“No greater love than to lay one’s life for one’s friend…”
Today, friendship is a word that is easily misunderstood and less easily understood. Its meaning is often equated to the meaning of acquaintance.When two businessmen meet, and negotiate on commerce and of profit, they call themselves friends. When students cheat during exams and agree not to tell on each other, it is a good friendship. Many of those who are call one another best friends base their friendshipon liking the same food, music andbooks, expressing the same opinions or wearingthe same fashion, etc. One story of true friendship is that of Saint Pedro Calungsod and Fr. Diego Luis San Vitores.
Saint Pedro Calungsod, is the second Filipino martyr. He wascanonized last October 21, 2012.His story beautifully and courageously depicts the words of Jesus:“ No greater love than to lay one’s life for one’s friend…”At 14, he became a missionary catechist chosen to accompany the Jesuit missionaries to the Mariana Islands. From the Philippines, Pedro sailed the wide Pacific Ocean with his friend, aSpanish Jesuit missionary Father Diego Luis San Vitores to bring the Gospel to the Chamorro people. The two missionariesformeda beautiful friendship based on their faith on Jesus Christ. This friendship generated a deep bond of love for one another, for Christ and for His Gospel to be known and loved everywhere. Through their catechesis, many native Chamorros were converted to Christianity. When they were attackedby the natives because of their proclamation of Christ, Pedro courageously defended his friend, Fr. Diego, by using himself to shield him from the arrows of death. Pedro’s agile and strong youthful stature easily avoided the sharp arrows of the hateful natives but eventually he was struck by them and got killed. When he died, the natives also killed Fr. Diego and theirdead bodies were thrown to the deep sea. The young Pedro Calungsod had been a friend to Fr. Diego to the end. Their friendship is a model for all of us.Fr. Diego and St. Pedro Calungsod offer the exemple of true Christian friendship.
The 2012 Synod says: “Our Young people are both the recipients and agents of evangelization especially among their peers. They are in the stage of searching for truth and meaning in life that Jesus who is the Truth and their Friend can provide. Through exemplary Christian adults, the saints, especially the young saints...the Church becomes visible and credible among them.”(Synod Proposition 51, Youth and New Evangelization)
Let us recall that Marie Rivier named some young Saints -- John Berchmann, Aloysius de Gonzaga, and Stanislaus Kostka as Patron Saints of our Religious Family. Let us offer them again as examples of faith and friendship with Jesus Christ especially among the youth of today.
Thoughts from Mother Rivier…
“Instruct the young well. They are the ones who will renew the world…”
“To converse with Jesus as a friend and to talk to him anytime, without fear of tiring or disturbing him! It is indeed and honor above all honors…”