Friends: The Surest Way to Heaven

By Michela Brooks

Friendship is a topic I have been reflecting on a lot lately. Maybe it's the time of year. Friends are moving on. After seeing each other every day for 9 months you say goodbye for the summer. You finally have time to reflect on the friendships you have made since you came on campus. You are looking forward to seeing old friends back home. All of these things and more have led me to reflect on my friendships and God's purpose for them in our lives. 

I have learned a lot about friendship and it's importance in our lives this year. Some of these lessons have been learned through being a good friend, and others have been learned through failing at friendship. However the lesson was learned, I'm glad it was.

Lesson 1: Friends rejoice in one another's joys, and mourn one another's sorrows. This lesson is pretty simple, and biblical (Mat 5:4) but so necessary in friendship! A priest told me this year, "Friends are two bodies and one soul." They should mourn with one another, rejoice with one another. In the little victories (Yay! You got an A on that exam!!) and in the big spiritual victories (Wow! It is beautiful to see you so faithful to your daily prayer!), we should be rejoicing with one another! And when our friends fall we should mourn with them. If it's spiritually falling, pray for them. Doing a small penance for their sin or failure is a beautiful gift to give someone. Moral of the story: their victories are your victories, and their faults are your faults and vice versa!

Lesson 2: Close friends are a gift from God. Sounds super simple (and obvious), but truly they are. Last year was an interesting year for me where I had built a lot of friendships, but not a lot of close friendships. I said a prayer at the end of the year asking God for a companion the next year. And you know what? He answered my prayer! He gave me an amazing friend and companion this year. It's the friends who know you (too) well, who can tell you when you are being ridiculous, who just likes being with you (even if you're not doing anything interesting) that are truly gifts from God. It's not always rainbows and butterflies in those friendships but it's those friendships that make you the best version of yourself. 

Which leads me to the last lesson... 

Lesson 3: Friends are the surest way to heaven. Not because they tell you how holy you are or because they make you so happy all the time and you just want to love Jesus more. No. More accurately, relationships (friendships specifically) show us the parts of ourselves that we don't like, the parts that are less-than holy, the parts only the people who know us really well can see. They are the sandpaper to our rough edges that help to smooth us out, purify our hearts and rid us of our self-centeredness.

I am so grateful for all of my friendships this past year (both near and far) that have helped me to become more of the woman that God wants me to become. As the summer begins and the new school year approaches, I will be praying for all of my friendships that they would be centered on Christ and others, and lead to our eternal home.