The virtue of the month for November in Challenge & Conquest is friendship. It may not be common to think of friendship as a virtue because virtues are habits that we acquire with hard work and effort. But just think of how hard you need to work each day to be a true friend? To be a true friend to others, you need to live many virtues – kindness, compassion, understanding, selflessness, forgiveness, etc. Friendship is a Christian virtue because Jesus lived it. We can turn to his example in the Gospel and his words to find out how to live true friendship. This virtue was so important to Jesus, that he actually commanded his apostles to be good friends to one another… “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. “ ( John 15:12-15)
Jesus was able to be a real friend to his apostles when he was here on earth, so why do some people find it hard to believe that you can truly have a friendship with God now through prayer? It’s the same Jesus in the Eucharist who performed the miracles on those in need, who listened to his friends in their time of need and who forgave his apostles when they abandoned him. Pope Francis speaks often about loving our neighbor and last year he spoke specifically about how we need to pray to God for the grace to be good friends. “Let us ask the Lord for the grace not to speak badly of others, not to criticize, not to gossip, but rather to love everyone.”
The YOUCAT # of the month for Challenge and Conquest speaks about how in sending his only Son, God shows his merciful love for us. This number explains how Jesus is a true friend, walking along side us. #9: What does God show us about himself when he sends his Son to us? God shows us in Jesus Christ the full depth of his merciful love. He becomes a man like us. This shows us how far God’s love goes: He bears our whole burden. He walks every path with us. He is there in our abandonment, our sufferings, our fear of death. He is there when we can go no farther, so as to open up for us the door leading into life.
This month, let’s try to follow Jesus’ examples and words and do something each day to be better friends with the people in our lives and with God.