C.S. Lewis may not have been Catholic, but his well-known quote about friendship is spot on. He writes in The Four Loves, “Friendship is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
One of C.S. Lewis’ best friends was J.R.R. Tolkien, the Catholic author of the Lord of the Rings series. Tolkien and Lewis would often get together for long walks or cups of tea and talk about myths, morals, and Mother Church. As “iron sharpens iron”, Tolkien and Lewis were able to inspire each other to be holier versions of themselves, and their friendship had a positive impact on both of them.
Having a community of solid friends around you who are also chasing after Christ is one of the most important ways you can tend to your own spiritual life. By ensuring you spend time with people who care about you and want what’s best for you, you’ll avoid the pitfall of complacency that seems to plague so many Catholics in society today. Friends can help one another see their blind spots, walk with them through difficult moments in their faith, and pray for one another in a deeply meaningful way. That’s why it makes total sense that there are quite a few “saint best friends” looking down on us from Heaven.
Here are three inspiring Catholic friendships that can help demonstrate the benefits of holy, Christ-centered buddies.
1) St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare: St. Francis acted as sort of a mentor to St. Clare. They both found their callings caring for the poor and showing the love of Christ to as many people as possible. These saints, who lived in the 13th century, are an awe-inspiring example of the power of people in your life who are just a few steps ahead of you in the faith. Those mentors can have an impact on you greater than you could ever imagine.
2) St. John Paul the Great and St. Teresa of Calcutta: Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul the second were both wildly popular Catholics of their time, but their friendship with one another helped keep them humble, rooted and focused on the Lord. Although both drew a lot of attention from the media, they were unafraid to say culturally unpopular things or act outside the box, like when Pope John Paul the second forgave his would-be assassin or when Mother Teresa cared for the most destitute in society.
3) St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier: When you were in college, was your roommate someone who pushed you to aim for Heaven? Ignatius and Francis had that experience, and because of it, we have the Jesuits. The two of them had both intellect and a desire for sainthood, and it made their friendship a total powerhouse. St. Francis ended up helping St. Ignatius form the Society of Jesus, and the rest is history.