by Sister Mary Ignatius, O.C.D
Originally Posted on: http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2011/03/carmelite-sisters-love-given-love-received
“I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know what his master is about. Instead I have called you friends, for everything I have learned from my Father, I have made known to you.” John 15:15
It is pretty amazing to listen to these words of Our Lord. He calls these disciples His friends. These men, who in a few hours will run away in His hour of peril, will deny that they even know Him. He calls them “friends” and He calls me “friend.” Jesus, the God-Man Who is Savior of the world, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, speaks this incredible truth.
One of the great hungers of all persons is the hunger for deep friendship. We are made for sharing. Because our human nature mirrors the life of the Trinity, the image of what we are called to become is found in God the Father pouring Himself out to the Son, the Son returning the love of the Father and thus spirating (a theological word only used in this instance) of the Holy Spirit.
We want desperately for someone to understand and listen to us and vice versa. Without friends, life can be flat and dull. Friends can double our joys and half our sorrows. How many times have we experienced a great joy and our first thought was, “I just can’t wait to share this!”
Another element of friendship that is sometimes overlooked is that our friends can help us to grow and mature. A true friend will brave our ire to tell us an ugly truth rather than leave us to believe a beautiful lie.
How does anyone become a friend? There is, of course, the trite saying which declares that the best way to have a friend is to be one. This leaves so much unsaid about the difficulty of being a true friend. How does a true friendship develop? For most of us friendships begin with a first meeting. During this meeting, there is recognition of an affinity, a drawing toward this new person. Now the real work begins. Am I ready to listen – not just nod and agree, but to have an open heart to hear? Am I ready to learn about my friend – likes and dislikes, personal gifts and talents? This is hard work, because most of the time we wait for the other to take a breath so we can interject our ideas.
Growing in friendship takes time. Friendship is not a drive-thru proposition. It means a commitment to the other over an extended period of time. Our friendships won’t develop if we don’t allot time for sharing.
We Catholics believe that each person is made to participate in friendships on the supernatural level as well. Is it possible to have a truer friend than Jesus Christ? I think not. Jesus has such an unspeakable desire to unite Himself in friendship with us that He has given Himself to us in the gift of the Holy Eucharist. He said, “This is My body. . . . This is My Blood…given up for you.” He wants to share the fullness of His Father’s love with us and He wants to begin now. This means that He will not leave us stagnant in our spiritual development. If we are willing to listen, He will give us the grace to grow in an ever-deepening friendship rooted in the truth of His Love.
Jesus is ready to listen to us, to speak to and share with us especially in the Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of His Love. He is waiting for us to come to Him, to approach Him with confident love. Jesus wants to spend eternity with us – His friends.