Friday, August 15, 2008

"Dear Friends, Let Us Love One Another...."

Two of my very best friends here in town are Catholic.  I am fine with that.  However, in the past, I tried to ignore our differences.  We all love God, we all want to serve Him, we all want our kids to be raised right and to love God as well.  And because I love my friends, I tried to pretend that we all believed the same.  For me, it was easy to talk about God with them, to share my struggles and pray with them or for them when they had struggles.  In many ways, they are connected to me more than my Protestant friends.  They like the same things I like.  They appreciate my "job" more than people at my church.  They are strongly "pro-life" just like me, cherish children and are supportive of bigger families.  I find this refreshing in a culture where you are weird if you don't have those "1.2" children you are SUPPOSED to have.  Also, I enjoy their company.  They are funny, serious (when necessary), and focused on the same things I am.  But, I have to admit, they believe differently than me.  They are Catholic and I am not.  I was not raised that way and have no intention of converting.  I do respect their beliefs and don't ever want to "argue" or even "discuss" our differences.  But, in learning more about Catholicism, I realize that there are some very real differences.  And for me, it is a case of agreeing to disagree.  I love them deeply and want to embrace our "likenesses" and not our differences.  Hopefully they want the same thing.  I believe that we can all three say the Apostle's Creed and believe every bit of it.  I believe that all three of us know that it is our belief in God, confession of sin and just accepting Christ's sacrifice on the cross that "save" us.  

So, there will be no more pretending.  We can love each other with "eyes wide open", knowing that there are differences.  We can give a little and focus on the things we have in common.  And we can live a life of love as Christ asked us to.  For my example, in the Bible, Christ loved people and didn't try to point out differences.  He embraced all people.  That is what we must do.   One of my favorite scriptures is 1 John 4:7-8 (NIV)

 "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." And there is more of course about His sacrifice on the cross as proof of His love.  (Read on when you have a chance.)  The point is that I choose love!!!  I hope you will too.  

And now for a prayer, "God, I pray that I will love as you have loved me.  I pray that my friends will sense that love and respond.  I pray that you will help me to focus on the things we have in common, and remember that YOU put us together.  You saw my needs (and maybe theirs) and put us together.  There is such a warm feeling knowing that you, with your gentle, loving hand, placed us in each other's lives.  Thank you Father, for the gift of my friends!!!


ped.doc said...

No attempt to convert. Just to spend time with Our Lord together as friends. Yes, there are differences, the Eucharist being the most salient, but perhaps the same love. As Jesus prayed to his Father, "Lord, that they all may be one."

friend S said...

Growing up catholic in AL has not always been easy because we're in the minority. When I was in middle school, a well meaning friend gave me a "comic book" of how Catholic tortured people in the past. It caused me to be secretive about my faith... all of it. I hated feeling like I was treated like a Buddist, or a child with a different god. Differences? Yes. But so much of the most basic the same. For a long long time I wondered if I could have a friend that wasn't catholic who didn't make me feel like a pagan; but a follower of Christ who wants to love him, serve him, listen to him, praise him, and feel his loving presence and guiding hand in my life. In His time, he has given me that friend. I'm grateful for this gift he has given me. Thank you for your love and your honesty.

rosegirl said...

Love you both!! Please know that!!!