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St. Dominic Savio and the Courage to Be a Real Friend
A lot of times we think that friendship means supporting someone, no matter what, even if what they are doing is harmful to their soul. You know, a good friend just listens and agrees, right? A good friend is supposed to be supportive, not disapproving, right? Wrong. A REAL friend truly wants what is best for the other person, and that ultimately means their holiness.
Have you ever been in this situation? Do you know what I mean? For example, let's say that your good friend is in a really bad relationship. She has a boyfriend that doesn't respect her. (It could also be a guy friend with a bad-news girlfriend too.) You might even sense that her boyfriend is a source of temptation for her and might be leading her into sin. But your friend is so excited about this guy and insists that she is in love. And she expects you to be excited with her, right? Isn't that what friends are supposed to do? But, you have a bad feeling about this guy and you really don't want to see her go down the wrong path. So, what should you do?
This friendship test doesn't only apply to bad-news boyfriends or girlfriends. It could also be drugs or alcohol. Or maybe your friend is starting to listen to music that is totally trashy and you know it's only going to pull her away from Jesus. Or maybe she's beginning to wear immodest clothes and you see how that disrespects her body and how guys are starting to look at her in lusty-musty ways. Or maybe he is starting to look at pornographic magazines. Or maybe your friend is cheating on a school project or test. Whatever the situation is, we have to keep in mind that real friends always want what is best for the other person. Real friends are the voice of Jesus for each other. Would Jesus stand by while someone He loved was hurting themselves in any of the above ways? Would He pretend that those things didn't bother Him and act all "fake-happy?" No way! He would firmly and lovingly challenge.
It's important that you pray before you say or do anything to challenge your friend. Make certain you have a green light from Jesus. It's not ALWAYS the best idea to say something. God may want you to keep quiet and pray for your friend for now. If you do think it would be God's will to say something to your friend, make sure you don't come across as "holier-than-thou" or proud. You might turn your friend off so much that he or she won't even listen to what you're trying to say. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the grace of humility, pray for the right words to say, then let Jesus do the rest. Put it in His hands and continue to pray that your friend's heart will be open.
Don't be afraid to be real love for your friends. You want the same from them, don't you? If you lose friends because of it, then maybe they weren't your real friends to begin with. Sometimes being honest will cause a friend to be "mad" at you for a short period of time. Don't let this deter you either. If that friend realizes that what you did or said was really best for them, they might respect you more in the long run and your friendship will be even deeper. And if they don't, at least you have the peace of knowing that you did the right thing.
Let's put this in perspective. Friends are a gift and a responsibility. Love is demanding. Our job is to do everything we can to get our friends to heaven, right? Be sure to check out the St. Dominic Savio story below. He is an awesome example for all of us.
Until next month, I remain...
Your Eucharist loving, Blessed Mother petitioning, rockin' Catholic Church obeying, Pope John Paul II devotee and fellow sinner in need of God's grace and mercy,
Youth Apostles Online
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St. Dominic, born in Italy in 1842, was a student of St. John Bosco. He once said, "I can't do big things, but I want everything to be for the glory of God." He sought the glory of God in his friendships by really caring about his friends becoming holy. If he saw them sinning, he would encourage them to go to Confession. He wanted his friends to pray and stay close to Jesus, and would invite them to make visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament or to say the Rosary with him. His friends knew not to swear or curse while they were with him, because he wouldn't allow it!
Dominic also had a great love for purity and wanted his friends to be pure. Once he found a group of his classmates looking at an impure magazine. When he saw the pictures, he tore the magazine into pieces and scolded them for putting their souls in such danger. "Poor us!" he said, "Did God give us eyes to look at such things as this? Aren't you ashamed?" They told him that it was just for fun and that there was nothing really wrong with it. (Have you gotten that kind of response from your friends before about anything that might be endangering their souls?) His heartfelt response really got to them. He said sadly, "If you don't see anything wrong, this is even worse. It means you're used to looking at shameful things!" They all knew he was right and didn't say anther word.
May we have the courage to be a real friend like St. Dominic Savio! He only lived to the age of 15, but he knew more about true friendship than most people far beyond his age.
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