Christian friendships are essential to a life of faith. Here are 3 tips to connect with people who share your beliefs.
One of the fruits of conversion to Christ is the desire to live and share this experience with others. If we’ve had a conversion or depending of our faith, the friendships of our past are often no longer enough, or are interrupted (not definitively, one can hope!) and we want to meet companions on the road with whom we can talk about faith and help each other to grow in it, as well as simply enjoying each other’s company.
Speaking of Christian friendship, we shouldn’t forget that we have friends ahead of us on this path, some so far ahead and more experienced that we can ask them, without hesitation, for help in matters big and small; even recommendations.
One person we can turn to for advice about making Catholic friends is Anita Baldisserotto, rising star of Italian Catholic YouTubers and singer in a band with her husband. Inspired by her own faith, which is deep and grafted into the living body of the Church, Anita offers some life advice to her friends and people who follow her on her social channels, one of whom has specifically asked: “How have you found Christian friends?”
This interaction in itself already shows one way Christian friendships can be born: social media, such as Instagram. Anyway, let’s look at some of highlights of Baldisserotto’s answers (given in a video found here in Italian):
1st Tip: Search
There are physical and virtual places where people of faith journey gather. So, where can we search?
Physical places: events, prayer meetings, pilgrimages, courses, seminars, retreats, or Christian music concerts, for example. Without too much effort, if you just look, you can discover events organized by various individuals and organizations, both lay and religious, both spontaneous and more structured.
You have to look around and participate: take your car, a train, your bike, a good dose of humility and openness, and go!
One little warning: let’s not get caught up in a sort of mania. There’s no need to accumulate opportunities of all kinds; let’s follow a natural rhythm according to our temperament and time constraints.
Virtual places: on the internet. Follow some blog that really speaks to you, read the comments, take note of who’s commenting and what they say, and interact with them. Always with caution and respect, of course.
2nd Tip: Organize
Create small events to bring together people who share your faith. Baldisserotto and her husband did, and it worked for them. But saying this, she’s not thinking so much about concerts and public testimonies, which are part of their particular and precious apostolate as a married couple; rather, she is thinking about simple evenings of prayer. Praying the Rosary as a group at someone’s home is a good opportunity, for example, because there’s nothing like prayer to make true, deep friendships arise and grow. The power of prayer, and of the Holy Rosary in particular, cannot be overemphasized.
3rd Tip (no surprise!): Pray!
Who better to ask but God Himself to send us true friends?
Thinking of what Christ did in the name of friendship, even giving His life for his friends. That’s how it works with God: that we are His friends before we deserve it. All we have to do is give our best effort and ask the Lord to send us the right people. Surely Baldisserotto doesn’t only mean “comfort zone” relationships; even rough personalities can be life-long friends. They help us to take steps that others wouldn’t ask us to; they offer us the priceless opportunity of some small mortification and, perhaps, even that of sharpening our assertive capacity.
Here’s a wonderful thought of Baldisserotto’s: Let us not pray only that God will rain down good friends for us, but also that He will prepare us first of all to be good friends for those who will come to us.
And last but not least, the bonus tip: Befriend the saints! If you do a little bit of research, you can find a saint (or many saints) whose lives resonate with your own in some aspect. The fact that the saints are in heaven and aren’t visible to us doesn’t stop them from being friends who can intercede for us, inspire us, and guide us in various ways on our Christian path.