Do you have good spiritual friendships? Has a good Catholic friend enriched your faith life? Fr. Gary Caster, priest of the Diocese of Peoria, author, and Catholic chaplain of Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, says it’s vital to surround yourself with good, Catholic friends.
“Jesus gathered around himself a company of people, and I know we use the term apostles, disciples, but I like to call that group of people the company of Jesus’ friends. And Christ still continues to undertake that same action that he did during his public ministry, and that is to gather together people that are friends of his to be friends of one another,” said Fr. Caster.
It’s important to gather around us people who have fallen in love with Christ. “We all know it’s a basic human truth that you can tell a lot about a person by the people they have in their lives, and that has an impact on how we think of ourself and how we think of the world.” If you want to know Christ, follow Christ, and grow in Faith, challenge and enrich yourself with great spiritual friendships.
If we spend time with people who are also trying to adhere to “the way”, we find support and companionship on the spiritual journey. “It’s vitally important in our movement towards Christ, in our following of him that we actually get to meet the people that are important to him,” says Fr. Caster. This provides recourse when we have deep questions and someone with whom you can talk about the difficulties and joys of Christian life.
That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t be friends with people of different faiths, but having a Catholic friend can make a big difference in your spiritual life. A great friendship where you can share your faith “make[s] this life that we share with Christ something real and not something imaginary or pretend in our lives. But because we have these concrete and substantial relationships with others that see the world and God and themselves the way that faith enables us to, it’s all this an heaven, too! How could it get any better?”
If you are struggling to find friends who share your Catholic faith, try getting involved in your parish or diocesan ministries – young adult groups, bible or book studies, volunteering as a catechist, or other events. If you can’t find something you’re interested in—why not start a group or plan an event? God desires that we all have great friends in faith to help each other on this journey toward heaven.