St. Claude de la Colombiere had a deep spiritual life, maintaining a profound friendship with Christ that is not that complicated.
While St. Claude de la Colombiere is most well-known for his instrumental role in the promotion of the Sacred Heart devotion, he also possessed a profound spiritual life, putting an emphasis on deepening his friendship with Jesus Christ.
St. John Paul II highlighted this aspect of St. Claude de la Colombiere’s life in the homily for his canonization.
Fr. Claude forged his spirituality in the school of the Exercises. We still have his impressive journal. He dedicated himself first of all to “meditating a great deal on the life of Jesus” (Ibid., n. 33). Contemplating Christ allowed him to live in familiarity with him so as to belong to him totally: “I see that I absolutely must belong to him” (ibid., n. 71).
It was through his meditation on the life of Jesus that St. Claude was drawn to develop an intimate friendship with him.
This expresses a simple, but profound spiritual truth. We can not love someone we do not know. The more we come to know who Jesus is through prayer and learn about him from the Bible, the more we can love him.
Through this familiarity, St. Claude became more and more attached in friendship with Jesus Christ.
And if Claude dared to aim for this total fidelity, it was in virtue of his acute awareness of the power of grace which transformed him. He attained the perfect freedom of one who gives himself unreservedly to the will of God: “I have a free heart,” he said (ibid., n. 12): trials or sacrifices he accepted, “thinking that God only expects these things of us out of friendship” (ibid., n. 38). His whole taste for friendship led him to respond to God’s friendship with a loving zeal renewed each day.
Above all, St. Claude desired to be united to Jesus as closely as he could.
Fr. La Colombiere was active in the apostolate with the conviction that he was the instrument of God’s work: “To do much for God, one must belong entirely to him.”
In reality, developing a friendship with Jesus is not as difficult as it may seem to us. If we are open to Jesus, praying to him on a daily basis and willing to learn more about him, our hearts will be drawn every closer to him.