Every now and again, the schedule just lines up. This week’s podcast was a conversation about the importance of making and having friends, my class on vocations is taking a look at St. Augustine’s Rule of Life for a monastery, and it’s my turn to write a blog. When the Lord lines it up, it’s our job to knock them down. A lot of us have a tendency to focus on the value of independence. Especially among guys, there can be a tendency to treat friends and support as a weakness, like we shouldn’t need anyone. This is stupid.
Friends have always been important to anyone seeking a good, healthy, holy life. Going back to St. Augustine, one of the rules for men in the monastery is, “Whenever you leave the house, go together; wherever you are going, stay together.” Centuries ago, it was already obvious that living a holy, Christ like life, you were going need back up. We will face struggle and temptation. That is a fact. At our best moments, we may be able to turn away from those temptations by our sheer desire to be close with God, sure. But, I mean, come on, there are going to be other moments, too. In those moments, we need to have friends who can support, challenge, and guide us.
Let’s not be totally selfish with our friends, though. We also are commanded by Christ to love our neighbor as ourself, so we have to be ready to support, challenge, and guide our friends as well. Another of St. Augustine’s rules says, “Mutually safeguard your purity, when you are together in church or wherever women are present. God, who dwells in you, will protect you in his way too by your mutual vigilance.” We are created in the image and likeness of God, but that God is Trinity, three persons in one God. In other words, God is a relationship. That’s what we are created to be, too.