Holy Friends = Holy Life
In the field of Social Psychology, we learn that people who have a strong social support system are more likely to overcome any adversity that comes their way. At-risk individuals are less likely to succumb to peer pressure, become drug addicts, involved in gangs, drop out of school, and other such negative outcomes if they have people in their lives that they can rely on. Why do I mention this? Because studies show that good friends make a positive difference in our lives!
This holds true in our spiritual lives. St. Clare had St. Francis to look up to and emulate, the Apostles had each other and of course, Jesus, and St. Augustine had St. Monica, his pious and loving mother, to pray for his continual conversion, to name a few! These holy family members and friends bring out the best in you; they challenge you when you are wrong, encourage and affirm you when you act justly, and love you unconditionally. They hold you accountable to the commitments you make especially in regards to your spiritual life, and their own holy presence inspires you to lead a life similar to theirs- one of kindness, humility, patience, faithfulness, love, and mercy.
You know the saying- the apple does not fall too far from the tree? Surrounding yourself with holy people is like eating good, healthy food- it nourishes you and gives you strength for the day ahead. Good, holy friends make any pain bearable. They give you hope when you feel hopeless, and they point you to Christ when you have lost your way (like Mother Mary!).
Who do you spend most of your time with? Do they help you grow in holiness or do they tempt you to do otherwise? Do they bring out the best in you or the worst?
God puts holy people in your life for a reason! They are there to be an extension of His love, mercy, and friendship. If you are having difficulty finding holy friends, look at your parish's bulletin and website. Do they offer bible studies, men and women's fellowship groups, youth groups, young adult groups, rosary groups, or any other group that brings faith-filled people together? If so, I challenge you to attend a few of them and find the group that best fits your needs. Investing your time in this community will bear more fruit than you can possibly imagine.
May you be surrounded by holy friends that love and support you, and may you grow in holiness with them beside you!
*A few examples of studies that discuss the benefits of social support: http://healthandjusticejournal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40352-016-0033-y
*For more blog posts like these, click on the following link: http://www.catholicspiritualdirector.com/#!blog/l5xzs