Friendship in Holy Cross: The Bond of the Holy Spirit

Friendship in Holy Cross: The Bond of the Holy Spirit


Retreat Stories | by Mr. Robert McFadden, C.S.C.

    If anyone was to meet me for the first time, they would probably learn two things very quickly. First, they would come to know that I love talking about St. Augustine and John Henry Newman. Second, they would realize that I love to write and teach about friendship. Every class and paper inevitably covers something about the topic of friendship. As a Postulant in Holy Cross, God has provided me the grace to see the fruits of what I research and teach not only through the friendships of my brothers within my own province, but also through those from other Holy Cross provinces in the United States and around the world. In meeting my brothers from other provinces, I have come to see how the Holy Spirit is uniting our hearts in charity and helping to form us into the body of Christ: the Church. 

    In today’s world, it is difficult to understand the movement of the Spirit, even for those in a religious community. We often can only see our own pain and suffering, and cannot move past our own desires. We may have a desire to love and be loved, but we often fail to understand how to love properly. And yet, St. Augustine writes that human beings can experiences true friendship, since it is the Holy Spirit which is poured into our hearts (Rom 5: 5), and unites us with one another. I know that St. Augustine is right about this fact, because the Spirit is at work every day as I continue to grow in friendships with my brothers from other provinces. From my brothers in Bangladesh, I have come to understand more clearly what it means for them to be Holy Cross in their country, and I have come to admire their courage in furthering their studies as I have shared food with them from their country. My French brothers have taught me what it means to them to live out Moreau’s vision of the religious life and the beauty of the Liturgy of the Hours in French. My brother from the Midwest province has taught me the fine nature of Texas cuisine and has always showed me genuine kindness, especially when I am sick.

    While my brothers and I may be from different provinces, we are ultimately united in our common way of life, because we pray together before God and ask Him to pour the Holy Spirit into our hearts. As we stand before the altar in the Eucharist, we come to realize that our laughter, our smiles, and even our tears can become of signs of this love of God. When we sincerely pray for this love and ask God to watch over each one of us in His grace, my brothers and I are sanctified by the Holy Spirit in our daily lives and can truly be the body of Christ.    

    In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells his disciples that they did not choose him as his friends, but that he was the one who called and chose them (John 15: 16). In my life, I have been once again been amazed by God’s grace, because it was not I who chose these friends, but it was God who put these wonderful “other Christs” in my life. 

    Mr. Robert McFadden is a Postulant at Moreau Seminary. He is currently taking theology courses at Notre Dame. Bobby has studied previously at the University of Cincinnati and Vanderbilt. When he's not studying he enjoys reading, walking outside, running, hanging out with friends, sports, and taking photographs. He is originally from Columbus, Ohio.




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