by Margo Borders
“Choose for yourselves the ones to imitate, those who fear God, who enter the church of God with reverence, who listen carefully to the word of God, commit it to memory, chew over it in their thoughts, carry it out in their actions; choose them for your imitation. And don’t let a little voice say to you, “And where are we to find such people?” Be such people yourselves, and you will find such people.” –St. Augustine
As I prepare to write my last column, I realize that my time at BC can only be described in terms of the people I have encountered here. The reasons I love this institution, the personal and spiritual growth I have undergone, and my increasing love for and conviction in the Truth can all be rooted in the multitudes of people I have gotten to know in my four years here. I could not think of a better use of my last article than to praise not only the quality of people at this university, but also the ability of friends to help in your formation as a Christian.
Augustine’s quote above encapsulates the friends I have made here, who have been models of faith for me, as well as challenging me at every stage of my life at this university. Seniors can look back and realize that the people that they have chosen to befriend have become a part of them. Through an imitation of their friend’s habits and ways of thinking, when one chooses a friend, one is choosing a model of action.
Finding the kind of people who Augustine speaks of might require a counter-cultural view of the world, and a willingness to take time to search for such people. Even more challenging, it might demand a living of virtue on your own in order to draw close to others also searching for the truth.
St. Josemaria Escriva makes mention of something called the “apostolate of friendship.” We all have a kind of vocation or calling to bring our friends closer to Christ. He calls this kind of friendship one with a “divine meaning.” These kind of divine friendships, what Aristotle would call “friends of the good,” are the ones in which we wish the best for the other person, and in the Christian context, this means leading them in our words and actions towards Christ.
My friends at Boston College have changed throughout the years. However, the way that they have led me towards Christ in their model of the Christian life has not changed. The deepest part of my spiritual growth here has been inspired by those walking alongside me in the quest to authentically live our faith together on a college campus.
The best parting advice that I can leave you with is to be friends of Christ and you will be friends to one another. Once you are being led on the path towards eternal life, you can bring others along the way. And that is the most important task of this life- not getting a degree or being successful in your careers. Instead, as my Jesuit education has taught me, it is to walk as closely with one another on the Christian journey towards eternal life.