Welcome back to Franciscan, dear readers! I know it’ll be a couple of weeks before this issue hits the stands, but I’d still like to take this opportunity to thank you for picking up the Troub again and kicking off the semester with us!
This spring will actually be my last semester at Franciscan. While I am definitely excited to see what God has in store for me after graduation, I also know that there are certain aspects of life here on the hill that I will miss. In reflecting on all the experiences of the past four years that have really formed me as a person, I am constantly reminded of one thing: my amazing friends.
Here I repeat this thought of St. Teresa of Avila: “What a great favor God does to those he places in the company of good people!”
Indeed, I am truly incredibly blessed to have had such friends by my side for four years. Friends who constantly made me smile and who accompanied me on crazy adventures. Friends who agreed to “High School Musical” marathons and late-night Dairy Queen runs. And, most importantly, friends who prayed with me and called me on to live a life of virtue.
It is easy to take for granted all the small moments I share with the people I see every day. Yet it is all of those little moments put together that have formed lasting bonds and taught important life lessons. All of those crazy laughs and hours-long talks. All of those moments when a kind smile fixed my bad day, when a gentle assurance calmed my fears, when a simple conversation made me feel so loved and so known.
Friendship is truly such a beautiful part of life that I never want to take for granted. To quote C.S. Lewis, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art. … It has no survival value, rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”
Having good friends brings out the best in us. In these friendships we learn to love. We learn to rejoice with one other and sometimes to suffer with one another. We practice virtue and self-giving. We learn to see the good in those around us and — what’s sometimes even more difficult — the good in ourselves. And ultimately, we encounter in a very real way the love of God.
Remember what Christ says in John 15:12-16. It is worth writing out the whole passage:
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the father in my name he may give you.”
Christ chooses us. He chooses us to be in loving relationship with Him, and He died on the cross for that relationship. He calls us friends.
Since God is love, all love that we experience from others — friends, spouses, parents or anyone else — is all really flowing from His perfect, infinite, divine love. When our friends love us despite our flaws, they imitate that perfect love of Christ that is greater than any of our imperfections. When our friends forgive us, care for us and overall rejoice in our wellbeing, we can call to mind Christ rising from the dead and conquering the grave for us. In all of these small ways, the love of our friends is a little taste of and road sign to the love of God.
I encourage you all, then, to really recollect all of the ways that you’ve encountered true love and friendship and to thank God for this remarkable gift.