Sunday, February 26, 2017
A Love Letter to My Friend
My dear friend,
You know that I love you.
How often words like that are said, but the true meaning uttered is not sufficiently conveyed, not felt, and not remembered. I told the Friday Men’s Bible Study Group recently about the last time I saw my father. It was just another friendly visit, one of many over the years, yet on that occasion we sat together and spoke at length of the good times past. And at one point I said to my dad, most sincerely from my heart: “You know that I love you.” I didn’t know it at the time, but that would be my last chance to say those words to him, and have their full meaning appreciated. With tears in his eyes dad nodded in response; he knew. Looking back, I told the men’s group, that that was one of the most important conversations I ever had in my life. I will never forget it. The next week at the Bible Study one of the men said, moved by my words, that he had traveled some distance to visit his dad the past week, and had that conversation of love. He was glad he took the time, to sincerely, deliberately, say those words, so often said --- and received --- so casually.
“You know that I love you.” Words spoken to a friend; they may have meaning, and may perhaps be understood as they were meant. But words from the heart, really from the heart are not said in a vacuum, nor heard in a vacuum. The words are not said to a stranger, and those heartfelt words are supported by and reinforce heartfelt actions. And if they are truly done well, those actions don’t need the support of words, and they are remembered --- and have an impact.
Many philosophers have said that true love conveys the meaning: “I am glad that you exist.” I don’t just like this or that about you, but everything, all of you. I want to know you, be with you, now and always. I am so glad you are in my life, and will be forever. Forever. That is a love “that you exist”; it is desired forever.
As Christians, forever is part of our life, indeed the biggest part. We will someday look back at this life on earth and think: “It was only a moment,” but a most important moment, like the one on which we were born. So, my friend, when I say I love you, with all these words today to explain it, I am also praying that you will see and remember the actions of my love, and that they have an impact on your life.
There came a point in my life when I firmly began my life in the Holy Spirit, willing to be under His graces, His inspirations, on the path to an eternal life with Him, Jesus and Our Father. Oh, certainly, I strayed from the path since then, but His Light always brought me back, and I took steps to know Him better as we traveled together. (I am taking the Life in the Spirit Seminar starting tonight in my parish.) I look forward one day to the end of this earthly journey, this moment in my life, and the forever of, I pray, a heavenly eternity with the Trinity --- but, one not alone with them.
I love you, my friend. Forever. I want you there, too, in my forever. Oh I firmly believe that many of my past friends and relations are already there (and if not, I pray so soon), but I want my present friends to be there also. And so I don’t just say “I love you” with words, words you might forget tomorrow, but also with actions. As the Holy Spirit has become a light in my life, I wish Him to become one in yours also. By my words, by my actions, by the gifts I give you, by my prayers, I want you to see the Light of the Holy Spirit that I see. I want you to be on the path to a heavenly eternity also. Certainly my walk on this Spirit’s path will be different than yours; all of us are called in different ways, to be the unique being we were created to be. But I love you, my friend, forever, and want to be with you and you with me, forever.
I feel so drawn to the Light of the Holy Spirit. As I prayed the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary last night, I paused as I meditated on the mystery of the Transfiguration. Jesus took His friends with Him there, to the top of the mountain, where together they saw the Light. Oh how I wish you, my friend, could see that light, too, and never lose sight of it.
That’s how much I love you.