One of my favorite books is CS Lewis’s The Four Loves. CS Lewis has been my favorite author ever since my fourth grade teacher introduced me to the Chronicles of Narnia. There is an entire chapter in The Four Loves that looks into friendship. One of my favorite quotes from this chapter is:
“In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets... Hence true Friendship is the least jealous of loves.”
Friendship used to be easy when we were kids. We would just meet a kid on the playground, find out that we like the same things, and we’d become instant best friends forever. As we grow up, we continue to make friends through common interests and most of us had easy ways to find friends: through school or clubs or volunteer events, easy things like that. When we become adults, however, making friendships and maintaining them are a bit harder.
The passage from Sirach reflects the kinds of friendships that we encounter: we can have a lot of friends, but we choose only a handful to trust completely because sadly, in spite of the fact that we’re not in high school anymore, there are still people out there who act all nice to us only to talk badly about us behind our backs. Worse still are the “friends” who only want to lead us away from God, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
But thankfully, today’s passage says:
“Those who fear the Lord enjoy stable friendship, for as they are, so will their neighbors be.”
Even if we have some bad blood with some people, the friends that we have will show their true worth by helping you stay in a right relationship with God.You might be surprised to hear that I have a good number of friends who aren’t Catholic. Some of them are Protestant, some them have fallen away from the Church while others don’t believe in God or consider themselves to be agnostic. And yet, I can be open about my faith with all of them because I treated them as people and not as projects. We talk about things that we love, like movies, books, music, and tv shows. Whenever I open up about my faith with them, they are open to what I have to say because I speak about my faith from a personal perspective.
That’s not to say, of course, that I don’t appreciate the friends I made through retreats and through my parish and other faith-related events and activities. In fact, it’s through my friends that I learn different perspectives of the faith. Not to mention you have an army of prayer warriors ready to offer your intentions to God and hopefully, you’ll do the same for them.
One wonderful thing I learned from my retreats was that at the end of every retreat, people would pray for those who would attend the next retreat. Which meant that even before I met the people who would become the best friends I could ever ask for, they were already praying for me! And even though I don’t always say it to my non-Catholic friends, I’m always praying for them.
Today’s featured song was one played often at my retreats: Matt Maher’s “Hold Us Together.” It’s a song that captures the kind of friendship-love that CS Lewis talks about. To me, it also reminds me of what really matters when it comes to friendship. I pray that you find gratitude for all your friends, regardless of what they believe!
Stay grateful, dearest sisters in Christ!
1.What do you think you gain from having friends outside of the faith? How are they different from the friends you have who share your beliefs?
2.Have you ever treated a friend as more of a project or have you ever been treated as such? Have you ever succeeded in changing someone’s behavior?
3.What do you think is the best way to maintain a friendship with someone who doesn’t share the same beliefs as you?