23 Aug

“Friendship has always belonged to the core of my spiritual journey.”  ~ Henri Nouwen

Nouwen is spot on in today’s quote.  We cannot, emphasize not, be deeply religious/spiritual if we are not willing to embrace friendships.  After all, Jesus asks us to be responsible for our brothers and sisters.  That means being a friend who cares for them, desires the best for them, and does whatever is necessary to provide for their well-being.  All of that is practice for the most important friendship: our relationship with Jesus.

If being Jesus’ friend sounds strange or foreign to you, I would dare say that your spiritual journey is not what it should be.  Our relationship with Jesus should be the same as any other best friend.  When we have a best friend, we want to spend time with that person.  When we have a best friend, we do what we can to let our friend know that we care about him or her.  When we have a best friend, we can’t imagine our lives without that person.

That is the same relationship we should have with Jesus.  If our relationship is simply a usury relationship — if all we do is ask Him for things and expect Him to fix our problems — then we cannot possibly call it a friendship.  Friendship involves give and take.  Friends speak and listen.  They spend quiet time together.  They do not demand favor upon favor.

That is why friendship belongs to the core of our spiritual journey.  Nouwen reminds us how important friendship truly is to our spiritual lives.  Try to be the best of friends possible today not only with others but also with the Lord.

FAITH ACTION:  Make sure that your relationship with Jesus is that of a best friend.  If it is not, do what you need to do to begin to mend or build that relationship.