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Saturday of the eighth week after Pentecost

The love of Friendship


Image for Divine Intimacy
Divine Intimacy

Fr. Gabriel

Presence of God

Grant, O Lord, that I may live my life in Your divine friendship.

Meditation

I. The highest expression of human love is friendship, and St. Thomas teaches that charity is specifically the love of friendship between man and God. Friendship, however, requires a certain equality, community of life and of goods; it demands reciprocity of affection and mutual benevolence. But what equality and community oflife can there be between a creature who is nothing and God, who is the Supreme Being? None, from a natural point of view. However, God willed to raise man to the supernatural state by giving him a share in His nature and divine life. It is true that man always remains a creature—though divinized by grace— and God remains the inaccessible, transcendent Being; but in His infinite love He has found a way to raise man to the level of His divine life. The first fruit of God’s love for us is precisely this form of equality and community of life which He has willed to establish between Himself and us by means of grace. God has preceded us, not only by His love as Creator by which He has given us existence, but also by His love as Father by which He permits us to participate in His divine life.

"Love either finds or makes equal those who love each other. . ." and God has loved us so much that He has made us like unto Himself, that He may admit us into the circle of His divine friendship, that friendship which exists in the bosom of the Trinity between the three divine Persons. Furthermore, just as a friend desires to live with his friend, and always seeks his presence, his nearness, in the same way God has willed to make Himself so present to us and so intimate with us that He has established His abode in our souls : "We will come to him, and will make Our abode with him" (Jo. 14, 23). Can we imagine any greater community of life between God and us than this continual communion with the divine Persons who dwell in our soul and with whom, by means of charity, we can enter into true relations of friendship?

II. Friendship demands reciprocal love. God in His love of friendship has gone before us; He loved us first, and by loving us, He infused in us grace and charity, thus enabling us to return His love. We return God’s love not with our human, natural love which would be inadequate, but with the love of charity which the Holy Spirit has infused into our hearts, and which is a participation in that infinite love with which God loves Himself. God infuses into us this most precious gift, and we should accept it with a pure, free heart, so that we may adhere to it with all the strength of our will and affection.

By offering us His friendship, God has made us like to Himself, transforming our natural being into a supernatural one, and we, in response to His friendship, should strive to make ourselves like Him by transforming our will into His. Real friendship leads to a oneness of thought, will, affections, desires, and interests. A true friend espouses the interests and wishes of his friend; he thinks as his friend thinks, loves what he loves and wants what he wants. We must do the same with God if we really wish to be His friend.

Jesus said, "You are My friends, if you do the things that I command you," and "If anyone love Me, he will keep My word" (Jo. 15, 14-Jo. 14, 23). On our side, therefore, friendship with God, that is, charity, requires a continual striving to conform our thoughts, our will, and our desires to the thought and will of our divine Friend. Our friendship with God will be perfect when there is no longer anything in us which is contrary to the divine will, when we are conformed to it in everything; then our union with Him will be perfect. "The state of this divine union consists in the soul’s total transformation according to the will, into the will of God, so that there may be naught in the soul that is contrary to the will of God, but that, in all and through all, its movement may be that of the will of God alone" (J.C. AS I, 11,2). Perfect charity, perfect friendship, perfect union with God : this is the end toward which we must tend, advancing speedily by the steps oflove.

Colloquy

"My God, You know that I have ever desired to love You alone, that I seek no other glory. Your love has gone before me from the days ofmy childhood. It has grown with my growth and now it is an abyss, the depth ofwhich I cannot sound. Love attracts love, and mine darts toward You. It would like to fill to the brim the abyss which draws it; but alas! my love is not even a drop in that ocean! To love You as You love me, I must borrow Your own love —thus only can my desire be satisfied.

"Love—that is all You ask of us. You do not need our works, but only our love. You Yourself, who declared that You have no need to tell us if You are hungry, did not hesitate to beg for a little water from the Samaritan woman... You were thirsty.. .But when You said, ‘Give Me to drink, * You, the Creator of the universe, were asking for the love of Your poor creature; You thirsted for love! O Jesus, I feel that You are thirstier than ever. You meet with nothing but indifference and ingratitude among the disciples of this world, and among Tour own, how few are the hearts that surrender themselves without reserve to the infinite tenderness of Your love.

"Your merciful love is ignored and rejected on every side. The hearts on which You would lavish it turn to creatures, rather than cast themselves into Your arms, into the ecstatic fires of Your infinite love. O my God, must that love which is disdained lie hidden in Your heart? It seems to me that if You could find souls offering themselves as a holocaust to Your love, You would consume them rapidly, and would be pleased to set free those flames of infinite tenderness now imprisoned in Your heart. ... O Jesus, permit that I may be that happy victim—consume Your holocaust with fire of divine love... . Your love surrounds and penetrates me; at every moment it renews and purifies me, cleansing my soul from all trace ofsin" (T.C.J. St, 12 - 13-8).

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Friday of the eighth week after Pentecost