St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Part III Christian Friendship: Generosity in Friendship

Introduction, Moderator:

"The true friend cannot have two different faces for his friend. If it is to be loyal and sincere, friendship demands sacrifice, uprightness and an exchange of favours and of noble and licit acts of service." (Saint Josemaria Escriva, Letter, 11 March 1940)

Webster's New World Dictionary defines "generosity" as: "gen-er-os-i-ty 1. the quality of being generous; specif., a) nobility of mind, magnanimity; graciousness b) willingness to give or share; unselfishness 2) generous act"

"St. Ignatius, speaking of friendship between God and the soul, gives these two simple signs of the love of friendship: First, it shows itself by deeds rather than words. Secondly, if one friend has good things, he wishes to share them with the other. These are good norms, for human friendship, too; they indicate the quality of self-giving that is the salt of all friendship." (Chastity, p.11 Fr. Gerald Kelly, S.J., 1941)

Fr. Francis Fernandez Carvajal continues:
"It is proper for the friend to do good to his friends, particularly to those who are in greatest need." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics). There is no need greater than our need for God. So, the first sign of appreciation for our friends is that of bringing them closer and closer to Christ, the source of all good. We cannot be satisfied with their simply not doing evil, still less with their behaving badly. We must get them to aspire to the sanctity to which we have been called, all of us, and for which God will give them the necessary grace. There is no greater favour than that of helping them along their path towards God. We will not find any greater good to give them. This is why we should endeavour to have many friends and foster true friendships.

The true friend cannot have two different faces for his friend. If it is to be loyal and sincere, friendship demands sacrifice, uprightness and an exchange of favours and of noble and licit acts of service. A friend is strong and sincere, in the measure that he thinks generously of others, with personal sacrifice on his part - always of course, in the context of supernatural prudence. In the climate of trust which arises where there is true friendship, a corresponding reaction is to be expected from the other party; one expects a recognition of what we are, and, when necessary, a clear defence without palliatives." (St. J.Escriva, Letter 11 March 1940)

For there to be true friendship, a response is required; the affection and good will have to be mutual (St. Thomas, Summa Theologiae II-II, 23, 1) If the friendship is true, it always tends to become stronger. It grows when there are difficulties, up to the point of considering the friend as one's other self, whence St. Augustine says: "Well did he speak of his friend who called him the other half of his soul."

A good friend does not run away when difficulties arise; a good friend never turns traitor, never speaks badly of the other, and never allows his friend to be criticized when absent. Rather, he stands up for him. Friendship involves sincerity, trust, sharing of joys and sorrows, encouragement, consoling and helping by example. In a word: generosity.

From the beginning friendship has been the natural channel through which many people have found faith in Jesus Christ, and found even their vocation to a life of more complete dedication. It is a natural and simple way which eliminates many obstacles and difficulties. Our Lord often counts on this means of making himself known. The first disciples to meet Our Lord went off to communicate the Good News to those they loved, before they told anybody else. Do we do this? Do we want as soon as possible to communicate to those we care for most the greatest good we have ever found? Do we talk about God to our friends, our teachers, our relatives, our fellow students or our workmates? Is our friendship a channel for others to come closer to Christ?

....truthfulness and authenticity, without which friendship cannot exist......Charity gives friendship a deep Christian sense. A Christian must have a great heart. But since charity must be ordered, the Christian should practice this virtue primarily with those that God has placed close to him; nevertheless our respect and affection for others should be in no way exclusive or focused on only a small circle of friends. Our Lord does not want an apostolate with limited horizons.

To follow our Lord more closely we cannot be content to remain in our own little world. There should be no doubt in our minds that clarity has to be brought to souls. It is necessary that we enter into our environment so as to transform it from within. We should increase the number of our friendships, giving light to many souls.

Our world needs men and women who are all of a piece, who are exemplary in their work, men and women without complexes, who are sober, serene, profoundly human, firm, understanding but intransigent in matters concerning Christ's doctine, courteous, just, loyal, cheerful, optimistic, generous, hard-working, simple, courageous.......In this way they will be good collaborators with God's grace, for the Holy Spirit uses man as an instrument. Then their works take on a divine effectiveness, like a tool which of itself is incapable of producing anything, but in the hands of a good craftsman can produce a masterpiece.

And lastly, friendship can do everything with the help of grace; it helps move us to beseech Our Lord with prayer and mortification. As we have never hidden our faith in Christ from [friend] them, they will find it natural that we often talk to them about the most important thing in our life, in just the same way that they talk to us about the things they consider most important.

Our Lord wants us to have many friends because his love for mankind is infinite, and our friendship is an instrument for getting through to them. Today is a good day for us to ask ourselves: Do the people who usually come in contact with us feel the need to come closer to Our Lord as a result of our example and words? Are we concerned about their souls? Can it really be said of us that we, like Jesus are passing through their life doing good?

"There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship."
St.Thomas Aquinas

"There is more hunger in this world for love and appreciation than for bread." Mother Teresa

"What a great favor God does to those He places in the company of good people."
St Teresa of Avila

Now is a good time to read: Deus Caritas Est, the encyclical letter of our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI: God is Love.

May God bless you. Please visit again soon.


Alice said...

This weblog and post are beyond words. I am so happy to have found this blog and will be a frequent and grateful visitor.

Denise said...

Thank you Alice. I'm so glad you came by :)
Blessings, Denise