Sunday, July 11, 2010

Friendship III

First of all, the I've found the coolest Catholic on Earth. I'm not being facetious either.

http://cantuar.blogspot.com/2008/06/capuchin-franciscan-beards.html


This post on the Capuchins got me thinking. I've been growing my beard out (it looks horrendous), and was thinking that maybe I should cut my hair and go for that real-deal Capuchin look. I love the word 'despised' in reference to a beard. What duty do we have to our spouses to look good? I bet that subject has come up in the confessional more than once!




You can vote on your preferred one all you like. It'll take a few months to grow back either way.


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Friendship, Trois


The Communion of Saints.

We've experienced a minor miracle in Barry's Bay recently, that being the survival of a local saint from a front-on collision with cancer. You locals all know of whom I'm referring, but I try to preserve people privacy here when I can, so I won't mention her name. I've got to tell you, there was no way I thought she was coming out of it alive, but lo and behold, the Lord decided to keep her with us, and I am so grateful. She said something powerful to me today, that she wants all the prayers of those who prayed so much for her to go back to them. So feels a great deal of gratitude, a total sense of unworthiness. I know exactly what she means. I feel totally unworthy of all the good that has been done to me over this last year especially, and, indeed, even this last week. Hence the trifecta of posts on friendship.

Let me return to this after I do an act of friendship for my best friend, Anne-Marie. There's a sink full of dishes.

Okay, done. That makes a great segway into another discussion of friendship.

There's a lot that can go wrong in relationships, and we could all spout off a long list of things. But what are the things about your friends, friends that you've had for many years, that makes friendship with them possible? You have to have some things in common. You have to have beliefs in common: it's hard to imagine a Catholic being friends with a pro-abortionist, really. We can't throw out the term willy-nilly. Facebook notwithstanding, we cannot be friends to very many people in a single lifetime. Can one abortionist be friends with another? - that's a metaphysical sort of question, and, long story short: no.

As you age, you realize that there's alot about friendship that you hadn't known. You look back on past friendships and wonder why you ever thought that was what it was: but they were friendships, the friendships possible to young people or children. With adults it's very different. A little girl who likes to play with another little girl, and they never discuss anything but their favourite colours and their dollies, that's as good as it gets for 5 year-olds. There's nothing missing, because that's them at the core.

I liked to spend time with someone a number of years ago, and I kind of knew that it wasn't a friendship per se. We solely discussed things, never matters of feeling and belief. I mean, every moment you spend with your friends doesn't have to involve Dr. Phil moments, but there has to be some kind of meeting of the minds and souls. Otherwise you are not sharing your lives. It's okay to have soccer-friends, or hunting buddies, but they are not friends, if that is all you share with them they are acquaintances. If all you do when you are around someone is pound back the beers, that is not friendship either, since you are thereby hiding hiding a part of yourself from that person, your full consciousness, and they are hiding theirs from you. It is something, but it is not full friendship.

When I think of the few people that I would call friends per se, what comes to the fore are two things: Catholic and good. I have been a little concerned about the first. Some people have no problem with assertions like the first. But I do. Yet, I think that I could be friends with come very serious Protestants, and then down the line would be Jews, Muslims, Buddhist, etc, even atheists. Again, let's not water down the concept here. A meeting of minds and hearts. Just because I don't think I could really be friends with someone who thought hockey was the best way to spend your free time (better than praying and helping the poor!) doesn't imply bigotry on my part, necessarily. I am not saying Protestants, Jews, etc. are not good, just that I might not share essential commonalities with them. Maybe I would with some Protestants. I really assume I would. I want a Protestant friend!!!!

Think about marriage for a second. There is no way I could say that marrying a non-Catholic would be a good thing. I don't think you really understand marriage if you do. Now, I'm not saying that all mixed marriages are defective. Actually, I am. I not saying that they are necessarily more defective than many, many homogeneous Catholic marriages.

Commonality of religion is necessary for a good marriages but it is hardly sufficient.

And hence the second aspect, good. I know you know what good means, and better people than me have spilled a lot of ink discussing this side of things (Aristotle, Cicero, etc.) so I won't go down it here. I just want to list the amazing virtues of the people who have been friends to me this last week:

  • Generous
  • Faithful
  • Loving
  • Kind
  • Compassionate
  • Alert to the other's need or state of mind
  • Open with their hearts
  • Giving of their time and resources
  • They remember your benefactions
  • They remember your thoughts and concerns
  • Not self-preoccupied

Many of these seem redundant, and that's okay - it's a meditation on friendship.

So, to my friends, God bless you. Your kindness has not been missed.

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