We would not be human if we did not find, on occasion (I hope!) some people who we find difficult to love in the Christian way. The annoying cough, the person who never seems to listen but always wants to talk, or a person who one who seems too good to be true! The list of dislikes or annoyances may well be endless!

Conversely, there are others with whom we like to be in their company, they do not get on our nerves but on the contrary, make us feel that we are important and they have time for us. When we are in their company we find we are being enriched. Yes, true friendship is indeed a precious gift.

However, in today’s Gospel, Our Lord makes it quite clear – “If you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit?”[1]

So, we are facing this challenging thought – we “must be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” No ‘ifs and buts’, we are called to love all, our enemies included.[2]

St. Augustine has his usual wisdom about true friendship – You only love your friend truly when you love God in your friend, either because He is in him, or in order that he may be in Him. That is true love and respect. There is no true friendship unless you weld it between souls that cling together by the charity poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Spirit.[3]

Ironically, albeit sometimes, someone who previously we had found difficult to be with can end up being a friend indeed. Why? Because they are reflecting the love of the Father through the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit and that reflection can dazzle our innermost soul. Yes, a friend indeed – one made in heaven for earthly use.

- Sr Rosaleen Shaw, OP

[1] Matt. 5:47

[2] Matt. 5:44

[3] Confessions Bk. V.19 http://augnet.org/default.asp?ipageid=1658&iparentid=1657