Archdiocese of Chicago

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Facebook and Friends

It’s important to be a friend and to have friends.  Facebook calls electronic acquaintances “friends,” and Facebook users find themselves friends with people they’ve never met or talked to.  Sometimes it seems to be more important to have friends than family; and sometimes family relationships have to be transformed into friendship to be influential in one’s life.  Leaders and pastors and business executives are to be friendly, as are people at checkout counters and in shops.  Friendship seems to be the form of all relationships.

Jesus told his closest disciples just before his death: “I do not call you servants but friends” (John 15: 15-16).  So friendship with God is possible, if offered by God himself, as he has in Jesus.  In a certain sense, one might consider Jesus God’s Facebook.  St. Teresa of Avila once told the Lord, during one of her more difficult moments in the course of the reform of the Carmelite Order, “If this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few of them!”  In prayer, friendship means knowing God and, even more, coming to trust in God.  A friend doesn’t betray a friend.  Perhaps that’s the bottom line.  It makes all the more poignant the line in the Eucharistic Prayer that introduces the words of consecration: “On the night he was betrayed…”

Francis Cardinal George, OMI

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