Of all the women qualified to address the topic of friendship, few share a more beautiful and exemplary relationship than Emily Jaminet and Michele Faehnle. The two of them have been friends for over two decades, as the most significant events of their lives have intertwined in beautiful ways, including giving birth to daughters within the same hour right down the hall from one another. Few occurrences can so accurately echo the rhythm of life and friendship for women.
Refreshingly, the two of them don’t just reflect on the responsibilities that everyone is already aware of in friendship. Instead, they discuss the incredible spiritual and emotional value of sharing friendship with someone, going so far as to say,
“When we invite God into our relationship, our friendships can bring us to the inner life of the Trinity.”
It’s easy to take our friendships for granted, especially when many of us are surrounded by family, which takes up most of our time. Additionally, as Emily points out, “Because of social media, sometimes we can think that we’re friends with people but lose contact.”
In actuality, the speakers emphasize that these types of relationships should neither be taken lightly nor permitted to fall by the wayside. They have the potential to serve as mighty spiritual weapons in our lives, regardless of whether or not our friend shares the faith.
“God wants to use your friendships and really bring not [only you]closer to him but to bring other people closer to him.”
The women, who coauthored Divine Mercy for Moms, also discuss quotes by great saints such as Augustine and Teresa of Avila that speak of the beauty of this union as a gift to us from God. They even break down the three types of friendship according to Aristotle, adding a fourth that was shared by the saints, referred to as spiritual friendship.
This fourth type is the one that can most intensely enrich our lives and nourish our souls. Michele quotes St. Teresa of Avila as having said, “I don’t know how to urge [spiritual friendship]enough. It is necessary for those who serve Him to become shields for one another so that they might advance in the spiritual life.” These words serve as powerful motivation for us to establish spiritual friendships in our lives.
Not all of us share the beautiful bond that Michele and Emily do, though, and many of us might find ourselves lacking in friendships that nourish us spiritually. Thankfully, the two of them provide plenty of very practical ways to form these types of relationships. They share personal stories of how they have met other women – whether at church or through volunteering – and have gone on to share deep friendships with them over the years.
Most importantly, as the authors mention, we can ask our heavenly Father to guide us to those he knows will provide amazing companionship in our lives and whom we can do the same for. When we open our eyes to the opportunities he gives for us to reach out to others, we will be amazed at the wealth of friendship he longs to nurture our lives with.
As Emily said, “We live in a society that is plagued by loneliness and depression.” We don’t have to be victims of these, though. We can protect one another from falling into them through the shield of authentic friendship.
Copyright 2017 Elizabeth Pardi