Sermons

Summary: By choosing active receptivity to the divine Friend, we think and feel the same way about reality and the world.

Contemporary friendship theorists suggest that within close friendships each party is receptive to being directed by the other. This includes friendship with Mom.

E.g.

According to the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Police Chief Phil Keith was in the middle of a televised city council meeting in Knoxville, Tennessee, when his pager beeped. Keith knew his mother wouldn't call him under those circumstances unless something was seriously wrong, so he excused himself from the press conference and phoned her. “Phil Keith, are you chewing gum?” demanded his mom, who had been watching on cable TV. “Yes, ma’am.” “Well, it looks awful. Spit it out.” Keith dutifully removed the gum and went back to his meeting.

Friendships can transform us because friends are also interpreted by each other—

Where I am receptive to how my friend interprets my personality, habits, and preferences, my own self-perception may be shaped, even to the extent of me desiring change in certain areas.

With God, by choosing active receptivity to the divine Friend, we think and feel the same way about reality and the world and thus play a part in our own transformation by actively embodying and appropriating that grace in habitual spiritual practices like reception of the sacraments that serve to set our attention upon God in loving receptivity.

2.God loves us unconditionally, but to experience friendship involves common interests so friendship with God is actually conditional—

Since friends who no longer give of themselves kenotically to seek the others Good, but rather seek their own interests, distance themselves. Kenosis is the 'self-emptying' of one's own will and becoming entirely receptive to God and the divine will.

E.g. A granddad once said how he handles adult grandchildren who make immoral or unwise decisions. He says to them, "You are not asking me for advice, permission, or a blessing, are you?" When the answer was "no", he would proceed to say, "Thank you for sharing. I love you." He explained, "They know where I stand, but I give them the same freedom that God gives me and all of us."

The promise of intimacy and having joy and gladness brought to the highest degree is dependent on keeping his Commandments, as we hear in our Gospel today: “so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete.”

4. Lastly, Teresa of Avila describes prayer as "an intimate sharing between friends” and Christ as “a very good friend.”

E.g. a 12th century monk noted: “How happy, how carefree, how joyful you are if you have a friend with whom you may talk as freely as with yourself, to whom you have neither fear to confess any fault nor blush at revealing any spiritual progress, to whom you may entrust all the secrets of your heart and confide all your plans….”

Amen.

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