Friendship NovThe virtue of the month for November in Conquest and Challenge is friendship.   It may not be common to think of friendship as a virtue  because virtues are habits that we acquire with hard work and effort. But just think of how hard you need to work each day to be a true friend? To be a true friend to others, you need to live many virtues – kindness, compassion, understanding, selflessness, forgiveness, etc.  Friendship is a Christian virtue because Jesus lived it. We can turn to his example in the Gospel and his words to find out how to live true friendship.  This virtue was so important to  Jesus, that he  actually commanded his apostles to be good friends to one another… “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. “ ( John 15:12-15)

Jesus was able to be a real friend to his apostles when he was here on earth, so why do some people find it hard to believe that you can truly have a friendship with God now through prayer? It’s the same Jesus in the Eucharist who performed the miracles on those in need, who listened to his friends in their time of need and who forgave his apostles when they abandoned him.  Pope Francis speaks often about loving our neighbor and last year he spoke specifically about how we need to pray to God for the grace to be good friends. “Let us ask the Lord for the grace not to speak badly of others, not to criticize, not to gossip, but rather to love everyone.”