Here is the next extract from the Diving deeper into the divine workshop for you to reflect on:
I maintain that the best preparation for loving the world at large, and loving it duly and wisely, is to cultivate an intimate friendship and affection towards those who are immediately around us. (St John Henry Cardinal Newman)
The essential trait of Christ was his love for others shown in his affection for everyone he met. This is related many times in the Gospel – for instance, when he looked at the rich young man and loved him. Women do this much better than men, but men need to learn how to have manly affection for others, which normally takes the form of joking and kidding around.
For a man, it can be difficult to make a friend if he can’t kid him.
When St Josemaria Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei, made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe back in 1970, he had an informal get-together with some college students the day before he left to return to Rome. He encouraged the young men to have affection for everyone they met, and said that they must sincerely care for all people, no matter what their circumstances, never judging them. He was certain that people pretty quickly knew whether or not the students cared for them. Furthermore, this affection would grow over time into a real friendship.