My husband and I love the Book of Sirach in the Sacred Scripture so much that we call Sirach “our man Sirach”! Recently, I felt led by the Holy Spirit to meditate upon this verse from Sirach– which was my favorite Bible verse in my middle school days:
“Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter;
whoever finds one finds a treasure.
Faithful friends are beyond price,
no amount can balance their worth.
Faithful friends are life-saving medicine;
those who fear God will find them.
Those who fear the Lord enjoy stable friendship,
for as they are, so will their neighbors be”
Fast forward to now, when I’ve lived the length of that middle school life-span two times over, and I still value friendship as a gift of infinite worth.
Friends shape you and they help you to become the “best version of yourself” (a la Matthew Kelly). As Christians, we are made to sharpen one another like “iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17). So often, spiritual growth is not solitary, but together, in fellowship. In my life, this means that spiritual growth occurs largely with my spouse or friends and alongside friends old and new. Deeper than that, we are made by God to be shelters to one another, in good times and in bad (Sirach 6:14).
As friends, we are called to sharpen one another into saints– and so often, this means being figurative “homes” to our friends: to hold their hearts, to value their lives and their dignity, to remind them of their worth, and vice versa. To “tell them like it is” (whether they like it or not) and to just hold them and to be gentle with them (if that need that).
Friendship, in essence, is a shared sacred space, a shared duty, to honor and to love the other with their best interest at heart.
So may we journey together. May we run in this life side by side, towards our singular destination: Heaven.