Home

Introduction

Self-help

Doctrine

Prayer

Recommended Readings

Spiritual Counsels

Consultation

Questions and Answers

Subject Index

Contact Me

Related Links

Psychological Healing
in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

Questions and Answers

What about friends? How do they fit into a devout life?

Outline of the Answer
• A Story
• Scorn for Creatures?
• Friends
• A Rule

 
When I was in Mexico several years ago, doing free work to help build a website for some nuns, the Mother Foundress put her arms around me as I left. She leaned her forehead against mine, and we stayed that way in contemplative silence for a few minutes.

Then she said, “I love you.”

Understanding that this was spoken by a nun, I replied, “And I love those who love Christ more than they love me.”

So what does this teach us about friendships?

 
Scorn for Creatures?

Many persons can get confused about friendships when they read about saints and mystics of the past who spoke about having “scorn for creatures.” To modern ears, this sounds cruel and inhuman because it seems to contradict the command to love our neighbors. But the problem really is in misunderstanding the old language of “scorning creatures.”

In modern psychological language, “scorning creatures” means simply to break our illusions of identity that we put into relationships we have with other persons. To break those illusions, we do not really scorn other persons themselves, we scorn the manipulation of others for our own benefit. Hence, when we “scorn creatures” we stop using them to satisfy for our own needs, and we turn our attention to God as our ultimate and only source of indentity.

 
Friends

Although it’s a mistake to manipulate others for the sake of personal fulfillment, a person who seeks to live a holy life can be friends with anyone who desires to live a holy life. In this case, the bond between these persons is the bond of mutual love for Christ.

 
A Rule

In any friendship, however, it’s important that one rule be respected: friendship can never fall into expectancy or it will destroy itself.

This rule really derives from a mystical understanding of God’s gifts: God gives us many gifts, not for our personal benefit, but to help us do His will. We must accept these gifts as they are given, when they are given, without expecting them. We can ask for them in our need, yes—and then we must wait patiently for God to do what He wills.

And so it is with friends. We turn to Christ for all our needs; we seek His Kingdom before all else. And when God gives us time for mutual sharing with a friend, free of all expectancy and demand—like wildflowers in a meadow—we rejoice.

Nevertheless, all friendship must be like Saint John the Baptist pointing to the Cross: Him, not me.
 

Even the most intimate bonds of friendship and the closest affinity of minds cannot truly lay claim to . . . peace if they are not in agreement with the will of God. Alliances based on evil desires, covenants of crime and pacts of vice—all lie outside the scope of this peace. Love of the world cannot be reconciled with love of God, and those who do not separate themselves from the children of this generation cannot join the company of the children of God. But those who keep God ever in their hearts, and are anxious to preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, never dissent from the eternal law as they speak the prayer of faith. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

—From a sermon by Saint Leo the Great, pope
Office of Readings, Monday,
Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

 


 Back to the list of questions

 

No advertising—no sponsor—just the simple truth . . .

For the sake of truth, this is a website with NO ADVERTISING.

If you find these pages to be informative and helpful, please send a donation in appreciation,
even if it’s only a few dollars, to help offset my costs in making this website available to you and to all.

Home

Imprimatur?                                           

Questions and Answers

Spiritual Counsels                                                         

INDEX of Subjects

SEARCH                                                       

Privacy Policy

Permissions Policy                                           

Contact Me

Consultation                                   

Chastity

In San Francisco?

www.ChastitySF.com

CATHOLIC PSYCHOLOGY

in association with
A Guide to Psychology and its Practice
 

 
Copyright © 1997-2019 Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D. All rights reserved.
 

All material on this website is copyrighted. You may copy or print selections for your private, personal use only.
Any other reproduction or distribution without my permission is prohibited.
Where Catholic therapy (Catholic psychotherapy) is explained according to Catholic psychology in the tradition of the Catholic mystics.