Posted by: matt25 | March 1, 2013

Who Is Your Best Friend?

It was a Thursday during Lent in 1986 when I arrived in Niagara Falls at the school building belonging to the parish of Our Lady of Lebanon. I had very recently attended a retreat which was centered on the “Naked Gospel”, which was the Good News stripped of cultural trapping and presented in a way that didn’t attach European or American baggage to it. This laid the foundation for a new understanding in my heart that I was about to be given as a gift. This understanding changed my life for good. This understanding lives and breathes in every breath I take.

God loves me.

God loves me, not only because God loves all of us, but in an intensely personal and intimate way that makes him my best friend, even closer than a brother to me. This was a spiritual gift beyond measure that I received from attending a Cursillo retreat 27 years ago. Deciding to attend that Cursillo retreat was the best gift I ever gave myself because it allowed me to learn this truth in a way that it could never be explained adequately if I had read a dozen books about it or heard about in the most brilliant talk. It had to be lived in order to be learned.

Flash forward to a Friday in Lent in 2013 when I was sitting on my couch praying the Office of the Readings. I found out that what was a new idea to me was something that was known to the Church from antiquity. I will let a Saint, rather than a work in progress, finish my thoughts.

From the treatise Against Heresies by Saint Irenaeus, bishop and martyr
(excerpted, Book4, chapter 16, 2-5)

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God had necessarily to reveal himself through his own voice, out of his great love… so that man might once again become God’s disciple and follower… Through the Decalogue he prepared man for friendship with himself and for harmony with his neighbor. This was to man’s advantage… for it gave him what he did not have, friendship with God…

…This is why Moses said to the people: Choose life, that you may live and your descendants too; love the Lord your God, hear his voice and hold fast to him, for this is life for you and length of days.

( you may read the excerpts in their original context at http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103416.htm )

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