No matter how much you live the experience of these years of your youth, you will never know their deepest and fullest meaning unless you encounter each day your best friend, the friend who is Jesus.
For the past several weeks, we have been discovering through Christus Vivit, Pope Francis’ exhortation to young people and people of all ages, that Jesus is alive! It may be news to you that God is your friend. The remainder of this blog focuses on this great news.
153. Friendship is so important that Jesus calls himself a friend: “I do not call you servants any longer, but I call you friends” (Jn 15:15). By the gift of his grace, we are elevated in such a way that we truly become his friends. With the same love that Christ pours out on us, we can love him in turn and share his love with others, in the hope that they too will take their place in the community of friendship he established. And even as he enjoys the complete bliss of the life of the resurrection, we, for our part, can work generously to help him build his kingdom in this world, by bringing his message, his light, and above all his love, to others (cf. Jn 15:16). The disciples heard Jesus calling them to be his friends. It was an invitation that did not pressure them, but gently appealed to their freedom. “Come and see”, Jesus told them; so “they came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day” (Jn 1:39). After that unexpected and moving encounter, they left everything and followed him.
154. Friendship with Jesus cannot be broken. He never leaves us, even though at times it appears that he keeps silent. When we need him, he makes himself known to us (cf. Jer 29:14); he remains at our side wherever we go (cf. Jos 1:9). He never breaks his covenant. He simply asks that we not abandon him: “Abide in me” (Jn 15:4). But even if we stray from him, “he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself” (2 Tim 2:13).
155. With a friend, we can speak and share our deepest secrets. With Jesus too, we can always have a conversation. Prayer is both a challenge and an adventure. And what an adventure it is! Gradually Jesus makes us appreciate his grandeur and draw nearer to him. Prayer enables us to share with him every aspect of our lives and to rest confidently in his embrace. At the same time, it gives us a share in his own life and love. When we pray, “we open everything we do” to him, and we give him room “so that he can act, enter and claim victory”.
As our staff discussed this, we saw the mission of Pilgrim Center of Hope in the words of St. Oscar Romero:
“Christianity is not a collection of truths to be believed, rules to be followed, or prohibitions. Seen that way, it puts us off. Christianity is a person who loved me immensely, who demands and claims my love. Christianity is Christ”.
Pope Francis concludes this encouraging section on friendship with these inspiring words:
157. Jesus can bring all the young people of the Church together in a single dream, “a great dream, a dream with a place for everyone. The dream for which Jesus gave his life on the cross, for which the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost and brought fire to the heart of every man and woman, to your heart and mine. To your heart too, he brought that fire, in the hope of finding room for it to grow and flourish. A dream whose name is Jesus, planted by the Father in the confidence that it would grow and live in every heart. A concrete dream who is a person, running through our veins, thrilling our hearts and making them dance”.
We hope you have enjoyed this dip into the waters of the ocean of Church teaching contained in papal encyclicals such as Christus Vivit. We encourage you to read the entire document as we are called as Catholics to keep learning our faith. The magnificence of our 2000 years of Catholicism is the libraries of teaching we can discover. The wonder of our day and time is that those libraries are available at the click of mouse! We encourage you to visit the Church’s website of the Holy See at www.Vatican.va. Papal documents can be found by clicking on the pope or the century. Amazing! Make it journey; pick a document and go. You can dive in wherever you want and stay as long as want.
Pilgrim Center of Hope’s Catholic Women’s Conference can be experienced both in-person OR live-streaming! Join us 10/31/2020 for a day of fellowship, inspiration, music, prayer and encouragement in our dignity and calling as women and daughters of God. Register at CWCSanAntonio.com and discover more about Pilgrim Center of Hope at PilgrimCenterofHope.org.