By Lee-an Rosal
You do this all the time: you open your Facebook account and see the glaring red “new friend” notification on the far left corner of your screen. You see the people who are attempting to add you: some you met at a party, perhaps, a minute worth of exchanged hello’s; some you knew 10 years ago, your grade school seatmate. There are privacy filters, anyway, so you click “accept.”
Such is how we define “friends” nowadays. With a swift click of a button, you’ve established a connection.
When I attended a conference for leaders in my community, I discovered the real meaning of friendship.
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” -Jn 15:13
Such is how Jesus sees us, friends. A friend willing to give up everything, even to the point of death. As King, He does not see us as slaves but He embraces us fully, no matter how sinful we are, and He dearly calls us friends. (Jn 15:15)
To die for someone else who isn’t of the same family blood as we have! To the world this may sound crazy, but one brave soul did just that. At 17 years old, he knew the concept of friendship and though he had chances to evade the spear that struck his heart, he never left his friend alone to die for the sake of the Gospel.
This courageous soul is no other than soon-to-be-saint Pedro Calungsod. A young catechist, he went on mission with a Jesuit priest, Fr. Diego Luis de San Vitores, to the Marianas Island in Guam. In the middle of their mission, an angry native who became furious when his wife allowed their child to be baptized suddenly hurled spears to kill the missionaries. Our normal reaction to a life-threatening situation is to flee, if not, to fight back. But Padre Diego and Pedro came in the peace of Christ; they refused to bring any weapons in the mission. Young and agile, Pedro could have run away and left Padre Diego alone; then again, this was not what his young heart knew of what friendship should be. As a catechist who knew well the teachings of Christ, he took to heart, that to be a friend is to love to the point of giving his own life. He never left Padre Diego. He stayed.
As we journey towards the canonization of Bl. Pedro Calungsod, we look into this lesson of friendship. Genuine friendship isn’t how long you have known the other nor is it shared through clicking “accept” online. A friendship founded in love is the friendship Christ offered us when He chose the cross.
Lee-an is a missionary of Couples of Christ Foundation for Family and Life, specifically under Family and Life Quad Media. She believes that everything in life is operated on God’s grace. Thus, she writes to share this Grace. She is also active in the transparochial team of the Diocese of Paranaque-Commission on Youth. If not in front of her laptop or the TV hooked to teleseryes, she has her hands all floured up…popping yummy treats into the oven. Catch her in http://gripsofgrace.wordpress.com