As awesome as it would be to have my squad look like a Taylor Swift music video:
Or to look like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson’s Super Splash bros,
My squad goals looks more like this:
Just as Taylor has Selena, and Steph has Klay, Pope St. John Paul II had Bl. Mother Teresa.
Why are they my squad goals? Because I want my squad to be goin’ up looking like this:
Squad goals can be defined as: “An aspirational term to describe what you want your group of friends to be or accomplish.”
And there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that I want more than to accomplish than being completely united to Christ on earth and in Heaven.
As Leon Bloy said,
“The only real sadness, the only real failure, the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint.”
But the truth is, we can’t do this alone.
There’s an old saying that says, “Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.” There’s a lot of truth in this. We become greatly influenced by our friends. We unconsciously, and sometimes very consciously, start talking and acting like our friends. Someone even said, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
So if someone were to look at your friends, who would they say you are?
Up until college I really had no Catholic friends my age outside of youth group. It was isolating. I would be put into a lot of situations of potential sin. No one fully understood me, especially the best parts about me. I felt like I was hiding who I really was by compromising my faith. I was slowly moving farther and farther away from Christ.
It makes sense. A professional basketball player who wants to win an NBA championship isn’t going to spend all of his time practicing with the old men at the gym playing pickup. He’s going to want to practice with people who challenge him, support him, and people who are also serious about winning an NBA Championship.
When I got to college, I knew I needed to surround myself with friends who were Catholic, and seriously Catholic. So I prayed and prayed for Catholic friends. It took a few months but…
And my faith and how I was living my life changed tremendously. This is because I have friends that pray with and for me. I have friends who love going to daily Mass and having late night conversations about God. I have friends who keep me accountable and know how to have fun in a way that doesn’t lead me to sin. I have friends that inspire me to be a better person and give me holy advice.
I have friends that allow me to be as Catholic as I want and support me in growing into the person I am being called to.
“But wait, does that mean I shouldn’t be friends with people who aren’t Catholic?”
Hold up. I have a lot of close friends who aren’t Catholic. These friendships can bear goodness in so many ways. As Christians, we can’t disassociate ourselves with the world. We can’t put ourselves in a little Catholic bubble. The world needs our witness.
However do recognize the parts of these friendships that pull you away from Christ. Ask yourself, “Do these friends support me in my faith journey and encourage me to be the person Christ created me to be?” If not, this might mean you need to have a hard conversation about what you can and cannot do, or you might need to sacrifice this friendship.
Why? Because Heaven and a life completely united to Christ is worth it. If we are only friends with people because they’re popular, or because they all like the same music as we do, or dress the same way we do, what does that say about us? It says that popularity, music, or clothing are the most important part of our life.
Our journey to Heaven is a tough battle, and we can’t make it there alone. We need to pray for an increase of friendships rooted in Christ. This might mean challenging our Catholic friends to strive more towards holiness. This might mean asking our youth group friends to hang out more. This might mean branching out and meeting new Catholics at a youth event or on a retreat.
We need each other just as the apostles did and devoted themselves to fellowship and prayer. We need each other just as the saints did and conquered God’s mission for them together. Ultimately, if we want Heaven, we need to surround ourselves with people who are running towards there. And if that means challenging our friends to run with us, so be it.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17