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Theology on Fire lecture focuses on friends

Ashley Charnley | Thursday, February 28, 2008

Richard Egan, the president of the North America Carmelite Institute in Washington, D.C. quoted classic Beatles song “With a Little Help From My Friends” as he spoke on the importance of friendship during Wednesday’s Theology on Fire lecture in the Saint Mary’s Student Center.

With biblical allusions and references to ancient philosophers and theologians, Egan stressed the importance of friends in students’ lives. Friendship is a sacrament because Christ is a partner in the friendships we form, he said.

He said our friends not only help us through hard times, but also teach us goodness and morality.

“When we are good friends we are learning about goodness and what God is like and prepares us for our relationship with God,” Egan said. “All of life and all of love are a gift.”

Egan said that it is important to give of oneself as a gift to friends.

“Mutual presence is essential to the quality of life because mutual presence is the only thing that brings about commitment,” Egan said.

If we cannot commit to each other, then we are not fulfilling our duty as a friend, he said.

“[Friends] also constitute a basis for creating a moral life,” Egan said.

God plays a significant role in our friendships, Egan said, but we often view these bonds as secular. Instead, he argued, just as love is a gift from God, so is friendship.

“God gives us himself through the seven sacraments,” Egan said. “They are gifts of God’s self, and God manifests himself in our friendship.”

God lives in each person, so we learn about God’s love from our friends, he said.

“We love the other for some good of our self, but love is genuinely love when I effectively do good to bring about the good of the other,” Egan said.