A Time to Speak – Young parents and best friends


Marty Carraro

Young parents surround themselves with friends. Their spouses, high school and college friends, their favorite neighbors, the parents of their children’s friends. We were all taught growing up to be good to our friends, treat them right, like you would like to be treated.

Some have friends at work, friends that we sit with at dance recitals and ball games. We consider friends to be those people we have common interests with, feel comfortable around and like the same type of social events that we do. For some it is a dinner together, a night at a concert or a vacation together.

How often do we think about this…..who is our best friend?

Who is your best friend?
Most would say my spouse, a sister, a life-long friend that we grew up with. That person we share everything with.
Here is an important thought for us to ponder as Catholics.

What kind of friendship do we have with Jesus? Why do we need him?
That may seem like an odd question. It should be no secret that to be a Catholic, our friendship with Jesus is our most important one. It is more important than your relationship with your spouse, your children, your parents and yes even more than your very best friend. For most of us it is difficult to think about our relationship with God in these terms.

Have we forgotten who our real friend is, which prompts the question — how do we become friends with someone?
Most would say we develop friendships through communication, constant contact, shared values, heart to heart likes and dislikes.

Think about this for a minute. You may have all the best friends in the world and a great social life. You may be the “go to person” at your school or your children’s little league. But are your priorities in the correct order?

Our friendship with God is really the key to our long-term happiness in this life. The way our kids end up could very well be the end result of your friendship with God. (You will not be around forever.)

At some point, something has to click if we are going to be friends with God.

As Catholics we really need to place Jesus Christ in the center of all we do. Our friendship with him is the reason we are here. It is not to make the most money or drive the biggest car, although these can be the nice results from hard work and doing the next right thing.

A wise priest once told me Jesus wants to be:
• the standard we judge our daily lives by. How does _____ affect my relationship with God, people, myself and creation?
• the strength of our lives when the weight of daily life almost crushes us.
• the keeper of the secrets of our heart.
• the call in the middle of the night when the demons at 2 a.m. seem much more threatening than the demons at 2 p.m.
• a companion at our daily jobs.
• the treasure of our lives that never grows old or out of date.
• light in the darkness.
• our political consultant.
• someone we can go fishing with, shopping with or go to a football game with.

Jesus did not come:
• to be a friend we just “bump” into occasionally at a restaurant or a ballgame.
• to be a neighbor we only wave at on occasion.
• to be one we see at a class reunion every 15 or 20 years.

Jesus came to be with us in our daily life, everyday!

How do we make Jesus our best friend? How do we make it “click”?
Here are a few options.
• Read the bible
(especially the Gospels).
• Start a small prayer group (we don’t have to eat & drink every time
we are together).
• Learn to pray the rosary.
• Attend mass and receive Communion.

Make your own list but do something. Don’t just sit on the sidelines!

Marty Carraro and his wife Mary Anne have been members of St. Raphael Church for 31 years. He has six children and 12 grandchildren.

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