Lenten Meditation 1: Friendship with God

Lenten Meditations: Friendship with God

I maintain that God—out of the abundance of divine relational life, not any need for us—desires humans into existence for the sake of friendship. This thesis may sound strange, because it runs counter to much teaching about God. To be honest, I questioned it myself when I first began to think it through. But over the years, as my own relationship with God has deepened and I have listened to people talk about how God relates to them, I have become convinced that the best analogy for the relationship God wants with us is friendship.

As I begin my Lenten journey, I pray to understand what it means for my life that God wants to be friends with me.

—William A. Barry, SJ, in Lenten Meditations:
Growing in Friendship with God

The idea that God wants to be friends with me seems absurd! Why in the world would God, the Creator of the universe, the Giver of all things, want to be in relationship with me? What can I possibly offer God in the realm of friendship?

There are many types of friendships in my life:

  • the friends who can sit with me and hold everything going on in my life
  • the friends who can sit in silence with me as we savor our time together
  • the ones who laugh loudly with me and celebrate the abundance of life
  • the ones who are present during the tough times
  • the ones that are part of my day-to-day life and support me in motherhood

All of these friends offer a piece of themselves to me, and by their doing so I experience what it’s like to be loved by another. I, too, offer various types of friendships to men and women in my life. In being there as a friend, I am helping them experience what it’s like to be loved by another.

God offers a relationship that encompasses all of these different types of friendships. In a sense, God is the totality of all of my human friends in one. God sits with me in silence, rejoices with me, laughs with me, celebrates with me, supports me in tough times, and walks with me in my day-to-day life. All of these ways that God is present deepen my understanding of God’s love for me.

What can I offer to God, though? I offer my presence to God. I offer my response to the totality of God’s love. I offer my love to God as I laugh, celebrate, cry, and share the depths of my heart with God. I offer my gifts and talents to God. In this mutual giving to each other and receiving from each other, we develop a deep friendship with each other.

Subscribe to dotMagis, the blog of Ignatian SpiritualityThis is part one of a seven-part series. Join us each Wednesday for Growing in Friendship with God This Lent.

About Becky Eldredge 110 Articles
Becky Eldredge is a writer and spiritual director in Baton Rouge, LA. The author of Busy Lives & Restless Souls, Becky holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Education from Louisiana State University and a Masters in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University New Orleans. She has her Certificate in Spiritual Direction from Spring Hill College. Becky has been involved in ministry for more than 15 years, with the majority of her work in retreat ministry and adult faith formation. While ministry is one of her passions, her greatest joy is sharing life with her husband, Chris, and her children, Brady, Abby, and Mary.

9 Comments on Lenten Meditation 1: Friendship with God

  1. I love the concept of the simplicity of the richness of a friendship with God also experienced with friend and combined to our friend and love of our Lord. While hurting and sharing one can let a healing come – I enjoyed answers from others – they do also express my thoughts

  2. Oh I never doubt that God has been by my side since. For the past year I felt hurt and sad of being discriminated by my very closed friends. And yes I am hurt so badly that I asked in prayer that I may be forgiven and be understood by my friends because I don’t know what is the reason. One day I realized , God is with me all the time , the BEST THE ONLY TRUE FRIEND so I move forward with HIM. This I am doing with the Blessed Virgin Mary.

  3. I loved the concept, but I would have to put your list of friendship sessions into the past tense, i.e.,had sat with me, had laughed with me, etc. I am grateful for all the friends who were mine in heart and spirit, as well as physically, but most of them are gone now. But I have said prayers of gratitude for the gifts offered by each unique friendship, and I thank you for this reflection. You must be a great friend to others, and I consider this reflection an act of friendship extended to those of us who are fortunate enough to read it. God bless you and make your efforts be fruitful.

  4. Looking at my relationship with God as an intimate and profound friendship sone that I have embraced ever since I came out and began to reconcile that I could be a gay man in a loving relationship with another who is still able to maintain and grow in his faith and devoutness as a practising Catholic, Jesus has been my friend and has taken on many roles that friends maintain: confessor, rejuvenator, guide, sage, unconditional support. This perception has brought me much comfort and guidance

  5. Love this passage! Indeed God is my closest companion in front of whom I stand without artifice! Closer to me than my breath! Praise You Lord! 🙏🏽

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