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Friendship can be a blessing or a cross. Depending on if you’re talking to an introvert or extrovert, right?

No matter who you talk to, friendship is a key part of life and a reality that keeps each of us going strong and as healthy individuals.

God made us for companionship and community. These are holy because they’re of God and describe who God made us to be. God desires for everyone to be made holy and to go to heaven, where we will join the community of God’s holy ones!

How do we do this? Fr. Larry Richards, in his talk “Discerning God's Will,” says it is by:

  • Being real and who you are called to be (to be authentically you and not influenced by unholy culture); and
  • Allowing God’s will and your own will to become one.

Holy friendships with both men and women are one of the many things that can help us in this.

Friendships Throughout the Centuries

Throughout the centuries, friendships have supported many heroic men and women to pursue the will of God in their lives. Take, for example, the friendship of David and Jonathan. Their friendship was so great that Jonathan protected his friend from his father, even though he knew it might come at the cost of his own kingship. (Read the full story in 1 Samuel, especially chapter 20).

As another example, consider Saint Jane Frances de Chantal. For those unfamiliar with her story, through the God-centered guidance and support of Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, Saint Jane founded a great religious order in the Catholic Church. Saint Francis, meanwhile, was inspired by Saint Jane’s courage to live a holy life–she forgave so deeply that she reconciled with the man who killed her husband, and she continued to live a life of charity and mercy. As friends, Saint Jane and Saint Francis experienced great joy together with God’s holy will always as their pursuit and goal. They encouraged one another to pursue God, even though they eventually corresponded only through letters because of their busy lives of service.

Friends Who Call Us to Greatness

Our dear friends–especially friends who are centered on becoming more and more a son or daughter of God–can offer a unique perspective. These individuals know you better than any other–they know your struggles and help you overcome even the most difficult of sins.

Holy friends seek God with you. They challenge you to become the person God calls you to be. They have a keen eye for virtue and can challenge or affirm your way of living like no other. They extend hope when you feel defeated and call you to greatness, even when you think you can’t be great.

Holy friendship is an apt description of our accountability partners, who hold us up through accountability and prayer.

Today, we at Covenant Eyes want to say thanks to all of you who call your friends to greatness and encourage them to stand for more than what culture offers us. For authentically loving, we say, “Thank  you!”

This post originally appeared on Covenant Eyes, and is re-published with permission.

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Amanda Zurface is the Catholic Content Specialist for Covenant Eyes. Amanda holds a License and MA in Canon Law and a BA in Catholic Theology and Social Justice. Amanda has served in various roles within the Catholic Church both in the United States and internationally. She is the co-author of Equipped: Smart Catholic Parenting in a Sexualized Culture and Transformed by Beauty. She resides in Lexington, Ohio where she manages providing online spiritual direction and canon law consultation.