Seventh Sunday of Easter (May 13, 2018)
In today’s Gospel we experience Jesus praying that his disciples may be made one, and “consecrated to the truth.” St. Francis de Sales notes:
How good and pleasant it is for brothers and sisters to dwell together in unity! When two or three or more souls share with one another their sacred love and holy affections, and establish a single spirit, they experience true friendship. Friendships that are sacred, speak truthfully, and praise only virtue and God’s love.
For those of us who live in the world and desire to embrace true virtue it is necessary to unite together in holy friendship. The higher the virtue you share with each other, the more perfect your friendship will be. You encourage, assist, and lead one another to perform good deeds. People walking on level ground do not have to lend one another a hand. Yet, those who are on a rugged road hold on to one another in order to walk more safely. The only connection between them is that of sacred love, which St. Paul calls: “the bond of perfection.” This bond of love grows in time and takes on new power. It gives us ease and true liberty. Its force is gentle, yet so solid.
It is the presence of God’s love in us that leads to an authentic love of self, and subsequently, to love others the way God desires us to love them. We cherish all creatures for love of God. To love our neighbor in holiness is to love God in them. Thus, we must not neglect to nurture the friendships with our parents, kindred, neighbors and others. Yet, we live in a world where everyone is not of the same mind and heart. Hence we need particular friendships to support us in the many dangerous places we must pass through. True friendships are sacred because they come from God, lead to God, and will endure eternally in God. How good it is to unite our hearts here on earth, as we will do in eternity!
(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales)