Spirituality for Today – February 2009 – Volume 13, Issue 7


By Rev. Mark Connolly

Every one of us has particular goals for our life. We want to get married, we want to have a good job, we want to have children. And we work hard for what we have. Every one of us, because of the scheduling that our goals bring into our life, oftentimes is preoccupied with our families, our jobs and our goals. That preoccupation often puts on hold a goal that never should be out of our mind. And the goal is simply this, while we are on this earth each one of us, if our life is to have real spiritual value, we must cultivate a deep personal friendship with God.

...if our life is to have real spiritual value, we must cultivate a deep personal friendship with God

We are expected to use all the talents and all the gifts that God has given us because every talent will eventually give honor and glory to God. Every star in the heaven, every moon that sets, every sun that rises, gives honor and glory to its Creator, namely God. We, too, have to give honor and glory to God while we are on this earth.

We cannot be mediocre in our relationship with God. If we are to have a solid friendship with God we have to work for it, strive for it, and develop it every day of our lives. And this applies to everyone. The person in Africa who is dying of aids, the person in our country who is a CEO of a major corporation have one thing in common – God gives to each one of them 1440 minutes. How each one uses that time is a matter of choice. But the goal must be the same. We must develop a personal friendship with Christ.

Martin Luther King has a beautiful line about the talents that God has given to each one of us. It goes something like this – "Whatever your life's work is, do it well. Even if it does not fall in the category of one of the so called big professions. Still do it well. If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, like Shakespeare wrote poetry, like Beethoven composed music. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well".

No matter how busy we are with our marriage, our job, we can never forget one of the most important goals in life is to develop this friendship with God. That is what St. Augustine had in mind when said, "You have created us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts will not rest until they rest in You".

St. Paul and St. Augustine had the same theme about the shortness of our life on this earth. Every one knows the value of an authentic friendship. A friend is an ally when an alliance is needed. A friend is one with whom all our faults are safe. Henry Adams had a beautiful line about friendship when he said, "to have one friend in life is much, two are rare, three are hardly possible".

Photo of a red barn in a snow covered landscape

All during our life on this earth we have received the sacraments over and over again. Baptism, confirmation, communion, marriage, all have received from Christ these signs of his love. They are directed for one purpose, to help us deepen our personal friendship with Christ on this earth. If you study the beautiful figure of the cross, you might remember Jesus Christ spoke a great deal about the subject of friendship with his apostles. He said, "greater love than this no one has than he who lays down his life for a friend". That is what Christ did for us. On another occasion the same Jesus Christ said to his apostles, "I did not come from heaven to earth to call you my servants, I came to call you my friends". None of us can ever betray our friendship with Christ and expect to have our life have any meaning. If you study the Gospels quite closely you might remember Judas Iscariot was an apostle of Jesus Christ who betrayed him. On the night he walked into the Garden of Olives and kissed Christ on his cheek, the sign of betrayal, Christ looked at him and simply said, "friend, for what purpose have you come".

The Christ whom we worship, who spoke about friendship so often, is the one who cured the blind and healed the deaf. Those are the ways he selected to give honor and glory to his father in heaven. The Christ whom we worship is the Christ who said, "when I was hungry you gave me to eat; thirsty you gave me to drink; naked and you clothed me". He took care of the people who were part of the kingdom of God on earth. There is nothing more rewarding than developing a personal friendship with Christ. It enables you to not only imitate the qualities of Christ toward your neighbor, but enables you to one day hear the words of God, "well done good and faithful servant, enter the kingdom I have prepared for you". This is what your personal friendship with Christ can bring into your life.