Friends Who Are Out Of This World!
by Peter Lynch
I remember times in my life when I was in such a state that even in a crowded room I felt lonely. There was no one I felt I could turn to for comfort or help. I couldnít find a friend who could share my burden, or lift me up. I would wonder where I could find someone who would be the friend I need.
What are we looking for in a real friend? Many of us know the ideal friend because we have or have known someone to be a great friend to us. On the other hand, we may know the ideal friend because we may have been "burned" in a relationship before, and known what we really needed. When the going gets touch, they just werenít there. We continually are on the lookout for a friend whose help is undying, who is reliable, who will be by our side through thick and thin. We are in need of someone who will accept us as we are and spur us on to be better people. It is difficult to find someone who truly loves us, who will support us when we need it and correct us when it is necessary, and will remain with us through it all. To find someone with integrity, with whom we can share the intimate things of our life and know that they will treasure them as much as we do. At the same time, it seems strange that this is so difficult when we can have contact with such great friends readily. Friends who are just out of this world!
It can be easy to forget that we are members of the Body of Christ, and that membership is universal. This universal membership not only crosses national boundaries, but even goes beyond this world. As the saying goes, we have Ďfriends in high places.í We all know that the saints are people who are examples of great sanctity, and we can follow their example to live a life more fitting of being called Christian. They are the heroes and heroines of our faith. But the reality goes even beyond this. They can be active in our lives! The prayer of the saints is powerful intercession. And the steadfast help of a saint can be very relieving in a life of ups and downs.
One great reason why they are called saints is because it has been found that favors and miracles were granted by their intercession. St. Therese of the Little Flower has been known to have roses fall from nowhere to a person who was asking for her intercession. This rose was a symbol that the intention asked for has been granted. St. Anthony of Padua is often called on to help lost things, and many people know this works. St. Joseph of Cupertino is known as the patron saint of students. You can bet that I ask for his prayers often! The saints are a great part of the treasury of the Church, a treasury that is invaluable. Their help in all aspects of our lives is so necessary for a day to day achieving the end goal, eternal life with God.
We can receive great consolation from the fact that we receive much already through the saints. In the liturgy the Church often asks their intercession for strength in this life that we may join them in the next, and she does this for everyone in the world, every day. Yet, we can tap into this treasury even more by having devotions to saints. Studying in Europe, I have witnessed in many countries the deep faith and devotion the people have for the saints. They light a candle and say a prayer to one saint for a family member, then they may move to another to ask another favor. Sometimes they may leave flowers or other votive offerings in thanksgiving for favors received, or simply because they love the saint because of what that saint has meant to them throughout their lives. Itís like the saints are family for these people...and they are family...for all of us in Christ.
In another way, we have great friends beside the saints in this great catholic family to which we belong. Though we may never have met them face to face, we have been more intimately united with them than we can imagine, for the principle of our union is the Holy Eucharist which unites the whole body of Christ, because that is exactly what the Eucharist is. As we consume the Most Precious Sacrament, we are consumed, and all at once brought closer to our neighbor and the saints than could be otherwise. Here, in Christ, is where we all come together in one body, and from here is where we meet the greatest friends we may ever know. So, when there seems that there is no one around who can help, or no one to at least spend time with, just remember - Iíll meet you in the Eucharist.
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