Love-given, Love-received

Holy Communion: When Two Friends Meet

by Sister Mary Ignatius, O.C.D
Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

“I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know what his master is about. Instead I have called you friends, for everything I have learned from my Father, I have made known to you.” John 15:15

It is pretty amazing to listen to these words of Our Lord. He calls these disciples His friends. These men, who in a few hours will run away in His hour of peril, will deny that they even know Him. He calls them “friends” and He calls me “friend.” Jesus, the God-Man Who is Savior of the world, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, speaks this incredible truth.

One of the great hungers of all persons is the hunger for deep friendship. We are made for sharing. Because our human nature mirrors the life of the Trinity, the image of what we are called to become is found in God the Father pouring Himself out to the Son, the Son returning the love of the Father and thus spirating (a theological word only used in this instance) of the Holy Spirit.

We want desperately for someone to understand and listen to us and vice versa. Without friends, life can be flat and dull. Friends can double our joys and half our sorrows. How many times have we experienced a great joy and our first thought was, “I just can’t wait to share this!”

Another element of friendship that is sometimes overlooked is that our friends can help us to grow and mature. A true friend will brave our ire to tell us an ugly truth rather than leave us to believe a beautiful lie.

How does anyone become a friend? There is, of course, the trite saying which declares that the best way to have a friend is to be one. This leaves so much unsaid about the difficulty of being a true friend. How does a true friendship develop? For most of us friendships begin with a first meeting. During this meeting, there is recognition of an affinity, a drawing toward this new person. Now the real work begins. Am I ready to listen – not just nod and agree, but to have an open heart to hear? Am I ready to learn about my friend – likes and dislikes, personal gifts and talents? This is hard work, because most of the time we wait for the other to take a breath so we can interject our ideas.

Growing in friendship takes time. Friendship is not a drive-thru proposition. It means a commitment to the other over an extended period of time. Our friendships won’t develop if we don’t allot time for sharing.

We Catholics believe that each person is made to participate in friendships on the supernatural level as well. Is it possible to have a truer friend than Jesus Christ? I think not. Jesus has such an unspeakable desire to unite Himself in friendship with us that He has given Himself to us in the gift of the Holy Eucharist. He said, “This is My body. . . . This is My Blood…given up for you.” He wants to share the fullness of His Father’s love with us and He wants to begin now. This means that He will not leave us stagnant in our spiritual development. If we are willing to listen, He will give us the grace to grow in an ever-deepening friendship rooted in the truth of His Love.

Jesus is ready to listen to us, to speak to and share with us especially in the Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of His Love. He is waiting for us to come to Him, to approach Him with confident love. Jesus wants to spend eternity with us – His friends.

To learn more about the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, read their biography in the left-hand sidebar and visit their website (link provided at the bottom of the bio).

They publish a beautiful print magazine, Spirit of Carmel, and we encourage you to support the work of the sisters with your prayers and through donations and subscriptions to the Spirit of Carmel.

If you are able to help them, please click on the image of their magazine to visit their subscription and donation page. And please share this article with your friends and leave your comments below.

– ICL Editors

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About the Author

Promoting a Deeper Spiritual Life Among Families through Healthcare, Education and Retreats

The Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles strive to give striking witness as a vibrant, thriving community of dedicated women with an all-consuming mission. It is our God-given mission, a mission of the heart, a mission of loving service to the poor, the sick, the needy and the uneducated. Our loving service overflows from each sister’s profound life of prayer. We strive to reflect His life and hope and His promise to all that light has come into our world and darkness has not overcome it.

A look at the history of our community, with its motherhouse in Alhambra, California, reveals how its life-giving presence has come about. During the beginning decades of the 1900s just as the epic Mexican revolution was subsiding, a ruthless religious persecution was gaining momentum in Mexico. This horrible persecution accompanied the birth and humble beginnings of our community, a legacy that Mother Luisita, our foundress, and her two companions brought with them as religious refugees entering the Unites States in 1927.

Those seeds planted by Mother Luisita, now a candidate for sainthood, have taken deep root in the United States since those early days. People and places have changed throughout the years, yet the heart of our mission remains. As an autonomous religious institute since 1983 we continue to carry out our loving service in our healthcare facilities, retreat houses and schools which remain to this day centers of life and hope. Today we are moving forward together “Educating for Life with the Mind and Heart of Christ” in schools, being “At the Service of the Family for Life” through health and eldercare and “Fostering a Deeper Spiritual Life” through individual and group retreats. At the heart of our vocation is a passionate mission of loving service which facilitates our life-giving encounter with the living God.

The heritage of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles is rooted in the spirituality of Carmel, the Gospels, the Church, with our particular charism derived from our beloved Foundress, Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

In His merciful goodness, God has graced our Institute with the Carmelite charism which has its roots in a long history and living tradition. The spirituality of St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross is rooted in this tradition. Carmel means enclosed garden in which God Himself dwells. The divine indwelling in the soul is the foundation of Teresa's doctrine. Thus our vocation is a grace by which contemplation and action are blended to become an apostolic service to the Church.

Our ideal finds a living expression in the life and charism of our beloved Foundress, Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament, whose spirit we faithfully preserve and foster.

Our life is characterized by: - A life of prayer and union with God - A deep love for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist - Devotion to our Blessed Mother - Steadfast fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church - Praying for priests - Commitment to works of the apostolate in ecclesial service

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