No better pursuit, enterprise,
objective in life than to strive on a daily basis to grow in Friendship with
Jesus the Lord. Many engage in worldly pursuit exerting time, effort, money as
well as blood, sweat and tears for merely human enterprises which end up in
disillusion, sadness and defeat.
Pursuing whole-heartedly friendship
with Jesus fulfills all the most sublime desires of the human heart. The great convert, who sought happiness in
pleasure, sensuality and worldliness, finally after more than 30 years of life
found true happiness in Jesus. In his Confessions he affirmed this: “O Lord you
have made our hearts for thee and our hearts are restless until they rest in
thee.” What are specific and concrete
ways to grow in Friendship with Jesus?
Starting with the negative!
First, as regards any friendship, we must decide firmly to avoid those
damages, wounds or ruptures the friendship.
Sin damages, weakens, chills or—in the case of mortal sin—severs or
ruptures our Friendship with Jesus. Sin
is mortal enemy number one in our Friendship with Jesus! Dominic Savio stated
bluntly as a First Communion proposal--- Jesus will be my best Friend and death
rather than sin!
KNOW HIM! Common sense teaches us that we cannot love
somebody that we do not know. The same
applies to our relationship with Jesus: we have to get to know Jesus! Best way?
The Gospels! The 4 Gospels are
at the very heart of the Bible, because they specifically contain who Jesus is. His own words, His miracles, His example, How
healings, His love by dying for us on the cross and rising on the third day—all
of these are contained in the Gospels.
Every day we should have one of the Gospels in our hands and pray before
we read, it meditate on it prayerfully, absorb the content, try to live it out
and allow the Gospel to transform us.
St. Jerome stated bluntly, “Ignorance of Sacred Scripture is ignorance
of Christ.” How fortunate we are to be
able to read, to have access to the Gospels and have teachers to indicate how
to meditate fruitfully on these sacred texts!
SPIRITUAL COMMUNION. Highly recommended by the saints---
especially by Saint Alphonsus and Pope Benedict XVI in his document Sacramentum
Caritatis--- is the practice of the “Spiritual Communion”. One can make as many spiritual communions as
one desires. Indeed it is an excellent
manner to keep the love for Jesus burning in our hearts.
EUCHARISTIC VISITS. Being a priest or Religious has many special
blessings! A prime example is having the Blessed Sacrament underneath ones
roof! However, even if one is not a
priest or nun, Jesus is waiting for you to visit Him at any moment in the
Blessed Sacrament, in the Tabernacle. He suffers loneliness and is longing for
your visit. He Himself said: “Come to me
all of you who are wary and I will give your rest….” (Mt 11:28-30). As a child I remember learning this short
poem: “Whenever I see a church I stop to
make a visit so that when I die that Lord will not say “Who is it?”
HOLY HOUR! Better yet, why not make a Holy Hour! A short visit is fine, but a longer visit
much better! True friends want to spend
more extended periods of time together.
How easy is to watch a movie, go to a baseball game, watch a soap-opera
or even to go to a Mall to do window shopping or even “shop until you
drop!” The night before “Black Friday”
thousands in the country camp outside stores for buying! How insignificant these pursuits in comparison
to spending time with Jesus, the best of Friends. If you have never made a Holy Hour then
bring three “helps”: The Bible, Rosary, and prayer book. With the Bible, you meditate on God’s word,
with the Rosary you talk to Jesus through Mary, with the prayer book, you can
talk to Jesus, Mary the angels and saints through formal vocal prayers. At any time, you can simply look up at Jesus
and talk to Him from your heart, love Him thank Him, adore, Him beg Him for
graces, talk to Him over something that is on your mind, or simply rest
silently in His warm and loving Presence.
Venerable Fulton Sheen called it his “Daily Hour or Power!”
HOLY MASS AND HOLY COMMUNION. By far the best action that could ever be
done in our lives is to assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the
receive the sublime fruit of Holy Mass, Holy Communion which is truly the Body,
Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus the Lord.
All the angels in heaven look at us with envy, with respect to Holy
Communion. Even though all of the angels are greater than us in intelligence,
power of will and love of God, still not even the highest angel in heaven is
capable of receiving Jesus into his being in Holy Communion. Our sanctification deepens largely on the frequency,
the disposition, and manner that we receive Holy Communion. May our attitude be the following: “Jesus may
I receive you today in Holy Communion as if it were my 1st Holy
Communion, Last Holy Communion, only Holy Communion, and the Holy Communion on
which I will be judged for all eternity! With and attitude like this, our Holy
Communions will grow in fervor, frequency, fruitfulness and gradually transform
us into saints--- “No longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” (St.
READ/STUDY ON THE EUCHARIST! Never have we ever lived in a world with so
much information, but also so much confusion. However, we live in a “Golden
Age” of classical spiritual literature!
Where can we start? The Catechism
of the Catholic Church, the Diary of St. Faustina book VI, the Imitation of
Christ by Thomas Kempis, book IV, the “Eucharist”, by Father Lovasik, the
encyclicals of Pope John Paul II on the Eucharist, Pope Benedict XVI,
Sacramentum Caritatis” and finally the Dogmatic Constitution from Vat. II on
the Liturgy, “Sacrosanctum Concilium”, or one of the many short books on the
Mass and Eucharist by St. Peter Julian Eymard!
The literature is endless, but start with one of these sources or
consult your spiritual director!
EUCHARISTIC APOSTLE! When we sincerely love somebody or
something, we cannot wait to share this person or thing with others. Andrew met Jesus and loved Him and he could
not keep this knowledge to himself, he ran to his brother Simon Peter and told
him. This started a long-term and
growing Friendship between Jesus and Simon Peter—despite falls and human
weaknesses! Definitely, it should be
our ardent desire to make Jesus known and loved and followed! Today many people are like a sheep without a
shepherd, a ship without a port, an arrow without a target. A dog without a
master, a chicken with its head cut off, or even like a dog running after his
tail. The Book of Jonah concludes with
and these people who do not know their left hand from their right. Confusion abounds simply because of a lack
of knowledge and love for Jesus. Make it
your firm purpose and decision to bring Jesus to others and others to Jesus!
Hundreds of years ago in a convent in France, Jesus complained to St.
Margaret Mary Aloqoque, “Behold the Heart that has loved so much and it only
receives indifference in return.” Jesus suffered due to an attitude of
indifference and apathy towards His love. Even more so today, ignorance,
indifference, apathy reigns! Jesus
suffers immensely due to religious indifference; he warns us in the Book of
Revelation: “You are neither hot nor cold—I wish we were hot or cold—but you
are lukewarm. I will vomit you from my
mouth. Due to this widespread
indifference towards Jesus in the Eucharist we should make reparation as well
as to console the suffering Heart of Jesus. How? The best way is to offer Holy
Communions as well as Masses of Reparation!
10. MARY AND THE
EUCHARIST! Turn often to the Blessed
Virgin Mary begging for her powerful intercession to help you to grow in
Friendship with Jesus. Never did there exist on earth a more tender, loving
intimate, profound, faithful, growing Friendship with Jesus as in the case of
the Blessed Virgin Mary. Hopefully our Friendship with Jesus, starting right
now will grow. However, in the past it might have been like a “Roller-coaster!”
Up and down, some good days, others not so good, faithfulness speckled with
failures. On the contrary with the
Blessed Virgin Mary! Her relationship with Jesus and Mother and Disciple and
Best Friend could be compared to a Sky-rocket shot off towards the moon. Up and up and up and up! Never a downer!
Always did Mary’s love and friendship with Jesus grow. For that reason we beg
her to be more “Sky-rocket” and less “Roller-coaster!”