You make saints of your friends

Three days ago, for the feast of St Teresa of Avila, I wrote about Teresa and friendship with Jesus. Shortly after I'd posted the blog a Carmelite friend sent me this prayer, from the intercessions they'd prayed at Lauds: You make friends of your saints and reveal to them the mysteries of your Sacred Heart: bind us to yourself in friendship so close that we may taste the secrets of your love, proclaim your wonders, and draw others to you.

Three responses bubbled up within me as I read this: three responses which I've since had time to reflect on. The first was that I was reminded of something in our Constitutions, in the section on prayer: Jesus calls is to a personal encounter with Him. He wants to make known to us the feelings and the preferences of His Heart. And yes, this is about prayer, and describes it beautifully; but our prayer, as Janet Stuart famously said, should invade our whole day, not just the hours when we consciously, intentionally, sit with God. Wherever we are, whatever we're about, we encounter Jesus, who wants us to know the feelings and preferences of his Heart, and to respond to them - in our interactions, our choices and the many ways we can live our mission and radiate the love of his Heart.

Secondly, I realised, on re-reading it, that my first, rushed reading had been wrong - I'd read the first few words as You make saints of your friends... And why not? For better or worse, we are influenced by the company we keep, and friendship with Jesus means keeping company with the One who teaches us how to love, and how to grow in holiness and wholeness. Yes indeed, Jesus can make saints out of his friends, if we choose to let him.

And finally... I thought - would that I could live this prayer, really, truly live it! What an amazing saint I'd be then, living only in and for God, proclaiming his wondrous love, and drawing so many others to him! And God gently, patiently says, why not...? He probably says this to you, too. This is a journey we're all called to make, and on which we can pray for and support each other, so that our friendship with Jesus can indeed make saints of us all, proclaiming God's unlimited love with our very lives...