The concept of friendship comes almost naturally to us. We are social and sociable creatures, made to interact and relate to one another. As young children, we identify ourselves as so-and-so’s friend. As we grow older, we become more socially aware and eventually we recognise a pattern – that some friendships last for a while, and that some last a lifetime. In our maturing stages, we hopefully learn the and accept the value of being a friend to oneself.
Friends are witnesses, for not only do they keep us company on life’s bumpy road, they also testify to our personal identity. That is why Jesus called his disciples, “no longer servants…but friends” (John 15:15), inviting them into fellowship with him in a community of equals. They still call him ‘Lord’, ‘Teacher’, and ‘Master’ but it is in friendship that they learn to live with one another.
It is usual to be surrounded by groups of people, and in them, we can (theoretically!) get along in a friendly manner. We can smile, say ‘hello’ and wish each other well, but sooner or later, life experience will set off a process of discernment, though it may not be conscious, because we fight, we argue and we hurt one another and we even fall out with one another. It’s part of our human reality. What those tough times do articulate however, is that friendship, true friendship, takes something special, based on the desire to love one another. Recognising the quality of friendship in another person is to mirror our self-recognition as a friend. With the other person, as well as with myself in mind –
I thank you, loving God, for the gift of friends. It is a special ministry to which you call us, because through our friends, you have a face. Being a good friend doesn’t always come naturally, so I ask for the graces of humility, reverence and compassion to aid my loving intention, so as to bring good news to our world. Amen.
Do you have your own insights on friendship? Perhaps you might like to comment below, in thanksgiving or intercession for yourself and for your friends. (Please remember to contribute responsibly and respect one’s privacy. Thank you.)