Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Friends in Christ

Our CL School of Community meets on Friday evenings at 7:30 p.m. A few months ago, realizing that there were some whose schedules made it hard for them to attend, I sent word around that I would be at my office on Tuesday mornings at 7:00 a.m., to meet with anyone who needed or wanted another weekly chance to work together. These Tuesday morning meetings have taken on special value for me.

This morning there were four of us gathered. Not a large number, you say, and you’re right. Regular Friday meetings usually draw from eight to twelve, out of an active roster of sixteen adults. But taking the time out of a busy day (on the one day our parish does not have 7 a.m. Mass) and knowing that the two or three others with me have done the same makes these Tuesday meetings particularly beautiful.

This morning a good friend came for the first time and asked, quite logically, whether our Tuesday meetings had a special format, different perhaps than Friday’s. The other three of us, more or less “regulars,” looked at each other and shrugged. It seems that the only thing defining our Tuesday meetings is a desire to be together, following the charism of CL to the best of our ability. That sometimes means reading a selection from Father Giussani or Carrón and reflecting by its light on our personal experience. Sometimes, sometimes not.

What I have rediscovered in these small weekly meetings is the surprising delight in Christian friendship, the same delight I experienced when I began attending daily Mass as a “convert in training” nearly four years ago. To some the notion of a friendship in Christ might sound presumptuous, cultish, or just plain daft. I know what I mean, though. As my friend Coppa said this evening in another context, it is a friendship based neither on convenience nor on competition. I would add that it is friendship without calculation, as well.

With my Tuesday friends, as with my Friday, as with those I merely meet in the aisles after daily Mass, there is the certainty that our friendship is about something exceptionally valuable for which none of us can take credit, which none of us control, yet which all of us follow.

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