Posted On December 12, 2007

God Is Friendship

Tell me, dear reader, have you ever dreamed of a love so strong so as to become one with the person you love, and still remain two persons? Have you ever dreamed of a kiss that burns without consuming, an embrace that bonds forever and yet leaves a true freedom? Have you ever desired to be able to say truthfully “I am you!”, and still remain entirely yourself?

There’s a Love that fulfills this dream. It’s the love of three Persons. And “the kiss itself is the Holy Spirit”. God’s essence is friendship, communion. It is for this reason that S. Bernard speaks of an eternal kiss that the Father gives to the Son and the Son receives from the Father, a kiss so intense to actually be the person of the Holy Spirit. It is for this everlasting kiss that we are made – the depths of our hearts hunger to be known, healed and loved by God. It is this communion that frees us, that gives us wings.

“«Friend» is the most important word that one man can say to another, the most profound, most intense, most secret” (M. Camisasca), precisely because it is the memorial of that original relationship with God. Yes, it is God Himself become flesh that wanted to leave in the flesh the visible sign of everything that is true, beautiful and eternal. Precisely in allowing us to touch Him physically, God became the “door” for the world that lets us into His home. And we need this door, this concreteness: it is the concreteness of a friend who lets us recognize in his face the Face of God. A person who poured his existence into ours, beyond all we ever dared hope for: he knew us, healed us, loved us – and in him, we recognize the touch of God, the kiss of the Holy Spirit.

In You, God Became a Face: A Dialog Between Friends 
Before you, I find myself as before a mirror and I discover things about myself that I would have never discovered without you. You draw out the best from me, you make me do great things, but even more, you make me be great, you make me be. Your love frees me. (It may seem like something little, but yesterday, without your encouragement, I wouldn’t have found the courage to defend my thesis in front of all those people.)

“Fear not, you shall not be put to shame” (Is 54:4). I always thought it impossible to let others gaze at me without a feeling of shame and fear for my weaknesses, my defects. And yet you chose to receive me as I am, and I decided to no longer be afraid of myself. I would be afraid also of you. No, do not be afraid… I would gaze at you exactly as Jesus does. And that makes me comprehend how demanding a true friendship is. I never want to possess you or claim to understand everything. I would never be able to completely unravel the mystery that is you. Would it ever be possible for me to know you enough?
What’s enough?

…Never. You are so familiar and at the same time so surprising that sometimes I ask you: “Who are you?”, and it’s the same question I ask Jesus in my prayer!“It’s me”(Jn 6:20) was how Jesus answered his friends (can you imagine what it had to mean for John, Peter and the others to be called to live the adventure to have, here on earth, Jesus as a friend?). It’s me! And in the middle of the storm, what a relief to recognize his beloved voice, like a fortress against the wall of waves… Also through the storms of my heart, I’m reassured knowing that you’re here close by, even if distant, to help me recognize our Lord.

I never want to draw you away from Jesus. If He gave us this gift of friendship, it is precisely so that we can love Him more. In loving you, in my heart there is an increasing longing for intimacy with those Three Persons who are the spring and home of all the love of the world. “Home is where we can laugh and cry, embrace and dance, sleep for a long time and dream sweetly, eat, read, play, sit near the fireplace, listen to music and stay with a friend” (H.M.Nouwen).

You’re home for me. All the love of the world… My little boat is too fragile for such a great sea. We’re building together a sailing ship to be driven by the wind. I believe that God has entrusted us with a mission that goes beyond just you and me, a challenge so great as to require our union. I don’t know what it is yet, but it is also for this reason that I want  to safeguard our friendship.
Or perhaps, it is she who safeguards us.
I meditate: How do I safeguard my relationships with people who are dearest to me and that God has entrusted to me. Am I able to live a friendship that encourages others, accepts them and pushes them to love Jesus more?

Remain in My Love (Jn 15:9) A dialog with a friends
There was a day when we received a surprising friendship to safeguard. Gazing at us Lord, you knew us in our most intimate selves. You reached the depths of our souls with your Word, your love, your forgiveness. From that precise moment, you stopped being simply an idea for us. You became a Face. The Face that Peter, John and Andrew met one afternoon on the lakeshore. The Face that the disciple whom you loved was able to recognize after the Resurrection: “He’s the Lord!” (Jn 21:7). The face that, according to Tradition, was imprinted on Veronica’s linen as a promise of a look that would survive even death.

“A heart is great when it is home to the memory of a loved Face” (M. Camisasca). Let us then keep your Face in the folds of our existence. And there will it be, even in times of doubt, confusion, suffering, to remind us who we are and how much we are loved. It will be the Face of the Friend who makes us feel secure, at home: “Remain in my love”, and this will grant us the courage to be better, to undertake the challenge of a love that resembles yours. “For whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1Jn 4:20). We give you thanks, because you gave our brother also the face of a friend.

Resolution for this month:
I meditate on Jn 21:1-12, “In what situation that I’m living in today or in what face can I recognize with John: “It is the Lord!”

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