Don’t you love a great party? I experienced one recently, for my friend’s sixtieth birthday. It was held at the cozy home of two friends who have been hosting parties for this group of friends for nearly forty years. Everywhere I looked, I found the warm and beautiful face of someone I love. Heaven.
We all glided through that room, hating to leave one conversation in order to join another. Every single encounter was auto-filled with the ease and relief of being in the presence of friends who know us very well, and have chosen to love us anyway.
After dinner we gravitated to the living room, designed years ago to be utterly comfy for the hosts’ large family and even larger circle of friends. Then, because we all just needed to so badly, we forced the guest of honor to sit and let each of us tell him the many reasons why we love him. We could have gone on much longer, but teenagers were coming home and their parents didn’t want them to know they’d stayed out longer than they had.
A circle like that takes a lifetime, and it’s not always easy. Forgiveness, like love, is a fruit in season at all times. Those friendships are all very much alive because forgiveness has been alive. I know that I have easily been forgiven seventy times seven.
That’s what today’s solemnity is all about. Like the Three Persons, eternally in relationship and eternally bringing into unity the Body of Christ, we were created to be for each other, forgiving and radically loving each other until we are forever joined in the heart of God.
How are you helping to create friendships that get each other to heaven?