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April 30, 2014     

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The Power of Relationships

by Friar Jim Van Vurst, O.F.M.


One word we use often in our lives is relationship. The dictionary defines it as a “geographical proximity to another thing.” Granted, it may be my car parked in the garage and its relationship to getting me from one place to another.

But such relationships are superficial when compared with the relationships of people. In personal relationships, we understand that the most important aspect is not bodily closeness. Closeness has to do with one’s inner life, including thoughts, emotions, heart, and soul.

In fact, the deepest relationships always reside in one’s heart. It can be so close that we sometimes experience a kind of oneness between people. That would be most true of husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, and brothers and sisters. That’s not to say that relationships are perfect. But we know that relationships can be so close that, in spite of imperfections, there is that sense of oneness.


No Greater Love

I like to use the example of asking moms and dads this question: If you had to choose between your life and the life of your child, how long would it take you to make that choice? I always see quizzical looks on the parents’ faces. And the answer is always immediate: they would choose to save their child’s life. That is perhaps the best example of the depth a relationship can reach. Even Jesus spoke of such an act saying, “No one has great love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13).

I also believe relationships are most intensely felt when a loved one dies. As that moment draws near, we try to ready ourselves. And when that moment actually arrives, we realize the weight of it is so much heavier than what we thought it would be. All of this is perfectly normal.

We are faced with two truths. One is that death is real. The other is that, physically, the relationship we had with the loved one is no longer possible. For the believer, once God gives life, it never ends. We are faced with the realization that out of sight doesn’t mean out of mind or heart. In fact, we often discover that, in faith, we know them better and love them more than we did when they were still on earth.

Imagine Mary’s hunger for a reunion with Joseph as she lived her years as a widow. It is important to realize that Jesus and Mary experienced life as you and I do. Their sinlessness in no way took away from the human experience. It was actually intensified.



Friar Jeremy's Inbox

Readers respond to Friar Jeremy Harrington's April E-spiration, Musing: New Life

Dear Friar Jeremy: Thank you for your most recent E-spiration. I, too, long to slow down during the spring and watch the new life unfold. You put it so perfectly. Barb

Dear Barb: Our loving God is an artist! Peace! Friar Jeremy

Dear Friar Jeremy: What a lovely E-spiration! It reminds me to take a moment to appreciate the beauty around me. Thank you. Jay

Dear Jay: Thanks! Enjoy God’s creativity! Friar Jeremy

Dear Friar Jeremy: It has been a grueling winter. Thank you for your beautiful reflection. I remain in awe of the budding spring, the hints of new life, the promise of a fresh start. God is behind it all. Tessa

Dear Tessa: You see the Love behind the beauty and never ending fresh starts! Thanks! Friar Jeremy


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Welcome!
I am Fr. Jim Van Vurst and I hope you'll enjoy
all of the news and great features at AmericanCatholic.org as well as my own writing. By the way, I am a real Franciscan friar, as is my co-worker, Friar Jeremy.
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