Friendship and Grace: Weekly Summary — Center for Action and Contemplation
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Friendship and Grace: Weekly Summary

Friendship and Grace

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Week Fifteen Summary and Practice

Sunday, April 11—Friday, April 16, 2021

Sunday
What I let God see and accept in me also becomes what I can then see and accept in myself, in my friends, and in everything else! This is “radical grace.”

Monday
How joyful you are if you have a friend with whom you may talk as freely as with yourself, to whom you neither fear to confess any fault nor blush at revealing any spiritual progress, to whom you may entrust all the secrets of your heart and confide all your plans. —Aelred of Rievaulx

Tuesday
When Francis felt most alone in the world, most persecuted and misunderstood, it was Clare he would turn to for clarity, wisdom, and a love stripped of sentimentality.
—Mirabai Starr

Wednesday
When followers of Jesus walk beside him, he leads them in directions they would rather not go, into neighborhoods they would rather avoid, and to meet other friends of his they might not normally know. —Dana L. Robert

Thursday
Christian mission begins with friendship—not utilitarian friendship, the religious version of network marketing—but genuine friendship, friendship that translates love for neighbors in general into knowing, appreciating, liking, and enjoying this or that neighbor in particular. —Brian McLaren

Friday
I realized that the people I really loved with great abandon and freedom were not just people who loved me, but people who also loved what I loved.

 

Friendship as Blessing

At its best, human love and friendship are an extension of the divine love and friendship that exist at the heart of the Trinity. It is an overflowing fullness of love and blessing. Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue (1956–2008) is a modern teacher on the sacred nature of friendship who explains how this blessing can be shared.

A person should always offer a prayer of graciousness for the love that has awakened in them. When you feel love for your beloved and the beloved’s love for you, now and again you should offer the warmth of your love as a blessing for those who are damaged and unloved. Send that love out into the world to people who are desperate, to those who are starving, to those who are trapped in prison, in hospitals, and into all the brutal terrains of bleak and tormented lives. When you send that love out from the bountifulness of your own love, it reaches other people. This love is the deepest power of prayer.

Prayer is the act and presence of sending this light from the bountifulness of your love to other people to heal, free, and bless them. When there is love in your life, you should share it spiritually with those who are pushed to the very edge of life. . . . In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have. . . . Love is the source, center, and destiny of experience.

A Friendship Blessing

May you be blessed with good friends.

May you learn to be a good friend to yourself.

May you be able to journey to that place in your soul where

there is great love, warmth, feeling, and forgiveness.

May this change you.

May it transfigure that which is negative, distant, or cold

in you.

May you be brought in to the real passion, kinship, and

affinity of belonging.

May you treasure your friends.

May you be good to them and may you be there for them;

may they bring you all the blessings, challenges, truth,

and light that you need for your journey.

May you never be isolated.

May you always be in the gentle nest of belonging with your

anam ċara.

Experience a version of this practice through video and sound.

Reference:
John O’Donohue, Anam Ċara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom (Cliff Street Books: 1997),
35–36. 

Image credit: Suzanne Szasz, Taking a Close Look at Nature at High Rock Park in Staten Island (detail), 1973, photograph, public domain.
Image inspiration: Friends of all kinds surround and hold us.
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