The roots of friendship lie in the mystery of God's creation of man: they speak to us of the likeness between God and man.
Gratuitousness is one of the characteristics of friendship: if it is interested, it is no longer friendship.
God's grace is gratuitous: it is the friendship that God has for man; being divine it supports, modifies and improves the life of man.
Free are the most important things in life: the love of parents, the love of lovers.
For these reasons it is difficult to fully define what friendship is: you understand it by living.
"A faithful friend is a safe haven: whoever finds him finds a treasure.
For a faithful friend there is no price, there is no measure for its value.
A faithful friend is medicine that gives life: those who fear the Lord will find it.
Whoever fears the Lord knows how to choose friends: as he is, such will his friends be. " (The Bible, book of Sirach)
It is a well-known, truthful step, which also establishes a link between the capacity for friendship and the relationship with God: only those who fear the Lord will find true friends and his friends will look like him, says Sirach.
In ancient times the value of friendship was already known even outside the Judeo-Christian culture. Castor and Pollux, Achilles and Patroclus, Aeneas and Pallante ... all symbols of a true and profound friendship, proper to a noble humanity.
In the most important discourse of the Gospel of St. John - that of the Last Supper - Jesus calls the apostles "friends", making it clear that the best friend is he who gives his life for his friends, as is the case with Christ.
In Jesus there is a characteristic that I rediscovered in Saint Josemaría Escrivá: the friendship that builds the Church. Jesus came for all but is particularly "friend" of the apostles, who will be the pillars of his Church, the patriarchs of the new tribes of the new Israel.
St. Josemaría behaved like this. Goodwill for all, but true friendship is the only apostolate of the Christian layman: it is the channel in which God's love naturally flows. It is inconceivable for Escrivá a friendship that is not apostolic. It can be respectful, but always apostolic. Because if we belong to God, we speak of Him even without realizing it.
Before I was a Christian I had only one friend, after it was natural to have a dozen - fifteen that I follow closely, and then a group of people I love: relatives and acquaintances. I have a list of people for whom I pray every day in the presence of God: prayer is always effective and suggests ideas on what I can do for them.
Friendship is spontaneous but can also be sought and provoked. From this point of view it is similar to falling in love. In particular, I try to cultivate friendship with the people close to me: to make people feel that they accept the other as they are, to esteem them, to laugh together.
From a certain point of view, friendship is more noble than conjugal love. Friendship, I repeat, accepts the friend as he is. The wife does not: she has claims that can tarnish friendship. The ideal in marriage is that the spouses are friends with each other: it seems obvious but it is not. Friendship is similar to God's love for us.