This year is no different, but my feelings about saying goodbye to our friends are. This is because these particular friends are friends I have met through Communion and Liberation, friends with whom we have shared our spiritual journeys and who have spoken to the deepest part of my heart. Consider what St. Paul said to the Colossians about Christian friendship:
- "For I want you to know how great a struggle I am having for you and for those in Laodicea and all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged as they are brought together in love, to have all the richness of fully assured understanding, for the knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this so that no one may deceive you by specious argument. For even if I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing as I observe your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.
Writer Paul A. Zalonski, a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, describes the role that friendship plays in the Communion and Liberation movement: "Christ is encountered through a friendship with those who follow Him--leads to a rediscovery of man's 'religious sense,' that is, the fundamentally religious character of the questions and desires that are inscribed on his heart.
Our friendships have been moved by the Presence of God among us. And so I understand that nothing, really, is lost with these goodbyes.