After imploring light from the Holy Spirit, immediately I remembered (the above bibical quote) sentence from the holy gospel which now head the plan of the DHM (Fr. de Cloriviere)
One of the inspirations of our founders for the creation of the Society is John 15,15 and the longer I have been a member of the Society, the more I am aware of just how important this quote is to our founding and our living of the charism.
If one reads more of the quote, Jesus points out that he calls us friends because he has told us everything he heard from the Father. Jesus goes on to say that it was he who chose us, rather than the reverse. He continues by saying that he chose us so that we could “bear fruit that will remain (Jn 15:16)”. Think about that for a moment, just what are all the ramifications of what Jesus is saying in Jn 15-16 not only to the members of the Society of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, but to all Christians?
I am currently reading a book entitled A Friendship Like No Other by William A. Barry, SJ, and it is a book I would highly recommend to anyone who would like to have a better understanding of what it means to be friends with Jesus, as well as develop an intimate relationship with Jesus. An important point that Barry makes is that a perfect friendship is one that is mutual in nature and that the more we come to know each other, the more we reveal about ourselves to each other. The author stresses that the more we come to know each other, the more we are able to work together on a common goal. The experiencing of this mutuality empowers us to live the gospel message and “bear fruit that will last.”
As we all know, a friendship is something that requires that the individuals spend time with each other. The more time spent together communicating and listening to each other, the greater the possibility for the relationship to grow and thrive. When it comes to developing a relationship with God, the same principle applies, and that means spending time with God in some form of prayer both in voicing concerns and listening to what God has to say. Although there are various ways of praying, one that I have found very helpful has been the Ignatian practice of active imagination. In active imagination, you take a story from the bible and place yourself in the scene as one of the participants. Take for example the quote I use at the beginning of this article. Imagine yourself as being one of the disciples hearing Jesus saying that he no longer calls you servants, but friends. What would be your first response to hearing Jesus speak? How do you feel when you hear Jesus say this to you? How would you respond? Imagine yourself responding to Jesus’ comments and how he would respond in turn. On another occasion, return to the scene, but this time imagine yourself to be Jesus and again explore your reactions. I would also like to suggest that after you have completed the reflection time that you journal on your experience to help you process the experience.
Is this a form of prayer you regularly like to do? Is there any difference in how you relate to Jesus/God as a result of this form of prayer? Do you believe that what occurred during your time of reflection to be from God or from you? Why and/or Why not?