One of the greatest goods in this life is friendship. We see the importance of friendship throughout Scripture. Christ Himself developed close friendships with the Apostles and others.
“True friendship consists in mutually perfecting one another and drawing closer to God.” St. Teresa of Jesus
Aristotle noted friendship is one of the greatest good in humankind. Aristotle talks about three types of friendship: the friendship of utility where we get along with the person when we run into them on a regular basis, a friendship of pleasure where we enjoy certain hobbies together, and friendship of virtue where we share a common life goal. The third is the most valuable and if your Christian, the common goal you have with these friends is heaven. Good friends keep each other accountable. Friendships of virtue don’t shy away from accountability. Be a good friend because ‘a faithful friend is a sturdy shelter: he that has found one has found a treasure” (Sirach 6:14). True friendship is rarer than you think. If you have it, work to maintain it.
Holy friendships grounded in Christ
There have been deep holy friendships between men and women grounded in agape as seen in St. Francis and St. Clare, as well as St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal, and others. The greatest friendships are those grounded in Christ. We enter into these friendships with people who are also walking the path to holiness and who know that it is Christ who is the center of our lives and friendships. These friendships allow us to see our universal call to love everyone as Christ does.
The virtue of chastity blossoms in friendship. It shows the disciple how to follow and imitate him who has chosen us as his friends, who has given himself totally to us and allows us to participate in his divine estate. Chastity is a promise of immortality. Chastity is expressed notably in friendship with one’s neighbour. Whether it develops between persons of the same or opposite sex, friendship represents a great good for all. It leads to spiritual communion. (CCC 2347)
How can we foster deeper friendships with those around us and seek friendships grounded in Christ?
- Pray for your friends and be honest with them- “True friendship ought never to conceal what it thinks.” St. Jerome
- Pray for good Catholic friends – attend youth groups and meet people who have similar values to you. We should take this desire in the depths of our hearts to our greatest friend, Christ Jesus. God will bring people into your life to journey with you. “A sweet friendship refreshes the soul” (Proverbs 27:9).
- Be the holy friend you desire – we must lead lives of holiness through prayer, self-sacrifice, the Sacraments, Scripture, and working to faithfully live out our individual vocations. “There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” St. Thomas Aquinas
Friendship itself will reach its fulfillment and intended glory when we stand re-united before the Beatific Vision. It is then that we will fully see once another as we truly are and be free to love completely while dwelling in communion with the Most Holy Trinity.