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When I was a teenager I used to find it strange that my mother’s idea of “hanging out” with her friends meant going to Mass together or joining a procession or attending Bible classes. I wondered how she and her friends could think that it was preferable to watching a movie or window shopping. All this was, of course, before I really took my faith seriously.

As I have grown older and my faith has grown more central in my life, I found that the friends who have remained in my inner circle are the friends who not only appreciate this spirituality but who share in it. I used to be really grateful when friends who travel abroad would come home bringing me a token of some sort. But now, my favorite “pasalubongs” are when my friends go to a shrine or a church or on a pilgrimage and say they said a prayer or lit a candle for me. I find that truly touching.

This is especially important to me since many of the friends in my inner circle do not live in the same city. And whereas technology allows us to keep in touch with each other, it is a far cry from when we used to see each other every day. So when I keep them in my prayers or when they keep me in theirs, I continue to feel connected to them. It is a connection that transcends shared interests and common experiences.

It is in prayer that I feel most vulnerable and most at home with myself.  When I allow people to see this part of me or to share in what I bring to prayer or what graces I receive, I share a part of myself that I don’t share with anyone else. So it is only the friends that I truly trust that I invite into my sacred space. Once, I brought a friend to spend a few moments in adoration with me and the closeness I felt at that moment far surpassed hours spent in conversation.

These days, I can completely appreciate the friendships my mother has had over the years. Her friends have seen not only her through but have extended their support to me as well. Now I understand that the friends who stayed were the friends who prayed. I can only hope and pray that my friends and I will be as blessed.


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