived. He taught us through His life -- and death -- just what it means to be a friend.
Jesus said, “My commandment is this: love one another, just as I have loved you. The greatest love a person can have for His friends is to lay down His life for them. And you are My friends if you do what I command you. . . . I call you friends because I have told you everything I heard from My Father.” (John 15:12-15)
Meditation: “Friendship — a living sign of Christ’s love.” What does that statement mean to me?
Prayer: Lord, thank You for YOUR faithful friendship to each of us. And thank You for the devoted friends You have given to us. Let ME be a faithful friend to others. When they feel like You are far away, teach me to be LIKE YOU and be present to their needs. Amen.
(Please feel free to share this reflection with others.)