May you be blessed with good friends.

May you learn to be a good friend to yourself.

Friendship doesn’t always come easily, it can be a path marked with loss and pain. If we have experienced the betrayal of friends we may find ourselves closed and guarded, unsure if we want to open ourselves that deeply to another again.

When friendship is good it is also a great blessing, pure gift, a treasure of the highest value.

As I read the following reflections on love and friendship written by John O’Donahue, I invite you to reflect on your own journey with friendship and where you currently find yourself.

These words may stir your soul to reach out to an old friend, they may stir a longing within for new friendship, they may connect you with places of grief or loneliness.

Notice how you respond as you listen, notice what your heart is desiring or where you feel pain.

You may want to offer these responses as prayers trusting that God will respond to your prayers with grace, kindness and love.

Perhaps you sense God inviting you to trust again where you have closed your heart.

You may receive God’s comfort and hope into places that feel alone.

You may simply want to celebrate and give thanks for the friends that grace your life with love.

These reflections on love and friendship come from John O’Donahue’s book Anam-Cara.

Anam is the Gaelic word for soul; cara is the word for friend. So anam-cara means soul-friend. The anam-cara was the person to whom you could reveal the hidden intimacies of your life.

He (Aristotle) grounds friendship on the idea of goodness and beauty. A friend is someone who wishes what is good for the other.

Our feelings towards our friends reflect our feelings towards ourselves.

The wish for friendship develops rapidly, but friendship does not.

Friendship is the grace which warms and sweetens our lives: Nobody would choose to love without friends even if he had all other good things.

In the warmth of love, the soul can be itself. All the possibilities of your human destiny are asleep in your soul.

When we love and allow ourselves to be loved, we begin more and more to inhabit the kingdom of the eternal. Fear changes into courage, emptiness becomes plenitude and distance becomes intimacy.

Anam cara was originally someone to whom you confessed, revealing the hidden intimacies of your life. With the anam-cara you could share your innermost self, your mind and your heart.

In everyone’s life there is great need for an anam-cara.

You can never love another person unless you are equally involved in the beautiful, but difficult, spiritual work of learning to love yourself.

You are sent here to learn to love and receive love.

When you send love out from the bountifulness of your own love, it reaches other people. This love is the deepest power of prayer.

In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have. 

A Friendship Blessing

May you be blessed with good friends.

May you learn to be a good friend to yourself.

May you be able to journey to that place in your soul where there is great love, warmth, feeling and forgiveness.

May this change you.

May it transfigure that which is negative, distant or cold in you.

May you be brought in to the real passion, kinship and affinity of belonging.

May you treasure your friends.

May you be good to them and may you be there

for them; may they bring you all the blessings, challenges, truth and light that you

need for your journey.

May you never be isolated; but may you always

be in the gentle nest of belonging with your

anam cara.

For more from Anam-Cara go here

As your Spiritual Director, I will be a companion on your spiritual journey, creating a safe place to help you discover the truth about yourself, about God and about your relationships with others.