“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” ~St. Thomas Aquinas
Friendship. Barbra Streisand sang about it, “People, who need people, are the luckiest people in the world…”. So did James Taylor, “…Winter, spring, summer or fall,All you've got to do is call And I'll be there, ye, ye, ye You've got a friend.” As social beings we need that sense of belonging, feeling deeply cared for and appreciated that friendships offer, especially when one is blessed to have at least one very close friend.
Today we observe one of my favorite feast days, the Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, two very close friends who offer us a beautiful model of friendship that developed and grew through their mutual love of God and their desire to work together in their common goal.
Their deep relationship and mutual love for each other seems to mirror the relationship that God invites each of us to have with him. Gregory wrote, “We seemed to be two bodies with a single spirit….” In his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius Loyola reminds us of God’s desire for mutuality with us—as extraordinary as it may seem, God wants the gift of our friendship as much as we want God’s !
Perhaps we can spend a few minutes today reflecting on the friends in our life, especially our closest friends, and consider how they might have supported us this past year. How might we have contributed to growing that relationship? How did it effect events in our everyday lives? Now consider our friendship with God. Does it seem that our friendship with God has grown in intimacy? Have we experienced a sense of mutuality with God—gifting one another without counting the cost? We might also want to send a few moments praying for that friend(s) and in some way expressing our gratitude to both that friend(s) and to the Source of that freindship.
To read more about St. Gregory and St Basil the Great's friendship click here.