CS Lewis wrote in his book The Four Loves that, “Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening friendship would be something like, ‘What? You too? I thought I was the only one.’ ... It is when two such persons discover one another, when, whether with immense difficulties and semi-articulate fumblings or with what would seem to us amazing and elliptical speed, they share their vision - it is then that friendship is born. And instantly they stand together in an immense solitude.”
So many believe that they have the key to what is wrong with the world and thus believe they know how to fix it: a crisis of love, or a better understanding of human anthropology, or even just a simply lack of charity are all the traits of this fallen world that are only furthering us from loving one another as Christ intended. While all may be true in some way or another, I believe that there is a particular crisis that afflicts the majority of today’s youth, particularly in the west. I believe we have a crisis of friendship; it is not a crisis of companionship, of connection, or of communication, but a crisis of friendship. Real, authentic, sacrificial friendship is so much of what is lacking in the culture because real friendships are not fostered or nurtured in a world that would have us believe that it is far more important to get “likes” or “retweets” than it is to give of oneself for those whom we call friends. Each and every story of old and new novel contains within its tale trial, struggle, perseverance, and courage; without sharing those experiences with another, namely a friend, the tale would be bland and almost without meaning for to share in those experiences is almost as important as experiencing them in the first place.
Whether it be a dreary high school day or a long day at work, something seems much more bearable about it when it is endured with someone whom you call your “friend”. The world would have us believe that a friend is something that is for mere utility but nothing could be farther from the truth. Friendship is something which stems from the deepest longing of our hearts, almost as much as love does. This friendship remains not only true on the physical plane but also on the spiritual because without friends to experience that which we experience, things seem a little less real. This is especially true when it comes to matters of the faith because without friends in the faith, things seem less real. That is why becoming “friends” with the saints makes the faith more real; people who experienced what we experience in this life: doubt, fear, love, excitement, sorrow, and every other human emotion…people who have lived what we live but yet are not dead and if they are not dead, then we do not share a bond with them as a connection to the past but very much one of the present, no different than what you share with your friends of today. Find a saint who you can relate with, learn about her or him, and form a friendship where they can intercede for you and you can learn from them. Friendship is meant to forge a bond between two people, making this life not just bearable but exciting, no matter how trivial or mundane.
Jesus says, “no longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends…”. The God of the universe calls us friends so is it really any wonder why the devil makes it so very difficult to form real, true lasting friendships? Find a friend here and now who you can share yourself with, making each and every moment of this life into an adventure. God Bless you all and be saints, nothing less.
In Christ & Mary,