By Guest Blogger Br. Jude Lasota, B.H.
I am a man who has been blessed with many deep friendships over the course of my life. Some enduring, some were for a particular time or place and some that go back to birth. Yes, I have a lifelong close friend, a next door neighbor, and there has never been a time when we did not know one another. Our mothers were close friends, had coffee every day together and were pregnant with us at the same time. We rode side by side in strollers, drove our tricycles and bicycles together and finally cruised in some really quick muscle cars together. Premium was .41 cents a gallon then and we would drive and talk all night on $5.00 worth of gas. I was present at his marriage, he at my perpetual vows. More than 50 years later we still are in touch and our friendship continues to grow.
What is it?
But a question for our time is, “What is a friend?” There is a mystery to it all and often I cannot give a specific reason why a friendship developed between myself and another. I am a Catholic Religious Brother, but I have true friendships with men and women who do not hold my Christian beliefs or fully understand the vocation the Lord has called me to over the last 28 years. I can say there is a spark of the divine; the “seeds of the logos” in our relationship. A faith may not always fully developed, but nevertheless contains the gift of grace. These friends draw out the best in me and would lay their lives down for me as I would for them.
There are friends, and then there are friends. When I think of the many close friendships I have had the privilege of having, I find that they all contain some specific components: A heartfelt love for the other and deep gratitude that he or she exists. These concepts, so often taken lightly, have to be grounded in a true understanding of the human person or they mean little.
Faith: Perfecter of Friendship
Human dignity ultimately needs faith for it to be fully lived and understood, because the “Word made flesh” has made it possible for us to go beyond our own natural and spiritual limitations; something impossible for our tainted human nature. Because we are a mystery to ourselves and others, we need supernatural grace to live with the ebb and flow that life brings. Without the Incarnation our friendships would be limited through a lack of transcendence and would soon grow cold.
Practically, I find often that the Holy Spirit gives me an awareness of when I should contact an old friend. Also, when in need and when I least expect it friends often contact me. There is a mystical dimension to this, something beyond our comprehension and something even Facebook will never be able to figure out.