I had an interesting chat with our parish priest yesterday. He had come to give my mother Holy Communion as she is bed-bound. Afterwards, he happened to notice that a programme about the Queen was on my mother’s TV, which is fixed the wall of her bedroom. It was showing the funeral procession of her father, the late King George VI, and I remarked that as a young child I remembered a teacher at my primary school being dressed in black and crying at the death of the King.
The parish priest, who is from the Republic of Ireland, was very struck by this: having no concept of monarchy, he wondered that a woman would weep for a monarch, someone she did not know personally. I suggested that perhaps this sorrow for George VI was also in recognition that, very shy and in delicate health, he had followed the call of duty and sacrificed his life for his country.
This resonated with Father and we talked about self-sacrifice in the Christian religion. Afterwards I reflected that sacrifice is intrinsic to our faith: Christ’s supreme sacrifice for us and the consequent invitation to self-sacrifice for others. It is intrinsic to friendship too; didn’t Christ say, “Greater love hath no man than he lay down his life for his friends”?
He writes that his own deepest friendships “have been with the people who shared my most deeply held values.” He echoes what an old lady once told me: “A friendship made in Christ can never die.”
I then chanced on an article about friendship that is more hard-hitting than Fr Lauenstein’s book. Distinguishing between “pleasant friendships” and “true friendships”, the author argues that we only discover the latter when the friendship has undergone a kind of purification, followed by “reconciliation.” This reconciliation he defines as “the death of the ego for the life of the other.” It forces one to respond to the article’s question: “Do we even desire to cultivate this kind of friendship?”
Having been unable to sell in churches for well over a year due to the pandemic, we are now inviting readers to support the Herald by investing in our future. We have been a bold and influential voice in the church since 1888, standing up for traditional Catholic culture and values.
Please join us on our 130 year mission by supporting us. We are raising £250,000 to safeguard the Herald as a world-leading voice in Catholic journalism and teaching. For more information from our chairman on contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund, click here
Make a Donation
Donors giving £500 or more will automatically become sponsor patrons of the Herald. This includes two complimentary print/digital gift subscriptions, invitations to Patron events, pilgrimages and dinners, and 6 gift subscriptions sent to priests, seminaries, Catholic schools, religious care homes and prison and university chaplaincies. Click here for more information on becoming a Patron Sponsor. Click here for more information about contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund