A pleasant voice multiplies friends, and a gracious tongue multiplies courtesies
Let those that are at peace with you be many, but let your advisers be
one in a thousand. When you gain a friend, gain him through testing, and do
not trust him hastily. For there is a friend who is such at his own convenience,
but will not stand by you in your day of trouble. And there is a friend who changes
into an enemy, and will disclose a quarrel to your disgrace. And there is
a friend who is a table companion, but will not stand by you in your day of trouble.
In prosperity he will make himself your equal, and be bold with your servants;
but if you are brought low he will turn against you, and will hide himself from
your presence.Keep yourself far from your enemies, and be on guard toward
your friends. A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he that has found one has
found a treasure There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend, and no
scales can measure his excellence. A faithful friend is an elixir of life; and
those who fear the Lord will find him. Whoever fears the Lord directs his
friendship aright, for as he is, so is his neighbor also.
Today in the Jesuit world we celebrate the feast of Madonna della Strada, Our Lady of the Way. There was an ancient painting of Mary under this title which was very dear to St. Ignatius. He would pray before this image as his Jesuit brothers departed from Rome for various missions near and far. In the spirit of today’s reading on friendship from the Book of Sirach, each of us has the reminder to pray for our friends and family members spread across the globe.
The author of Sirach tells us that faithful friends are “a sturdy shelter,”
“a life-saving remedy,” confidants and companions “beyond price.” We pray with and for our many friends today, remembering the life and joy they bring to our daily living. This first week after Pentecost may the gifts of the Holy Spirit fill their hearts and homes. May the Holy Spirit strengthen us as well as we make a difference today for the gospel!
Lord, we are so grateful for the dear friends who share life with us. If in any way we have hurt our friends, failed to show our appreciation for them, or neglected to spend time with them, let us do right by those friends this week. We thank you, Lord, for choosing us to be your friends. Like your disciples, we want to follow you and to bring your comfort and hope to anyone carrying a burdened heart.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
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Ignatian spirituality reminds us that God pursues us in the routines of our home and work life, and in the hopes and fears of life's challenges. The founder of the Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, created the Spiritual Exercises to deepen our relationship with Christ and to move our contemplation into service. May this prayer site anchor your day and strengthen your resolve to remember what truly matters.