“Love is the very heart of God and also in God’s relationship with us”
The process of man’s friendship is a mutual choice. It’s a free choice, free of coercion. God is the first who loved us, seeking us and attracting us to Him, through the circumstances of our lives. A process that ends only, when we decide to choose him, and to love him also – no matter what the cost is.
Among men, friendship is gratuitous. Whether we are relatives or neighbors, we are not forced to become friends. Friendship is a relationship that cannot be imposed by circumstances, shared aspirations or working association. This is also true with God’s love for us. His friendship is offered to us without any previous condition, neither is the offer based on our merit. What only merits this love is His first choice of us as his first and last love.
Does friendship establish a mutual influence? It does. Friends become close to each other and they grow in mutual understanding, respect and love. This is true in our friendship with Jesus. It brings us close to Him and it identifies us with him. The human ideal is to live and behave as Christ did., namely to be fully human. To achieve that, we must know ourselves, gratefully accept our strengths, and strive to overcome our faults and acquire Christian virtues and values. Notwithstanding, to know and love Jesus and to become his friend is a surer path to holiness. Gradually, and almost without our being aware of it, this path of friendship leads us to being more like the Lord and in so doing, it leads us to the human ideal.
The characteristic of friendship is that each friend is unique, and with each friend, our relationship is special, like the friend is the only one we have. There is no rivalry, jealousy between friends, except when the relationship becomes unhealthy. Making new friends does not make the prior friends less important. The uniqueness of a friend does not decrease as the number of our friends increases. Similarity, God also loves us as if the only person on earth. The hundreds and millions of people living on earth does not affect the intensity and the uniqueness of God’s way in relating to us. Each person is loved by God without reservation nor any condition. On the other hand, when we respond to God’s love, it is as if God existed only for us and we don’t view others loving Him as our competitors.
Friendship is valuable in itself. Our relationship with a friend is both enriching and liberating in and of it. Whether friendship proves useful or productive does not concern us. We are with our friends just to be with them. We love them because we do. We help a friend or make sacrifices out of friendship without seeking our own interests or expecting to get anything”in return”. We do not expect our friend to do the same for us. Friendship entails its own happiness and that happiness grows for us. As we offer friendship, we receive friendship. Similarly, friendship with God ot the experience of God is valuable in itself. By itself, such a friendship makes us more human; it is liberating and sanctifying. We love God because God is God. We should not reduce this friendship to results, to advantages or even to moral changes if we are to be genuine friends with God. Such friendship can give meaning to our whole lives and it can be a constant source of joy, peace and happiness.