Praised Jesus Christ – HE IS OUR GOD, True Love, the POWER of Friendship from Rev. Fr. L. Stephen Galambos o.f.m. – June 21, 2016
“War broke out again and David went out to fight against the Philistines; he inflicted a great defeat on them and they fled before him. An evil spirit from the Lord came on Saul while he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand; David was playing the harp. Saul tried to pin David to the wall with his spear, but he avoided Saul’s thrust and the spear stuck in the wall. David fled and made good his escape.
David went and talked to Jonathan, ‘What have I done, what is my guilt and what is my sin against your father that he is seeking my life?’ He answered, ‘You must not think that. He will not kill you. Look, my father does nothing, important or unimportant, without confiding it to me; why should he hide this from me? It is not true.’ But David swore this solemn oath, ‘Your father knows very well that I enjoy your favour, and thinks, “Jonathan must not come to know of this or he will be grieved.” But as the Lord lives and as you yourself live, there is only a step between me and death.’
Then Jonathan said to David, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ David replied, ‘Look, tomorrow is New Moon and I should be sitting at table with the king, but you must let me go and hide in the fields till evening. If your father notices my absence, you must say, “David asked urgent leave of me to hurry off to Bethlehem, his own town, because they are holding the annual sacrifice there for all the clan.” If he says, “Very well,” your servant is safe, but if he is angry, you may be sure he is set on evil. Do this favour for your servant, since you have united yourself with him by a pact in the Lord’s name. But if I am guilty, then kill me yourself – why take me to your father?’ Jonathan replied, ‘You must not think that. If I had certain knowledge that my father was set on bringing evil upon you, would I not tell you?’ David then said to Jonathan, ‘Who will let me know if your father gives you a harsh answer?’
‘Come,’ Jonathan said to David, ‘let us go out into the fields.’ So the pair of them went out into the fields. Then Jonathan said to David, ‘The Lord the God of Israel be witness! I will sound my father this time tomorrow; if all is well as concerns David and I do not then inform him, then may the Lord do this to Jonathan and more! If my father thinks fit to do you some harm, I will inform you and send you away, and you will go unharmed. And may the Lord be with you as he used to be with my father. If I am still alive, show me the Lord’s own kindness; if I die, never withdraw your own kindness from my House. When the Lord cuts off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth, let not the name of Jonathan be cut off with the House of Saul, or the Lord will demand a reckoning of David.’ Once again Jonathan swore the solemn oath to David because he loved him as his own soul.
℟. He is your friend who is your friend at all times:* of a brother’s love there can be no test like adversity.
℣. No-one can love you without being born of God, and knowing God:* of a brother’s love there can be no test like adversity.
St Aelred’s treatise on spiritual friendship
True, perfect, and eternal friendship
That outstanding youth, Jonathan, son of King Saul, made an alliance with David, but it was not in the hope of obtaining the royal crown or winning the kingdom. For the sake of their friendship, he set David above himself as if he had been his master and not his own father’s servant, expelled, hiding in the desert, sentenced to death, destined for execution – he abased himself and raised David up: You will be king, he said, and I will be next below you in rank.
What an excellent example of true friendship! What a wonder! The king was raging against his servant and stirring up the whole country as if against a pretender to the throne. He accuses priests of treachery and has them killed on the mere suspicion – he has the forests and the valleys searched – he posts armed guards on cliffs and mountains. Everyone swears to punish the object of the king’s anger; but Jonathan, who alone has the right to envy the designated successor to the throne – Jonathan chose to resist his father, keep his friend supplied with news, give him counsel in his adversity. Thinking it better to be a friend than a king: You will be king, he said, and I will be next below you in rank.
See how the father tried to make the young man envy his friend, how he goaded him with insults, threatened him with dispossession, and warned him of the honours he would lose. But even when Saul had condemned David to death, Jonathan did not fail his friend. “Why should David die? What has he done wrong? What has he done? It was he who took his life in his hands and struck down the Philistine – you rejoiced, then. So why should he die?”
At these words the king was beside himself with rage and tried to pin Jonathan to the wall with his spear, pouring out new insults and threats. “Son of a wanton and lascivious woman! I know that you love him, to your own shame and the shame of your shameless mother!” Then he poured out on the young man all the venom he had in him. He tried to stir up ambition and envy, bitterness and jealousy in Jonathan’s breast: As long as the son of Jesse lives, your kingdom cannot be established.
Who would not have been moved to jealousy by these words? Whose love would not have been corrupted, grace diminished, friendship wiped out? But this most loving youth held fast to the oaths of friendship he had sworn, stood up to the threats, endured the insults, and disdained the kingdom for the sake of friendship, careless of the glory he would miss but mindful of the integrity he would keep. You will be king, he said, and I will be next below you in rank.
Here is a true and perfect friendship, solid and eternal: a friendship that envy does not corrupt, suspicion does not diminish or ambition wipe out. It does not cease even under such a trial; even under such a battering it does not collapse. Assailed with abuse, it stands firm; beaten with insults, it does not bend. Go thou, and do likewise.
℟. A faithful friend is a sure protection:* whoever finds one has found a rare treasure.
℣. Whoever fears the Lord makes true friends, for as a man is, so is his friend:* whoever finds one has found a rare treasure.
Let us pray.
teach us at all times to fear and love your holy name,
for you never withdraw your guiding hand
from those you establish in your love.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.