Friday, August 01, 2008

Did Jesus Have Particular Friendships?

An outstanding comment was left on a blog in which I had written about not having particular friendships. The person simply wrote, "Jesus had particular friendships." This caused me to ponder anew on this aspect of Christ and to review points of Scripture. The pondering is going to be for awhile, and it is very good.

I'll have to ask Him if they were "particular". We only have the view from those who wrote of the experience with Him. Yet we have revelations of the saints showing His love of all and not seeming any more than others. But closeness, perhaps this is better what we could mean. (Semantics can be rough waters of expression sometimes!).

Jesus is close to all, but all are not close to Him. It is a matter of perspective, and who was it who wrote "the disciple who Jesus loved"? It was St. John who wrote that. Now that I think of it, I guess I never read in Scripture the expression from Jesus that He was more particular with this one or that. We can infer from His asking James, John and Peter to go up the mountain with Him and to witness the Transfiguration, or that He was particularly close to Peter in giving Him the keys to the Kingdom!

Yet who knows if that was His having particular friendships or of loving all, and yet of needing to rely on some for certain reasons, for certain tasks.

He did say that Mary chose the better part, but was His friendship particular to the exclusion of closeness to anyone else--who desired closeness with Him?

This has brought up a good point of ponderance: Did Jesus have "particular" friendships--or at least in the way "I" might think of particular friendships--or is it the perspective that "I" might have on Jesus' "friendships"?

As for "Harold" [reference in a previous post], that was a friendship that the other perceived was "particular", and thus the thoughts grew to behold that particular friendships are in the mind of the one who desires to be particularized! And this is not always such a good thing....It can create much spiritual and temporal distraction and be emotionally unhealthy.

Seems that the most antithetical of the Pharisees, were no less particular friends to Jesus--but they thought themselves not at all His particular friends. But does Jesus make a person a "particular" friend, or does the person perceive that relationship (or not) for him- or herself?

Then, we look in on the scene and make the assumption from our human observations.

Who are my mother, brother, sister? So it seems from the words spoken, these were not what we would view as courting specialty but more generality. He seemed to be making a point: that anyone who does the will of God--who chooses in particular, God--is His particular friend. And that could be and is anyone, and maybe that is why I cannot conclude that He Himself had particular friendships. I just do not know that He did.

Let us pray and ask Him to make it more clear. But perhaps the answer lies within motive of the person--and I've often wondered why St. John would refer to himself as the "disciple Jesus loved"--if St. John didn't very well understand that Jesus loves everyone. Aren't we taught this--unconditional love, pure love, eternal love?

Admittedly, though, there are those who are closer to us than others--but if one is spiritually detached, then one is close to this one or that only because this one or that has need by God's will to be in one's life at this or that juncture. It may be a temporal nearness. Spiritual nearness is another matter, and in that, the nearness thrives from spiritual indifference!

Particular friendships can be rather elusive. Jesus did choose this or that disciple, and He continues throughout the ages in His saints. Yet, was it for particular friendship or for a Divine purpose?

The comment brought up such a good point, but I guess I'm not ready to simply say that Jesus had particular friendships, although we may be viewing "particular" in a different way.

I do admit that I have a particular friendship with Jesus, but if He has a particular friendship with me, it is because then He has particular friendships with everyone--or that capacity. And, perhaps this is the better point, I then should consider all in the world, souls living and dead, as particular friends.

Now I will ponder this all day, and it is very good to do so. And to root out any who I do not love in particular, yet still not allow myself to be "particularized" by any given individual. No hugs for any particulars who desire to be particularized, as that is not spiritually free. Jesus did not particularize his own family members, yet if they loved and did the will of God, they were family. He did not exclude, them, either--unless the point needed to be made.

Should we do likewise?

[Pictured is the tomb of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, in the Convent of the Visitation, Annecy, France. She is known by others (perhaps assumed by others?) to have had a particular friendship with St. Francis de Sales, and vice versa. But as in the spiritual friendship of Bl. Jordan and Bl. Diana, the letters extant from St. Francis and Bl. Jordan also indicate similar expressions of "particular" love to others with whom they were in correspondence. Spiritual love, then, seems not to particularize one over another, for all are elevated to the spiritual heights in which the mother, brothers, sisters in the mystical Body hear and heed the will of God. They are through Him, with Him, in Him. Perhaps it is our human non-union status that allows us to assume a kind of particular love, a humanized particularity. Did St. John write in Revelation at the same level as in his Gospel--or even in the Letters of John? He seems to have grown to a union with Christ that did not refer to people in particular views. It seems very much, regarding particular friendships, that the designation is made by those who approach the other with need to be a particular friend. In Scripture, from what I can see, it is the humans who pointed out Jesus' closeness to this or that person, and what does Jesus say about it? I can't recall that Jesus said this one was the one I loved over that one. He seems to have loved Judas as much as John, but John loved Jesus more (at least in certain moments and actions), and thus appeared from our view and others' to be a particular friend. If St. Francis and St. Jane had particular friendship, it seems to be at those times when they were in that mode yet, of human particularity. Later, they rarely saw each other, and it was with others that St. Francis met and spoke prior to his death. It seems that he and Jane had transcended particularity in friendship, one to the other. And that seems to be the point for me--to transcend particular friendships. Seems as if Jesus shows the way for that, as particular friendships in my life (from my perspective or sometimes from some other person's) have been neutralized by spiritual detachment, which has been achieved by earthly decisions and unearthly clearings!]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wrong or misidentified picture.

12:14 PM  
Blogger nothing said...

Took this photo of St. Jane Frances de Chantal's tomb, and also took one of St. Francis' tomb which is just across on the other side of the altar. Not sure where in my photo archives is that one, and not necessary to hunt. Now I have it correctly identified, with much gratitude to your pointing out my original identification error. God bless you!

3:01 PM  

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