Septuagesima~The Friendship of God

Jesus and the Apostles

“I will not now call you servants: for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doth. But I have called you friends; because all things whatsoever I have heard from my father, I have made known to you.” — St. John xv. 15

Could our Blessed Lord be plainer ? The proof of His friendship is plainly stated; it is the know ledge of the truth. What we call the faith is the foundation of the divine friendship: a clear know ledge of things divine revealed by the Father of Light through His only begotten Son, accepted by us and believed with a spiritual power of understanding far above nature’s powers.

I think, brethren, that you know something of that primary Christian virtue of Faith, and also of the state of mind it produces. So I want you to consider the meaning of those words, “But I have called you friends.” Friend is a tender name, and friendship is a precious title. To be sure we are children of God by the grace of divine faith. But haven’t you noticed that children sometimes feel awkward and timid in the presence of their father? But there is no such estrangement between one in the state of grace and his Heavenly Father. Has he been a deadly foe of God and then sought reconciliation? No unpleasant awkwardness remains; no bitter recollections rankle in God’s memory; the forgiveness is perfect. The very need of confession and penance makes it but the more perfect, for it gives us some shadow of right to the sweet title of friend. Sinner! if you will return to the divine friendship all will be forgotten.

There is no such thing as even a respectful timidity: the freedom and familiarity of a friend is added to the rights and duties of a son. True friendship produces equality, and divine grace so raises us above the state of creatures, by which we are only servants, that we have a sort of equality with God. We are children of God ; we are brethren and co-heirs with the Eternal Son of God, good servants of His, and now He calls us His friends!

“St. Augustine, in his Confessions, mentions an occurrence that had much to do with his conversion: Two young men were members of the court of the Roman emperor, seeking the imperial favor, the monarch’s friendship being the highest ambition. Happening one day to enter a lonely cottage together, they saw a little book on the table. It happened to be the life of St. Anthony of the desert. They read the book through and were charmed with it. It showed them how that wonderful saint had sought the divine friendship, and with how great success.

“Whose friendship do we strive after?” they said to each other.  “For the obtaining of whose favor do we dedicate our whole lives? That of an earthly monarch, whose friendship is full of danger and rivalries and bloodshed, and at best must pass with himself into the grave.” So they resolved to quit the court, and in retirement and prayer to cultivate an intimate and delightful union with the truest of friends, our Heavenly Father. Brethren, the friendship of no mortal being, even the purest and noblest, can ever satisfy your hearts. God alone can be such a friend as you need, and if you like, His friendship is yours to have and to retain forever.

Five-minute Sermons for Low Masses on All Sundays of the Year
By the Priests of the Congregation of St. Paul, 1893

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