April 05: A Weekend Away

Day 31

View Video Transcript

For more than 20 years I’ve been talking about the concept of becoming the-best-version-of-yourself. One of the things I love about the concept is that it helps us make sense of everything. It touches on everything. There is no part of your life that it doesn’t affect. There’s no part of your life that it doesn’t help to say, “OK, is this helping me become the-best-version-of-myself or hindering me from becoming a-better-version-of-myself?” And so, the concept is very powerful in that sense.

One of the areas where I think it’s phenomenally powerfully is in the area of friendship. When you think about the friends of your life, and not just your friends right now but the friends of your life, one thing remains universally true: Some people help us become a-better-version-of-ourselves and some people don’t. And that is a two-way street. Some people we are helping to become the-best-version-of-themselves, and some people we’re not. In fact, worse than that, sometimes we’re hindering someone from becoming a-better-version-of-themselves because of the type of friendship that we’re extending to that person.

I think it’s a great area for us to reflect upon in our lives, because I really do believe that sooner or later we rise or fall to the level of our friendships. I really do believe that you can’t make this journey alone. When you think about the spiritual journey, when you think about what God is calling you to, you can’t make this journey alone. That’s why Jesus didn’t send them out in ones, he sent them out twos . . . because he realized people have bad days. People need to be encouraged. People need to feel like they belong. People need a pat on the back from time to time and to hear, “Hey, good job.”

People are people, and that’s you and me. We have a need to make this journey with other people, and other people have a need to make this journey with us.

Friendship is a beautiful thing, but it’s also an enormous responsibility. Our friendship is either helping people or hindering people from making their spiritual journey. Our friendship is either helping or hindering people from becoming the-best-version-of-themselves. And so, today I think it’s good to look around your circle of friends and do an examination. Who’s helping you become a-better-version-of-yourself? And then to look around your circle of friends again and ask yourself, “How am I helping these people to become the-best-version-of-themselves?”

To step it up a notch, to take friendship to a new level, proactively ask, “OK, how can I help this friend become a-better-version-of-herself . . . or himself.

“I was comfortable and satisfied, and looking back that should have set off alarm bells, but we all have blind spots. If it weren’t for my friends, I would probably be out there doing the same old thing. That would be a tragedy. Thank God for interventions. Thank God for friends who care enough to intervene.”

Matthew Kelly, Resisting Happiness

Share this quote.

Focus

Our best friends encourage and challenge us to become the-best-version-of-ourselves. They don’t let us waste our lives, and they push us to serve powerfully.

Act

Who in your circle is God calling you to encourage or challenge to become a-better-version-of-themselves?

Pray

Jesus, help me to strive for meaningful friendships that bring me to you.

Today’s personal reflection features Dynamic Catholic team member Claire Darnell. Claire is our marriage preparation team leader, coming to us from Atlanta, Georgia. Claire absolutely loves weddings (her favorite piece of mail is a save-the-date), drinks peppermint mochas year-round, and enjoys swimming.

Has a friend ever called you to be a-better-version-of-yourself?

Let us know in the comments!

We encourage you to comment on this reflection. All viewpoints are welcome, but we ask that you remain on-topic and respect other members of the discussion. Please remember that we are trying to help each other become the-best-version-of-ourselves. We reserve the right to make editorial decisions regarding comments, including but not limited to removal of comments. Be Bold. Be Catholic.®

  • Mary Lehett

    I look forward to opening the Best Lent ever email and learning more about how to become ‘the best version of myself.’ Thank you for the wisdom of these teachings.

    • boulders124

      Amen. It opens our minds and pushes us to get out of our paradigms.

    • Karen

      It makes me sad that these daily messages will stop at Easter. I’m really going to miss them. Having found Dynamic Catholic, my life has changed so much and Matthew;s teachings really touch my heart.

      • Michele M C

        I know what you mean! Although these daily Lenten messages will end, there will still be the Dynamic Catholic daily reflection. Also, there are sources out there to keep this inspiration going – Bishop Barron does a daily gospel reflection email, The Henri Nouwen Society sends a daily meditation email. For me, the more I am exposed to, the more I take in and KEEP inside me. I love reading spiritual books that open my heart to God and inspire me to strive for holiness.

        • Althea Allard

          Thank you for pointing us in other directions to continue the journey beyond the Best Lent Ever, which indeed it has been.

        • Usi

          So, there is a daily reflection available after this??? That would be perfect for me, because I really enjoyed this daily input during Lent, an it HAS been my best lent ever!

          • Marsha Mohan

            I hope to continue the friendships we have made through The Best Lent Ever … through our daily reflections and comments. I am grateful to Matthew opening us up to his inspirational daily messages and grateful
            my pastor Michael Cannon for placing the information in our bulletin regarding this program.

          • Usi

            I think so, too. Hope to meet some people again.

            After a longer search, I finally found the daily reflection and signed up too.

            I am very thankfull to my sister-in-law who sent me an extra-copy from Resisting happiness from her parish in our Christmas package, cause we don’t seem to have such books/programs in Germany.

          • Diane Grohn

            Hi Usi,
            I had a friend called Usi and her bestfriend was Babsi when I lived in Germany in 1970-1972. Usi real name was Ursula and she and Babsi lent me books for school bc as an American they would not allow me to buy school books for gymnasium.
            I remember I studied botany in 8th grade and loved it.
            It was a strange time. They were very nice to me
            .Thanks for the memories!
            I lived in Bleidenstadt outside Wiesbaden now Taunusstein 2.

          • Marsha Mohan

            It is wonderful we have enjoyed this special time together.

        • Donna R.

          A few days ago, someone in this group mentioned the Daily Reflections, so I went to the Dynamic Catholic site and signed up for them. They will begin when Best Lent Ever ends. I’m glad to know there are others, like me, who also want to continue the daily inspiration.

  • Michael Baur

    My fiancé has called me to become a better version of myself. She constantly pushes me to get involved more are more with the church.

  • LaVon

    You are so right about being charitable. The feeling about giving and helping someone else enjoy what we have is GREAT. It is like God is closer to you when you do this, and your heart fills so full. God Bless all of you at Dynamic Catholic. I look forward to your daily visits with me. Thank You

  • David B

    My wife is always challenging me to smile and enjoy life even thru the struggle. My mentor in business challenging me to grow in my relationship skills. The best lent ever has been great in moving toward the best version of myself

    • Kj

      Congratulations! I loved your heartfelt reveal…. Thanks for sharing!

  • Tommy W

    My sister, Kimmy, and my friend, Susan. They challenged me on the Lenten “status quo” and what I was really doing to honor God and his Son, Jesus Christ. I may be crazy but truly feel God was speaking to me through them and directing me to a better way. At first, I was pretty upset and how dare they tell me I was looking at it wrong but when I stopped and listened to what they were saying I found myself anxious to try something new and unknown. For the first time ever, I am enjoying the beauty of Lent and what it means rather than just giving up sweets. What more, I find myself telling others about it which I NEVER do.

    • Kim Davis

      ❤️❤️❤️❤️ U! It’s a game changer for sure!

  • Doug

    Good question! This is very difficult to answer because, outside of my wife and daughters, I have no true friends. I get along with everyone and am amiable with all, but no dear friends. You see, when I develop a friendship I dive in completely. All the components are there; trust, loyalty, etc. But I don’t always get the same thing in return.

    I don’t blame them as people have other friends, but I find that if I really don’t have much in common with someone (affluence…I’m just a humble guy, wealth…definitely not me, different outside interests…simple living on my part…I still listen to heavy rock, love football, and do cross fit, for example) they tend to drift away. I believe friendship is a commitment which, like I said, I dive right into. You would want me as a close friend. I refer to many “friends” as close acquaintances.

    The question is, who helps me? Outside of my oldest daughter, no one. That’s why it’s sometimes a struggle, but I seem to always overcome. That’s where my dependence of God steps in.

    Does it bother me? There is some doubt that it bothers me as I have 3 grown kids and grandkids. I am a true family kind of guy!

    • nevilledidit

      Doug, how great to hear from someone similar to myself. Right now I do not have any really close friends. I tried meeting people and forming friendships, mostly at church seemed like the right place but other places as well, and it never worked out. I realized they viewed friendship differently than I and we were never going to be in that place. The thing I did have to decide to do was quit trying because it just made my life miserable. I have had to accept that I will not have any good friends just acquaintances. This was a hard acceptance for me as the last place I lived I had a couple of very dear close friends and I do miss them. However I am finding comfort in acceptance of this situation and more freedom to be with and help a lot of people rather than staying in my little circle of friends. That is kind of empowering in a way. I also must admit I have found my dependence on God increasing with this new realization so it is not a bad thing. Thanks for sharing just to see someone else putting it to words helps a lot.

      • Theresa Yamasaki

        Hi… I can relate to all of your comments. This is a deep subject for me. I have struggled with this for sooo many years and decided long ago that I have a different view of what friendship means. I realized that in my opinion there are different levels of friendships. I am the type who maybe like Doug wants to dive right in. I always want to have deep meaningful friendships and the truth for me has been that most people in my experience are not wanting a deep friendship. I have accepted this and the lesson for me is that quite possibly the deep meaningful relationship should be happening w myself and my husband. ….And that maybe my expectations for deep friendships are/have been based on what may ..Sometimes does lack in my marriage. My current situation is my work friends. We work in a rather stressful environment … Working with breast cancer patients…So I see some immature behavior coping behavior going on which doesn’t help me be the best version of myself. ….Gossiping etc… Probably goes on at many work places so I question A LOT the friendships w my co workers. I joined a new parish so I am excited about getting to know people that are dynamic Catholics. Thx for all of your comments. 🙂

        • SanctusSanctus

          Red flag: please seek a trusted counselor if you feel something lacking in marriage….

        • Lisa

          There was a lot of gossiping at my work. Then I grouped up with first one, then two, then three people who also didn’t like the gossiping and complaining. Look around for someone who is sitting separately or even just sitting there without really contributing much. Perhaps, they are of the same opinion as you.

        • Leslie M

          Hi Theresa, I hear what you are saying and think that the field of work you are in is a very stressful one. It’s hard to make friends under those circumstances. You mentioned your husband, perhaps that is the best place to start. There are some really good books out there, one that comes to mind is “The 5 Love Languages”. It gives insight on how you and your spouse might communicate better with each other knowing more about the 5 Languages we use in our marriage. It’s so hard if there is a feeling of being unfulfilled in your relationship, so before seeking outside friends it might be best to start with the person closest to you. Good luck. I pray that you find joy and peace.

      • Kj

        Maybe you and Doug should stay in touch after Best Lent if over! Seems like the two of you have LOTS in common. God blesses us when we least expect it….

        • SanctusSanctus

          If there’s something lacking within a marriage, then one should seek out a counselor or same-gendered friend for mentorship and support. Recommending she stay in touch with Doug (assuming he’s a male) seems out of appropriate boundaries. All the best…

          • nevilledidit

            KJ and Sanctus: both of your responses were appreciated. I do think Doug and I sound like we would get along but yes, Sanctus, there are other issues that you cannot know over this type of communication. While it might be interesting to find out I would never jeopardize someone’s relationship for myself. However, I have to tell both of you I appreciated your responses and it made me feel good that someone who knows me only through a posting on a shared experience would think about me that much. Thank you both for taking the time to post. I was actually having a pretty negative day until I came home and read your responses. They gave me a warm fuzzy feeling.

      • Lisa

        It is hard when you move. You just can’t replace the long lasting friendships you had since you were in school. My husband struggled with that for a long time. He joined a club so that the people in it had the same interests as himself. He didn’t think he had any friends until one day, one of them asked him to be his best man. Suddenly, he realized he did have friends after all.
        The stories I have heard all seem to have a catalyst. “I needed a ride to the hospital, so I called the only number I knew.” “I took my dog to the vet. I needed to talk to someone so I called this guy I met at a meeting.” You don’t realize what kind of person an acquaintance is until you need a friend.

        • Leslie M

          Lisa, your words are so true. You never realize what kind of friend you have until you need a friend and make the call. I guess a lot of us crave the types of friendships we had in childhood, where you see that person every day, have time to chat or hang out. As we mature, we have more responsibilities and less time, it seems. But I agree with you that if you do the things you love then you share a common interest and hopefully will find like minded people to become friends.

        • nevilledidit

          Unfortunately I have had to call on people and, sorry to say, the people I am acquainted with are not those type of people. I also think it has something to do with culture: I moved from one region to another and it is very different. I am slowly learning to adapt but every so often a sort of homesickness trickles in for the closeness I knew previously. I know I will survive I have family and am busy with my studies and life in general but I do miss someone to talk to just give me a hug at Mass and say how glad they are to see me and then have a cup of coffee (or a coke) afterward and talk about the week. Oh well I refuse to let loneliness get me down, after all there are those worse than me and I should be thankful for what I do have not sorry for what I do not have.

    • Laura

      Doug, I can relate. I have one deep friend and then my husband and daughters. I have many nice acquaintances, though. They come and go, and sometimes come back again. I feel uncomfortable in groups generally, even in church groups, and never “belong”. I like working with people, though. I am told I am the glue for teams, but what I do is create the environment for others to bond within; I don’t deeply bond myself. Some of this is my pride/ego: “I am so strong and know all the answers.” Some of this is judgmental: “These people are so messed up; they need my help – aren’t I wonderful for helping them?” And some of it is that I really am perfectly content with just a few deep relationships. I think today’s topic is more about openness to God in any level of relationship, deep or not. While my sins of pride prevent me from bonding deeply with a larger number of folks, it is also simply in my nature to be more independent. However, in my more surface daily interactions, am I being a servant of God and, more challenging for me, am I being humble enough to allow others to be a servant of God to me? I hope to spend eternity with God and a whole bunch of other people in heaven. I better practice being with them here on earth!

      • Deb

        Laura, your question of am I being humble enough to allow others to be a servant of God to me hits the nail right on the head for me! Thank you!

        • Laura

          I love this song on the idea. The Servant Song, by Richard Gillard of New Zealand.

      • Lea Novak

        Laura, I too have few real friends but lots of “close acquaintances”. But in my case, I think it’s because I am not good at reaching out to others. My relationships go fine, as long as they call me, but when I have to call them, it founders. I know I need to work on this, and my husband is a great example, and spurs me on to call people. I just don’t always do it when he suggests it…resistance…which often comes out as defensiveness…I know I’m in the wrong, but don’t want to admit it!

        • Elephant

          You just did. God bless you and don’t be so hard on yourself. God loves you.

          • Lea Novak

            Thanks for the reminder!

        • Laura

          I understand completely. Sometimes I think I was really supposed to be born 100 years ago on the western frontier when you only saw people when you went into town on Sundays. This texting, tweeting, constant contact world is exhausting for me. But, God knew what he was doing, I am trying to embrace my growth area! 😊

      • Wallace

        For me ego synonymous with pride, has often been an issue. Ego is simply Edging God Out. Only regular prayer to firm up my relationship with Him has helped me surrender unto God. Easy to say but challenging to practice

        • Laura

          E.G.O. Love that!

    • Peg

      I can also relate. No fact last night I was awake in the middle of the night, struck with how very alone I am. I get strength from my children but they are grown and away. I have a wonderful man who loves me but soon we will be living far apart for a while. My family are not believers and I am estranged from them. Friends are acquaintances and family are cordial obligations. I know God is teaching me something in my solitude. I am so thankful for this study. It is always so timely and I can hear other people’s stories for encouragement.

      • Lynn Nguyen

        Peg, what are some of your hobbies? I moved 500 miles away from home last year and I started making new friends by doing the things I enjoy to find others I might have things in common with. I also went with the attitude that I am never alone, that God is with me every single moment of every single day.

        Prayers!

    • Lynn Nguyen

      Doug, just a few years ago, I would’ve said something similar. I eventually learned that I didn’t have real friends because I was choosing the wrong kind of friends. I realized that right after college and so I just went my own path by myself and it was very lonely for years.

      It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I decided to make an effort, join groups at church, other interest groups, try to invest more time and effort into my relationships and God has blessed me with friends I cherish. I even reunited with a childhood best friend who I knew since I was about 13 but lost touch in high school. 17 years later, we reunited but I had to fight alot of resistance.

      Now my focus is helping others when I see a need where I can offer them something, and God has blessed me with more dear friends.

      Relationships are what adds meaning to our lives and I pray for all that God brings the right people at the right times into our lives. People who will challenge us to be the best version of ourselves.

    • Net

      I also don’t have any close friends. Most women my age talk about kids, grandkids, and husbands but I never married nor had children. I am left out of conversations. I have tried Meet-up groups, church functions, volunteer opportunities but the same type of conversations and friends form based on ‘family’ focus. For the most part I am OK with doing things myself. However there are times I would like a deep meaningful conversation.

    • kj

      Maybe you and nevilledidit should stay in touch after Best Lent if over! Seems like the two of you have LOTS in common. God blesses us when we least expect it….

    • Leslie M

      I, too, can relate. Outside my husband and daughter I don’t have a close friend that I can call to do things with. Currently, my family takes up so much of my time that it’s hard to meet friends and do things with them. Good friendships, like any relationship like a marriage, takes a lot of work. They don’t just happen. I think that responsibilities, stress, etc. tend to take up so much of my time. I do a lot of volunteer work. Sometimes I think I do too much volunteer work because often it takes time away from the basic necessities for my family. It’s such a hard balance. I also worry that in 2 years my only daughter will be off to college and will then be on her own. So much of what I do now revolves around her and I’m afraid of the hole in my days it’s going to leave me so sad. But I suppose that will be a good opportunity for me to branch out. … I guess I need to continue to pray about it and know that His plan for me will be a great one. …His plan will be great for you too, Doug.

  • jesspinosa

    I love my friends. I am fortunate to have many of them with whom I share this huge, ongoing project of mutually trying to attain the better-versions-of-ourselves. Whenever I am about to attend a gathering – a conference, a party, a retreat, a pro-life event – I pray, “Lord, please send me many new friends,” and He responds. Shyness in a social setting is common for me, but when I meet people for the first time, I think of them as the answer to my prayer, and I immediately feel comfortable with them. Oftentimes, hitting it off instantly with a complete stranger surprises and pleases me. Whenever I have a date with friends, it is understood that we will meet in church for Mass and Adoration first before anything else. That’s my contribution to our BVOO project. Whenever I am feeling down, fretting over some issue, they lift me up with a phone call or an email, and most especially, with their prayers. That’s their contribution to our BVOO project. Since my only family physically close to me is my son, who is busy with his work and family, my friends are my family, and I always thank God for them, and I keep on asking Him for more.

    • Kim Stambro Roberts

      I am also very shy at social gatherings. I like the idea of praying for friends before going somewhere new.

    • John L. Kemmis

      Thank you for the new prayer focus: “Lord, please send me many new friends.”

    • Ann

      Jess thanks for your comment. I’m going to take your advice and pray before events that God will help me feel comfortable and make a new Good friend

      Bless you

    • Lea Novak

      This is very inspiring to me! I will have to remember to pray for friends before going out, especially in the context of events where I don’t know people, as I get very shy under those circumstances.

    • Joyce W.

      I have two dear Catholic friends that I sometimes go with to a Wednesday or Friday Mass. At one time this was at 8 am and we would go for breakfast afterwards, but since Mass was shifted to 9 am, they like to go for breakfast first, and I find this limits my focus on the Mass, because we are all chatted up beforehand, if you can understand. They have met together for Mass for years, and I believe the timing works better for them for the rest of the morning. In the last year or so I have found it hard some mornings to get going, so I don’t always join them.

      • jesspinosa

        Joyce, go anytime you can. Sometimes, your time alone with our Lord can be the best time. Whenever I enter a dark, empty church and I see the familiar red vigil lamp flickering, I feel as if Jesus is saying to me, “Welcome, I have been waiting for you.”

        • Joyce W.

          Thank you, friend. I am fortunate in that being an only child, I have been used to doing things on my own as well as with others. I love to sneak into our church before going grocery shopping and spend a while before the Tabernacle, and sometimes at home I imagine that space at night, with Jesus very much present there, and the red vigil lamp standing guard.

  • Terri

    Over 20 years ago, my husband joined a men’s small faith sharing group. These men and their wives have become our closest circle of friends over the years. We’ve mourned losses together, celebrated our kids marriages, welcomed grandchildren together and have been an incredible network of Christian support and love. I have most certainly become a better version of myself because of these friends. To this day, their charity, hospitality and love for the Lord continually challenges me to be better. What an amazing blessing I’ve been given in these friends!

    • Lea Novak

      My husband started working with a group of men to maintain our church building, and that has brought several good friends into our lives! It is so nice to have friends with whom you can share your beliefs, and who will spur you on to grow in that faith…

  • Sherry McCollum

    My husband is always the voice of reason in our household. When I get frustrated dealing with my mothers illness, I tend to freak out as they say but he sits me down and we talk about how not to get upset, frustrated and letting the small things just roll off my back. I feel better after we talk, he gives me confidence that tomorrow will be a better day and a better version of myself.

  • Adrian

    Mathew’s message made me think not only of my friends who challenge me to be the the best version of myself but friends that do not. I realized that all of my friends or even all the people we meet everyday challenge us to be the best version of ourselves. I need to recognize that God has put any person I know or meet in my path for a reason. It may be for my benefit or theirs. We don’t know His plan for us in every relationship but we can try to be the best version of ourselves in every relationship. Thank You Mathew and all the people who post

    • Teresa Adohu

      I agree. I think the hardest thing is to encourage them to be better versions of them selves. I also think this is not consistent. Sometimes we are not good for each other and sometimes we are.

  • Frank L

    My best friend, Chris, and I are right now challenging each other to become better versions of ourselves. I ran across some workshops related to the prison ministry in our diocese and she decided to join me. Very informative. I was going to procrastinate joining the ministry, leaving it until later, but she encouraged me to start the process to sign up for the ministry. I don’t know where this will lead, but I know something good will come from it. Since we pushed each other, I know God is involved.

  • Mariana

    I have been blessed with an abundance of friends, true friends, who do accept me as I am but encourage me to be better.
    I am blessed with brother’s and sisters in law and nieces who challenge and encourage me.
    I am blessed with sons who love me, and hold me accountable to become the best version of myself.
    I look forward to waking up each day and reading the Dynamic Catholic email.

    • Mary B.

      How wonderful that you are able to see all these blessings!! You are truly blessed!

    • Patricia

      Mariana, you have been given treasure beyond measure. And you recognize it and praise and thank God for it. How beautiful!

  • Daniela D.

    Yes, my friend Annie invited me to join the prayers group where I met a bunch of nice ladies and later on she asked me to help in the youth group and that open a door to so much spiritual richness. I won’t be following this program if it wasn’t for her.

  • Peggy Ann Foss

    My sister, Kathy. We,know,each other so well we keep each other accountable. And we take rebuke in love.

  • John L. Kemmis

    God hides words within a conversation, I think. Take today’s second video. I listened to it several times, not knowing why, but somehow felt I missed something. I listened, I checked my notes. Listened again and then checked my journal again. I missed some concept or statement. What is it? Finally I heard Claire say, “to let go and be at peace with the uncertainty.” Hidden (to me) words. It was as if I didn’t want to hear them in the first place.

    Be at peace or peace be with you, I have heard so many times. At every Mass, and in nearly every prayer. But always without the words, “with the uncertainty”. A given for most, I guess, but not for me.

    So this morning, Claire is my new, one day friend. Who reminded me to let go and be at peace with the uncertainty. Thank you Claire, for this morning’s joy.

    • Susan E.

      Thank you John. I do believe God has used your yearning for a deeper message to give me a lightbulb moment. Be at peace with the uncertainty….perfect!!! May you have a very blessed day.

    • Lisa

      Good thing you kept trying.

  • ShaggyBBD

    My husband was the partner and friend who challenged me to be the best version of myself. He died 2 years ago, and I have come to realize how much I miss (and need) that counterweight — that other voice of both reason and encouragement — in my life! I’m now figuring out how to be that voice for my friends, and how to let friends into that space and allow them to help me continue on life’s journey of discovering the best version of me!

    • Kj

      Good for you to come through such a grievous time, back on your two feet! I admire your perseverance… Blessing on you!

    • Lea Novak

      That is so difficult! I will keep you in my prayers. I know that I would be lost without my husband!

    • Lisa

      Good job!

  • Joanne

    I do not have any family or close friends who follow the catholic faith….I have just joined a women’s group at church were I hope to develop friendship that will encourage me to be a better version of myself cause I’m not doing a good job on my own

    • Kathiehc

      Joanne, joining a group is a great first step. Through our parish I’m in a wonderful Bible Study group. We are quite a mixed group in many ways. One of the things that makes us a good group is that we are each accepted for who we are today. We also are not a closed group. We welcome new members as blessings! May you and this group be a source of blessings, comfort and challenge for one another!

      • Karen in FL

        This sounds like my bible study group. It’s such a good place to be!

    • Ann

      Joanne you have made a great start joining your group. Let the Holy Spirit lead you to some wonderful new friends

    • Ronda Jewell

      Joanne, just be yourself. I encourage you to let yourself be open to friendship with this new group of ladies. I will admit, I joined a ladies group at church, and sometimes they can be clicky. Don’t let that discourage you. Always look for the person, who appears to be alone or needs encouraging. You will be that blessing to that person and in turn you will be blessed. God bless you sister and friend in Christ.

    • NE_lady

      Joanne, they don’t have to be catholic to help you be better versions of yourself!! My husband is not catholic and there are few days that go by when I am not humbled by how he is a better, less selfish person than myself. He says I encourage him too. We are both bettered by the other. I would say, look again at your friends and family – does no one encourage you to be more loving? No one more patient? No one more hopeful? These are also fruits of the spirit. Also, as everyone said, faith is something more likely to be encouraged by those who are christian around you. Best wishes.

    • RD

      I hope this group draws you into the very best friendship that there is — friendship with Jesus. I love my prayer group because it is very encouraging and supportive. I really don’t do a lot of social things with the women in the group, however, outside of our weekly meetings. Some of the other women socialize more, and I realize as I type this right now, they have deeper personal friendships together.

      I guess this could be looked at as a negative for me, but the reason I joined this group was because I was searching for something spiritually. And I have found great treasures in the readings and discussions we have had in the group. I have come to know Jesus on a more personal level and this has been the greatest gift.

      I have deep spiritual friendships with the other women in the group, which I find more dear than social friendships. I guess my point is: don’t worry about not doing a good job on your own–that’s normal. We CAN’T do good all on our own. We need God. Keep seeking–you WILL find. And when you find Jesus’ love, you start to recognize His love and His need for love in the people all around you. Talking about these discoveries with a prayer group is an awesome experience. It is the meaning of fellowship, and really does bring even more lasting joy than the happiness of social friendships. Wishing you continued blessings on your journey!

      • Wallace

        More often than not personalities get in the way of Spirituality. As I read your comment I kept hearing the song – What a friend I have in Jesus…

    • SLC

      Joanne, to me it sounds like you are feeling like you don’t belong to your group of friends and as Mathew said, we all need the sense that we do. Those friends and family members who challenge us the most are the very ones that bring the best of us into action.
      I crew in a Catholic Community. To be honest, I think I didn’t even know there were other religions out there till I was reaching elementary school. All my family, friends (everyone I knew really) were Catholic. Some went to church, others didn’t but called themselves Catholics anyway. Then I married a non-Catholic, very religious, amazing man. It never occurred to me that maybe that would pose an obstacle in our relationship, in fact, I don’t think we ever talked about it till marriage prep. classes. That was when we first had to stop and think, and we took the easy route; we when to both…
      Time went on, things were great, kids came, and time to send them to Religious Ed., then things got rough. Really rough. Choosing the same solution of going to both would be crazy, children need consistency… Finally, we both came to the conclusion that since God is Love, we were both going down a completely wrong path. All the hurtful things we through at each other were not coming from God and only Him could fix this problem. In the mist of all this my mom told me that first God offered me a great husband and I gratefully accepted that offer. Then amazing healthy children, and I took that too without a second thought. Now, God was asking me to get closer to him, get to know him and my church better so I could have well informed discussions about His place in my life and bring more understanding to others about how He is here for everyone. Making distinctions and being judgmental about denominations does not come from HIm. He judges, no one else should. And He forgives, always! Then I was grateful again that my eyes were opened to that prospective, and really grateful that the Holy Spirit guided us through those discussions. We are at a much better place now.
      Lean on God, trust Him always, and He will guide you through your days, new and old friendships, and I fully believe that He chose you to be his ambassador to His love. He is proud of you for choosing to follow Him and your courage and perseverance will draw the right people close to you so you can share how He is changing your life. Maybe one person on your non-catholic community will choose to follow him too. What a victory that would be!
      Sometimes we fell like we do not belong, or our religion doesn’t belong. But then God let us know why we are there.

    • Kathleen Henshaw

      Do not discount non-Catholics and their devotion to God. My sister is Latter Day Saints and she has such a great love of the Lord and has made a huge difference in my life. What makes her happy is that I worship the Lord, no matter where I do it. Of course, for me, the Catholic way is the only way, but I accept that she is saved by the blood of Christ, no matter where she worships.
      Joining in with a group at church is a wonderful way to get involved with other people and opens you to many benefits of the friendships you can build because while you help others and encourage them, you truly benefit from the activity.

      • Laurette

        Kathleen, thank you. Non-Catholics should not be discounted. They too, love the Lord. The One
        Lord-the same One Lord, we all love and rely on for guidance and unfailing mercy.

  • mrcpuhead

    Having moved around much of my life has changed most of my friend relationships to “virtual.” This makes today’s reflection more of a challenge. But every now and then a friend reaches out for help in an area in which they know I have experience. I try to embrace those moments as opportunities to truly make a difference in their lives.

    • Lisa

      Skype is great. My daughter proposed to her husband over Skype. No virtual about it.

  • Lisa

    My husband pushes me to be the best version of myself often. I am a worrier (and more so now as I get older). He is constantly telling me not to worry so much and just let be what will happen. He has such a positive personality and I tend to be negative about things at times. He shows me through his approach to life how to become the best version of myself. I am enjoying so much these inspirational videos and it is making me have “The Best Lent Ever”. I will be sad when its over :(.

    • Lynn Nguyen

      Lisa, visit the Dynamic Catholic website and on social media. There’s so many other resources available

  • Nancy D.

    When I was thinking about this question, I don’t really have friends. Well, let me rephrase that…I have work friends, and family as friends. When I think about them, my daughters definitely challenge me even if they don’t know it. I am grateful for them. Friendships are important to have, but they are not always so easy to come by. I feel that I put a tremendous effort in friendships, but if I stop with this effort, the friendship usually ends. That is so sad. I do realize that friends come and go throughout our lives. I figure that God placed this person in my life, no matter how briefly, to either help them out or me to help them out. I may not always understand, but as long as I continue to grow spiritually, then these friendship did their job.
    I really enjoy reading other posts because these comments help me grow and also feel connected. So, thank you for sharing.

    • Claudia

      I feel absolutely the same. To me, friendship means putting in a lot of effort, it is a commitment which is not always reciprocated to the extent I expect it. But that’ s not the only point of friendship. Some people are put into our lives to make us grow and learn from them, and when this is accomplished, God may put someone else in our paths. I am grateful for every friend I had or have who helped me to become a better version of myself.

      • Cindy Leslie

        Thank you Claudia. I feel the same. I have family and friends. And particular friend that has helped me to grow and learn and become a better version of myself. I’m still growing but thank God for them in my life.

    • Marilyn Russell

      I agree with you also. Expectations and responsibilities indeed a challenge for me. I am grateful for the people the Lord has put into my life but friendships are indeed hard to hold onto. My husband is my best friend, and I believe that I am his best friend also.

      • Wallace

        Most friendships are simply friendly relationships for various purposes. Some of these relationships are just social and for fun, I call them “good time buddies” and they serve a momentary good time. Work relationships are just that and we comfortably call them friends. Most of our “friends” are convenient in a “quid pro quo” sense, and that’s not a bad thing if we recognize it as such. Seldom do we recognize this as we call them friend and there in lies the disappointment. This too often happens with family and family friends. People are good but have their limitations. Marilyn has it right, our spouse is and should be our best friend on earth. I lost my best friend 5 years ago after a 2 year struggle with cancer. I was amazed by the abandonment of what I considered long time friends. Even at the end, a couple who considered them selves “best friends” wouldn’t interrupt their social lives to visit one last time. But, I was even more amazed by friends who came into my life and whom I had considered to be casual acquaintances, who came to our sides to render compassion and support. As I prayed about them and for them I again realized God is my best friend and He sent my earthly friends to me for various reasons and moments of my life.

        • Michelle

          Wallace and Nancy
          I cannot believe that there are so many people who feel as I do. My husband and I have had many discussions about how hard it is to keep/have friends. We feel we try to make a good connection and for whatever reason things tend to fizzle out and our paths stop crossing. I have seen how a difficult situation can either bring someone closer to you or push them farther away. I am so thankful for your wise words of keeping God as my best friend. I am so touched by everyone’s messages and pray that we will all have the needed friends for the time God sends them to us!

        • Lisa

          Some people are just not social people; but a “friend in need is a friend indeed”.

        • Marsha Mohan

          Wallace, sorry for your loss… your spouse is as close as a thought. May the love you shared bring you comfort.

        • Lynne

          I had your same experience with friends who were heavily involved in church and yet abandon me when my husband passed. Then I read somewhere that we have to forgive them because it’s just too hard for them to be around us. It reminds them of death and they can’t handle it. So I did forgive and as you said people became best friends who were just acquaintances before. God does provide though it may not come from where we think it might. Praise God for caring for us. Eh?

      • Genny/Peregrina

        I really enjoy reading as many as possible of the comments after Michael’s message, because enlightens my mind and helps me put my thoughts in order.
        I don’t know if someone will read my input about friendship but I am a lonely person and have very few friends whom I can be the best of myself with them, when it comes about sharing with my husband or making me the best person ever, he is the worst critic, always in negative towards what I do or lack of, making me feel the worst of myself. I really love/envy to read about the close relationship with your husband’s! I wish I could do the same, I pray that someday …we will be happy and great friends again. In the meantime thank you so much and God bless you all !

        • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

          Genny/Peregrina, after reading your post, I felt like I had a friend who really understands this type of relationship. Thanks for your honesty.On the outside we look like the normal couple married for53 yrs. Inside this house it is anything but . We can be friends and pray for each other . Thank you ! *_* K

        • Debbie Bahrychuk

          Genny/Peregrina

    • Gloria Sullivan

      Hi, Nancy: I have life-long friends and those who have come into my life in recent years. As I was thinking about your comments, what came to mind were the people with whom I worked for 23 years. In retirement, I continually reach out to them with greetings throughout the year, but I find that unless I ask for a response, few respond. However, that doesn’t stop me. It’s being the change you want to see in the world. When I retired, someone said we’re losing the soul of the organization. This is not to put a feather in my cap, but it was good to see that I made a difference in the quality of their experience. Recognize the void and make a difference. All may not recognize your outreach, but to those who do, you are the world.

      • Brenda Bush

        Gloria you had a similar experience as me. 27 years in medical insurance. I keep up with some on FB but sometimes I hear from one of my closest co-workers and they will make a comment that tells me I did make a difference. It usually involves getting them involved in church, or sharing a faith journey of some sort. For some it was enjoying stories of their families and I still try to “like” those stories on FB. One in particular became like a soul sister, and I value her friendship but seldom get to talk with her. When I do, however, I realize God played a big part in bringing us to the relationship we had. Her mother had passed away and I think in some little way, I reminded her of her mom. Whatever it was for all the people and patients I met and helped in some way, I counted it as an important part of my life’s ministry. I don’t miss the work, but I will always miss the faces and circumstances that we shared. I think that no matter what you do in life whether it be work or organizations, children or extended family or interaction with friends – what you put into it becomes a ministry for you and the good that is done is because of God working through us.

    • Lynne

      Nancy D – you said it so right – I feel the same way. Maybe we are suppose to keep putting forth the effort & working on these friendships. I do have mixed feelings. Thanks for everyone’s comments – Have a good day & be well.

    • Michelle Walters

      Thank you for your honesty. I find friendships are hard to come by but even harder to hold onto. I like this reflection and will definitely keep asking the question. I like what was said about it being a two way street. I think I’m too afraid of rejection to find out if I’m helping my friends be a better version of themselves. I’m blessed to have gone through a season in life that caused me to seriously evaluate all of my decisions and I feel the friendships I now have are beneficial and supportive. I also need to focus on being that way to them, too!

      • Diane Grohn

        The friendship that has tried to encourage me to shed pounds and get to a healthy weight is a friend from college. She was overweight then and I supported her in many ways.
        Many family members criticize and do the opposite of any emotional support.
        I have learned better to spend time with friends and expect nothing from family.
        I am a born caregiver and have friends who need me and enjoy giving gifts, but I know not to expect a gift in return, which can get expensive and burdensome. They have good hearts. I feel appreciated by friends.

    • Barb Stuart

      Thank You, as I was reading your post, I was nodding my head and saying yes,I am the same way.I too may not understand but I seem to respond to other people I come in contact with and seem to look at them as very important in my life at this time.Peace be with you today!

    • Barbara Diecks

      I hear what you are saying. My husband and I believe (by the way he is the one who always calls me to be a better version of myself, most times by his actions) that our gift from God is picking people up, dusting them off, holding them until they are strong then sending them on their way. Many we never hear from again but I know they were put in our path for a reason and that he and I are better people because of them. God bless you

      • Marsha Mohan

        How interesting, when my husband retired I feel that God has led us on a path to help others in need placing us in positions where someone may need some help… strangers whom we have come in contact with at the strangest times and circumstances. Nothing over the top but offering a helping hand. I bless God for my kind and giving husband, my best friend. Through the ups and downs of life we somehow get through, of course, not always as smooth as we would like but you have to keep trying. Being and having a friend is one of the blessings of life. Thank you all for sharing your comments. 🙏

    • Anne Mason

      Nancy, I completely understand what you’re saying. I don’t have many friends, and it’s lonely for me at times; but I do have lots of acquaintances through our senior exercise group and church. I have a large extended family; but sadly, it has unraveled a little bit at a time ever since my Mom passed in 1980. We were once a very close-knit family; nine siblings, plus spouses, and children. No longer the case. I agree with you that God puts people into our lives and takes them out sometimes for a reason. I try not to worry so much when people come and go. I do continue to pray for them and hope that some good came out of the time we spent together as friends. As I get older, I feel blessed that I have a few true friends. They are like jewels and I treasure them because I know they are a true gift from God on this journey of life. God bless.

      • Tessa

        Anne, your comment fit so closely with my own experience with friendship that I almost thought I had written it myself. At the moment I don’t have any real friends. I’m a rather reserved person and we moved frequently for my husband’s work so friendship hasn’t been easy to come by. I did make a few wonderful friends along the way that brought true joy to my life. When yet another move separated us we would stay in touch for awhile but eventually, they would move on. When friends weren’t in abundance there were always the gatherings of my siblings with their families and my mom at the center. These get-togethers meant so much to me. After my mother’s death in 2008 these gatherings lessened and finally disappeared and I missed them so much. I do get together once or twice a month with a group of about 6 associates I used to work with and I have my wonderful husband and my loving son. This is my circle of friends now. After hearing Mathew’s message today I’m inspired to help these people be the best version of themselves through my encouragement and compassion in this often times harsh world. I feel also that the Holy Spirit may be calling me to move out into the community more where others may be needing my encouragement and be willing to return it to me.

        • Patricia Paine Martin

          I was reading the comments above with wonderment; that I’m not alone in being the one who replaces out to friends who don’t do the same. Tessa, my experience matches yours so closely. Our mothers even died the same year. Two or three years ago my New year’s resolution was to make new friends and keep the old. The harder thing for me is move from aquaintenceship to friendship.

          I’m wondering if almost everyone feels as though they’re the ones who keep friendships alive. Perhaps some my own friends.

          • Tessa

            Hello Patricia. I was surprised, like you, to hear the comments from those who don’t have many true friends. It’s good to know I’m not alone and there may be a whole community of people out there in a similar situation. It’s amazing that our experiences have been so alike Patricia. My mother was my best friend and I still miss her terribly. Thank you for your encouraging reply and have the very best Easter.

        • Anne Mason

          Well said, Tessa. I have been on total disability for several years now. I believe that God has allowed me to be more available to acquaintances/friends/family so that I might encourage them with a kind word or gesture. When I worked full-time, there just never seemed to be enough time to reach out as often (which I really do enjoy doing!).

          Yes, friends are quite scarce, but I will continue to put myself out there and be available for those who need a friend. Peace and a blessed Easter to you and your family!

          • Tessa

            That’s wonderful Anne that you have found a way to use your disability situation to reach out to others. I believe that kindness to a person always brings out the best in them and can soothe a hurting heart. Your mission brings strength to the community. A joyful Easter to you and your family as well.

    • sally hopkins

      I feel like you took the words directly out of my mouth…..

    • Janet Marusiak

      Yes, when I become a friend I am loyal to that person even when they sometimes hurt my feelings. No one is perfect and only Jesus can fulfill all our needs. My problem is when I make a mistake sometimes they do not forgive me so I have lost some good friends and it is sad if I think about it but God always seems to put someone in my path to be friends with again. I have been reconnecting with some old friends. Some of us grow and some are the same. I get sad when they have changed or look old like me, lol. Sometimes I wish we can get old without growing old, LOL. I feel sad for them more than for myself, so weird. Anyhow, most of us only have one true friend we can really be ourselves with and be totally open with. My mom was always my friend too and mostly now as she is 91 and needs me now and I love giving back to her what she always gave me in the past.

    • Pam B.

      So many great responses to your post Nancy! Your story was my story… I always felt I was the only one reaching out for friendships with little in return. Then when I had a family I didn’t have time to even think about it. My daughters are adults now and we are very good friends. Then I retired and my girls have busy families in distant cities, so again I found myself somewhat without pals and I was lonely. (Okay, hubby is great) but I was looking for gal pals. God must have seen my need, he sent two wonderful women into my life. We have much in common, including that empty nest… they both continually challenge me to be the best version of myself. If they had been around when my family was young, I probably would not have responded to their reach…
      Continue to be available… your pals are out there!

  • Kurt

    The video really made me think about friends I have now but also friends that I don’t see anymore. I really concentrated on friends that I don’t see anymore that made me a better person. I might have to reconnect with a few of them.

  • Gina B.

    I’ve listened to different business building seminars that always encourage you to get rid of the “dead weight;” you know, those “friends” who don’t really help you be who you can be. Matthews message today is different AND refreshing! He didn’t say what everyone else says but said to look around and ask if I am helping my friends be the best-version-of-themselves! That is a much greater challenge, with heavenly rewards, for all of us. THANK YOU!

    • Lisa

      Yes, thank you for putting that into words.

  • BR

    One thing about helping your friends to know Jesus is that results don’t usually occur instantly. You may recommend, suggest, or just nudge them along…but you may not see or know of any movement on their part. Yet don’t let that discourage you or sway you from trying again with them or with others. Just trust that you are having an impact, and know that some things take time. Just like planting seeds in the garden, the vegetables don’t magically appear the next day. Yet without someone planting the seeds, we will never have a harvest. Have faith…trust that you are an agent of Jesus among your friends. You will have an impact in helping them become the best version of themselves.

    • Lisa

      Good analogy. The bible says one plants, another harvests. I can remember people planting seeds in my life and other people, sometimes years later, collecting the harvest.

  • Janet Marusiak

    I am so blessed to have friends in my life that made me a best version of myself to date. Kim and Ian and then Debbie and now Donn. God always gave me someone in my life journey that helped me see myself and help me grow spiritually or as a person of good values should be. Those that told me what was right but did not follow their own directions themselves did not count as it was do as I say and not what I do. This can apply to churches too. I do tend to go where the Truth is followed by His standards and not the priest’s standards so I have changed from time to time as I did not want to lose what I had learned that is to grow in spirit to become holy and true and to please Jesus more than me.

    • Lisa

      That’s another lovely thing about the Catholic Church. You can go from parish to parish, even every week; and there’s no problem at all doing that. In fact, I know one priest who said growing up his parents insisted on going to a different parish every week, sometimes even at quite a distance.

      • Janet Marusiak

        Yes, but not advised and I mostly stick to the one church when I find where I feel at peace and support that church and you form community with the people as that is so important to feel as part of the body. You always notice then when someone is not present and check on them to make sure they are not sick etc. I love that about RC churches where I can go to Pictou or Sydney and the same prayers and traditions but I wish we still had the kneeling and not the standing as they do in the Halifax-Yarmouth Diocese. Not only I can’t stand that long as I have a bad back but kneeling shows reverence and I would rather we kept the railings and knelt there to receive.

  • Shayna

    My husband makes me the best version of myself. I am like Claire in the sense that I need to be in control of everything and everyone. And when things don’t go my way I get really upset and take it out on the people closest to me. But my husband is so easy going and he just calms me down. He knows the right things to do and say and he always tells me it’ll work out, God has a plan. His encouragement and kindness make me want to be a better version of myself.

  • Jacob

    I love my friends. Do I see them daily? NO, they are doing their own thing and accomplishing there dream and I am very proud of them as a friend. Do I try to push my friend? Yes, they are so much better then they are. I just I want the better for all them. I don’t like to see them struggle so, I will pray for them.

  • Ally

    Just about all of my close friends are atheists or vaguely spiritual but not religious. It does bother me and I could use a friend or two who had the same outlook on life as I do, but I hope that I am helping them become better versions of themselves somehow. Getting older and moving around, it’s hard to stay very close so I’m not sure that I am, but I’ll pray about it.

    • Teresa Adohu

      Some of the most kind and open people I have met are other religions or “atheists” who are giving loving people. They have taught me a lot about love. Be open to that. Find your path through God; remember the Good Samaritan was not of Jesus’ faith.

      • Ally

        I did say that they were my closest friends…

  • mbs

    Thanks to those of you who have mentioned a sibling among your friends. I have not thought of my siblings as friends, but in the light of this discussion, they are truly the best friends I have ever had – all seven of them. All raised by the same loving parents, we know each other’s hearts and see each other’s needs without saying a single word.

  • Katie Linkhauer

    Thank you for this reflection! I’ve been blessed with an excellent friend who constantly pushes me towards goals I would otherwise let fall by the wayside. She knew that two of my goals this year were to draw more and to get a passport, so for Christmas she got me a beautiful passport cover and a set of high quality colored pencils. She gives me reminders to not waste the time and talents that God has granted me and I try my best to encourage her in return.

  • Susan E

    Many good thoughts to reflect on today! One of my favorites is “to be at peace with uncertainty.” Being the best version of myself means I trust God completely and I recognize that he sends people into my life for a reason: the new friends, family members, new acquaintances, strangers, co-workers and neighbors.

  • Rebecca

    My boyfriend is someone in my life who helps me become the best versions of myself. When we first started dating, he got me to try new things such as running. I always told myself “you’re not a runner”. It’s had been over three years that we’ve been together and we have run in about 6 races together. He has also gotten me to push myself to do better than I thought I could. One more way he has helped me is by turn something bad, into something positive. This has really changed my outlook.

  • Linda Carmelle

    My husband is the one for me,we met late in life. I was nearly 40,but he is worth the wait and an unexpected gift. When we started life out,dating, precana classes,planning the wedding,etc. we began practicing compromise very early on. This is hard for me as I plan very much and like things to be predictable. My husband is a we’ll see if its met to be,more go with the flow person. I think we compliment each other so well and are there to help each other become the best version of ourselves. And yes being at peace with the uncertainty has been the most difficult and challenging lesson,but extremely valuable. And yes I too need to keep hearing and doing it repeatedly,I’m still a work in Progress as a Child of God=)

  • Linda H

    A couple years ago this would have been easy. I had a best friend who was always positive. She encouraged me to see the bright side and cheered me on in what I was doing. We had a good circle of friends and I always felt loved and accepted. For the first time I let down my guard and let my friends know more about the real me. Since then circumstances (and people) have caused this friendship to diminish which in turn diminished all the friendships in this circle. You could say my best friend “won the friends in the divorce.” I ask myself daily what I’m doing wrong. Why am I not friend material? Why are people only friends with me till something/ someone better comes along? I drive myself crazy analyzing and over analyzing what I should have done or what I should do. On the flip side I have been very concerned that this friend is in a manipulating and controlling relationship. The other friends in our group have expressed their concerns about her husband as well. I have expressed my concern to her, especially when she would tell me that certain things he’s done to her were a result of her actions. She was the one who did wrong by him. BIG RED FLAG for me! The only logic I can come up with in this whole situation is that he has not only manipulated her but our friends as well into believing that he is the victim. So I guess in my effort to intervene and try to help her become the best version of herself, I came across as disloyal to her. So I guess maybe I just answered my own questions as to why I don’t have friends.
    I am just now coming to grips with the reality that this friendship is over and I need to move on. I pray daily that God will send a friend to me. I work with young children who are always happy to see me and fight over my attention so I guess maybe those are the friends God feels I need right now.

    • Jane

      You actually wrote my story. What happened to you, happened to me as well. That is the person I thought was my best friend left when I opened up to her and took our group of friends with her. There were no good-byes, things just became so difficult and I could see that we were no longer that close and so I walked away. That was three years ago and my level of trust in people diminished so that I really have not looked for a best friend again. I have many acquaintances but that is certainly not the same thing.

    • Peg

      Sometimes, Linda, people don’t really want to hear what may be the “truth”. Perhaps they are not ready to accept it. In that case, it may be time to move on and don’t take any negative baggage with you … just continue to be true to yourself and follow the nudging of the Holy Spirit whenever you feel to do a good/kind action.
      When we get involved in digesting negative vibes from others or are put down by others we must consider they may be having a hard time in life and that is why they are acting in such a hurtful manner. Prayers for them would help, however, I would like to have you not beat yourself up so harshly thinking there is something holding you back from being a friend or true to yourself. Too much analyzing could be damaging, especially when you are assuming a lot of things about other people. You are a good, caring person. God loves you! You must keep that foremost in your mind and meet each day with a positive output that you are going to make ‘today’ a better place for those coming into your path.

      • Linda H

        Thank you for your kind words. This is probably a subject that I shouldn’t sit and think about as much as I do. Overthinking is another form of resistance for me.

  • MRS

    My momma is by far the person who has helped me become a better person. For that, I am eternally grateful!!!

  • Delia Shuert Kavanaugh

    From the moment my first child was born, my children have challenged me to be the best version of myself. I already knew my failings, but in mothering my children they became painful because I could see how those failings impacted them. I had to work on myself for them and twenty years later, I’ve made a ton of progress and I realize that learning and growing is a life long process. Thank you Lord for my children. My daily call to walk with You!

    • Mike

      Wow, what a great insight. Thanks for sharing and I agree my kids make me a better version of myself.

  • Diana

    My best friend Besty & I have challenged each other for years. For at least the last 35 years. We remind me of the 2 prodigal sons. She is always searching and wondering & I am the son who stayed home. She challenges me to look at my faith & find things to make me stronger in my faith. We were there for each other when we lost our parents, she lost her husband & I lost my daughter. We have both grown in these Lat 35 years and I hope we grow even more over the next 35 years.

  • Angel Schneider

    The group of girlfriends that I have found since joining the Catholic Church has been life changing! We ebb and flow, caring for each other when one of us is down, celebrating our lives when things are going great and constantly pushing each another to be the Best Version of Ourselves in every facet of our lives (as parents, as spouses, as employees, as children of God). Specifically, we call each other to prayer and spiritual growth through various religious book studies and through volunteer work at the church and through just having plain FUN. It’s amising to look back: Each and every one of those friendships started with a reticent “hello.” We all laugh now at how we were nervous to make thise first connections. We recollect how we were “intimidated” by the others great qualities. In retrospect I can say that when you are looking for people to surround yourself with, look for those with the qualities you admire and just go up and say “Hi!” You never know where that simple word can lead and how positively life altering it can be!

    Another way I have been called to be the Best Version of Myself is by forging a relationship with our parish priest. Father Jim calls me on to be better and better everyday. getting to know him personally gives me great comfort.

    Lastly, becoming involved with youth faith formation has called me to be a Better Version of Myself. Putting myself before these kids has put a new lense on my actions and my thoughts. I know that they are looking to me for guidance on how to live as a Catholic and I constantly have to rise to the challenge of being a good model for them.

  • Elaine

    After many years passing I’ve reconnected with a childhood friend. One that I have very special memories of that include our Catholic upbringing. We both attended Catholic schools, although they were different schools in our neighborhood. One of the sweetest memories we share are visiting the church at any given time to light candles, and the priest to ask for his blessing. As adults our friendship continues to remind each other of that belief system and bring it into our lives today. I thank God for our friendship.

  • Eduardo Hoover

    Today I’m dealing with great discouragement because of someone’s discouraging comment. It came across being very nasty. I believe what was said could have been more tactfully addressed. I’m at the point that I no longer want to associate with this person. I know others who have decided to do just that. Why can’t more people be like St Barnabas who’s very name means the son of encouragement? Sadly I don’t find many people like St Barnabas. I applaud Mathew Kelly for encouraging us to be better versions of ourselves.

    • Kj

      Ouch. I have been in a situation similar to this and I walked away. Don’t walk away. Remember this person may be dealing with something incredibly difficult and took it out on you instead… Pray for this person from your heart–to give this person blessings and grace and to give yourself a chance to forgive and continue becoming the best version of yourself. It’s not easy, but I regret not going back to the person who hurt me…. I will pray for you!!!

      • Eduardo Hoover

        Thanks KJ. I want to walk so badly because I’m thinking by doing that and avoiding anymore discouragement I will be free and able to become a better version of myself. The fact that I know others and one in particular that did this invites me to do the same. I’ve decided I will hang in there and not be discouraged taking your advice. Thank you so much for your intercession and keep being a blessing to others. You’re good at it.

  • Peggy Rowe-Linn

    I am a caregiver in the foster system. The children placed in my care call me to be the best version of myself daily.

    • Karen in FL

      God bless you, Peggy. We need more people like you.

  • Rose

    I have never enjoyed a program more. I look forward to opening my inbox each morning and veiwing Matthew’s Lenten message. I forward it on to others! I am hooing there is something else Matthew has to offer after Lent because I am sure I will go through withdraw. This morning Claire made me really think, because recently I was called to increase a monthly donation to a charity I support and I declined…I probably could increase it a bit!

    Thank you Matthew and team for this wonderful,Lenten journey you have taken me in. Ironically, for Christmas, my pastor had given me Matthew’s book, Resisting Happines. Could he have known this series was on the horizon?

  • Krista K

    As happens many times, Matthew’s message was particularly timely this morning. I’m vacationing with my 15 year old granddaughter and her friend. They are very involved in social media and get caught up in the drama of others. There is so much anger, betrayal and disappointment in their conversations it tears my heart apart. I pray that through my example and fervent prayers they will choose to look at their lives and make choices that lead to becoming the best version of themselves. I know there are many of us as parents and grandparents who share the same prayer in this world that is dangerously spinning out of control. Let’s all lift our children and grandchildren up in prayer this morning.

    • Marie Starns

      Thanks Krista for sharing. I too have grandchildren that are approaching the “tween years” and am fearful of what life will be like for them in the future. I hope by my example (and sometimes I fall short of being the best version of myself) that they will know of the love of God and learn to respect others and treat all people with kindness and compassion .

    • Lea Novak

      Amen! I don’t have children of my own, but I feel that way about my nieces and nephews and their children.

    • Mike

      Krista, I see the very same thing you’re describing with my teenage daughter and her friends. So much of their relationships and interactions happen through social media. I have seen people say things through social media that they would never say to a person directly. I’m with you in your prayers for all of our young people.

    • Lisa

      She is learning from experience that such things do not make a happy life. As she grows, and by the good example of grandma, she will learn to avoid such conversations.

  • Cargal

    My husband Is my best friend and soulmate and always challenges me to be the best version of myself. My Cursillo small group – we call ourselves “The Holy Tangents” – help me to be a better version of myself as well. We pray for one another, we share life’s struggles and just support each other on a regular basis. When I stated seeking a relationship with God, He sent me angels that I call friends to help me along life’s journey and I’m extremely grateful!

  • Maria

    One of the FOCUS missionaries who came to the university parish I attend this past year has challenged me to grow in my relationship with Christ. Most of the time we talked was casual, but there were a few conversations in which she went deeper and asked me what my relationship with Jesus is like now and how it could grow. I felt a little uncomfortable b/c I’m not used to people asking me questions that are that personal, but I trusted that she was bringing up this conversation b/c she cared. I’m glad she did b/c when someone else shows interest in you growing spiritually and takes it seriously, you begin to take it seriously yourself and more strongly consider doing it. That’s what happened with me.

  • Karen

    My friend Kristi has helped me with this. She pushes me to come out of my comfort zone! To do more for the church!

  • Judy Tobin

    What a beautiful honest reflection Claire, thank-you

  • CSL

    I believe that there is a difference between those who impose insensitive demands of others and those who recognize talents and know how to encourage and teach how to use those talents. I have experienced both kinds of relationships – the former causes feelings of insecurity, anxiety and inadequacy while the latter inspires hopefulness and a sense of purpose. I have a friend who is helping me become a better-version-of-myself by teaching me the difference in healthy versus unhealthy relationship habits.

  • Angie O’Mara

    I have many friends, some who help me to become a better version of myself, and some who do not. I feel that God has put all these people in my life for a reason. Maybe the things I say and do are helping others in their life, as the things they say or do are helping me with my life.

  • Loveroflife

    Mathew, this was an excellent sharing. At times, when we come to truly have a relationship with God the Father, Abba, we think that we are now better than our friends that do not know the love and life of Christ. Therefore, we disassociate ourselves with them. When all along we should be nurturing that relationship with the new knowledge of Abba’s standards. And, if you feel that your not able to stand strong against temptation, then wait until your strong enough to share or associate with them. But, above all lift them up to Abba, and He will make everything beautiful in His time. He did it for you, didn’t He? I always try to remember this…we too were once unbelievers.

    It reminds me of these young kids wearing their pants below their hips. I thought what are they thinking now!! Then, I reflected what did I do in the early 70’s that my parents thought was not normal!!! Remember, mini-skirts or bell bottoms then made a triangle insert to be 5 inches wider!! LOL We are all made differently brought together to be One. One body in Christ!!!

    Thank you very much, Matthew for all that you do for the glory and honor of God the Father, Abba! Thank you for your organization revitalizing and inspiring the members of the Catholic Church to be their best version in Christ. Happy Easter!! I truly look forward that we all be blessed with a clean heart, renewed Spirit and new life during the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For by the body and blood of Jesus Christ He has redeemed the world. Love, Maria

  • Aaron Huerta

    This is my struggle in the workplace right now. I am surrounded by much negativity. Negative language, degrading humor and constant gossip. This is very wearing on me. On the flipside. I have many friends outside of work that are definitely helping me become the best version on myself.

    • Seeker

      It must be very difficult to spend so many hours of your precious life surrounded by negativity! If not possible to look for a different, more positive job situation take encouragement from your real friends. Or, just maybe, God has put you in this job to be “the light of the world” to these negative people by your happy, positive example? Either way, I will devote an hour of my day to praying for improvement to your work environment. Good day, Aaron, and Good Lent!

  • Donald Marquez

    I have a friend named Brian at our parish, who is half my age, and who is also discerning the priesthood. He is constantly challenging me and asking me the tough questions: “So, where do you think God is calling you–and why? What do YOU want to do? Why aren’t you doing it?” And for awhile those questions to me came off as pushy, then annoying (even as they began to make sense to me), and finally I realized that he keeps asking because I have not yet begun to answer. Every time I give a response it turns into this long-winded mess. I figure if I hide behind enough words, he won’t notice that I avoided the question. Well, we all know how Jesus felt about babbling (I feel like I am babbling right now!). But thankfully Brian noticed, and thankfully he kept pushing. And even though I don’t yet have all the answers to his questions, he has challenged me to step away form the busy and to reflect. To discern. And I am a better version of myself because of it. (But he’s still pushy!)

    • John L. Kemmis

      Seems to me that many priests and ministers that I have come to know seem to have that as a mission. To question and challenge the parishioners, to make them feel uncomfortable. To get them to think. Some questions cannot be answered.

      You have a great friend. Wishing you God’s graces on your pilgrimage.

  • Lea Novak

    In addition to my husband, who teaches me by his example how to put love into action, I have been blessed with several friends that I met at work, who were not afraid to speak about their faith, and who pushed me to be a better version of myself. I have also found a few friends in various church ministries who show me by their example how to be a better version of myself. However, I have not reached the point with them yet where I feel comfortable calling them just to chat. I also have a good friend who calls me at least once a week just to chat. She is facing a lot of health problems, and is somewhat homebound (unless her husband can take her out with her scooter), and thus she challenges me to reach out and perform the work of mercy “to visit the sick.”

  • Joy

    It’s very easy to think about life and stay within myself. My best friends remind me of the opportunity to do more then think by helping to serve their needs and in return, I grow in spiritual generosity. Simple needs such as being a comfortable listener or making a meal help to nurture these special relationships.

  • Carolyn

    I can see this is a really big topic. I can’t say I struggle with friendships per se but I have found that the older I get, the tighter my circle of friends gets — it’s about quality, not quantity. I think that social media can make us feel inadequate if we don’t have many friends and many “likes”. A few thoughts to ponder:
    1. Hurting people, hurt people.
    2. Some people are in your life for only a season. Know when that season is over and walk away.
    3. Remember it is all about LOVE and this is how we AND our friends should be: “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.”
    4. If you live a 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 life, then do not feel bad about walking away…you have given your all and your deserve LOVE.
    5. Do activities you love and the friendships will come.

    Hugs to you all.

  • Mike

    It’s interesting how each of my friends help me become a better version of myself but only in specific areas. I have one friend who challenges me to get out of my comfort zone. I have another friend who encourages me to see myself from others perspectives. And I have a friend who helps me on my spiritual journey. They all have a specific area of focus. 🙂 Now I have to think about how I am showing up for my friends and my responsibility to them.

    • Leslie M

      How blessed you are!

      • Mike

        Agreed.

  • Patty Dyer

    My husband, who is my best friend, teaches me everyday to be a better version of myself. He teaches me how to be patient and to think of things from a different prospective…placing myself in the other person’s “shoes” so that I can understand better what they are going through at the time.

  • Dianne

    I am blessed to have many lifelong friends who have shaped my spiritual life over the years, not all are practicing christians. At one point I had a prayer companion and it was a wonderful experience, however God chose to take her home with Him. I miss that prayer closeness and am still waiting for another. While I wait I try to model christian prayer behavior for all my friends.

  • Shannon App

    I am a military spouse and I love this life style! I have been fortunate to have made at least one good friend every place we have moved. I look back and I can see God puts people in your life for them or for me. I love the way He works!!! I always tell people we don’t say goodbye because I leave a piece of me with them and I take a piece of them with me.

  • Kathleen Cranford Kelley

    I would say my sister is my best friend. She shows me how to be a better “me”. I only wished we lived closer

  • Lisa

    Wow – I love all the #bestlentever messages, but this one in particular was perfect this morning. Matthew’s videos challenge me and start my day off on the right path. I hear the opening music and his voice and it’s like a warm hug to start my day. I particularly love the secondary follow-up videos from the Dynamic Catholic staff. I love the bio info. on the staff and learning how they’ve applied the messages in their lives. Thank you for this easy-to-digest series. It has started me on a path of daily prayer and in the few short weeks I’ve been following, I’m having amazing conversations with people – situations and things are right there when you’re open to receiving them. I’m a life-long catholic, but feel like I’m just now ‘getting it.’

    • Leslie M

      I know what you mean. I think that the baby steps we take help us get there! Good job taking those baby steps!! Remember, it’s the journey that matters most not the destination.

  • Marilyn Russell

    This is a challenge for me and this prayer is an inspiration for me: Prayer to the Holy Spirit. Come Holy Spirit, fill my heart with Your holy gifts. Let my weakness be penetrated with your strength is day that I may fulfill all the duties of my state conscientiously, that I may do what is right and just. Let my charity be such as to offend not one, and hurt no one’s feelings; so generous as to pardon sincerely any wrong done to me. Assist me, O Holy Spirit, in all my trials of life, enlighten me in my ignorance, advise me in my doubts, strengthen me in my weakness, help me in all my needs, protect me in temptations and console me in afflictions. Graciously hear me. O Holy Spirit, and pour Your light into my heart, my soul, and my mind. Assis me to live a holy life and to grow in goodness and grace. Amen

  • Leslie M

    I am blessed to have a wonderful husband and daughter, both are my best friends. So after hearing both Matthew’s message today and Claire’s reflection I started to think about my circles of friends. Sadly, I really don’t have a best girlfriend or a close circle of friends outside my immediate family. I have a lot of people I know that I work with or share some things in common with. So, after hearing Matthew’s message today I’m left feeling a bit alone and isolated. I don’t have the same circle of friendships I did when I was in school or when I was younger. I don’t have a circle of friends that I call for a girls night out or lunch date with, and that makes me feel very sad. But after hearing Claire’s reflection I feel lucky! I am married to one terrific guy and have an awesome daughter. I deeply cherish those relationships. They continually help and challenge me to become a better-version- of- myself. Now I need to pray and focus on finding a wider circle of close friends, not just people I know from church or from my volunteer work, or a neighbor I wave hello to as they drive by, but a friend or a few friends to go to regularly and laugh and share and help each other become better-versions-of ourselves. Would you please pray for me too? Thank you. 🙂

    • NancyB

      Prayers, I share some of your thoughts/needs. I am just praying to find my way to the friend I am looking for.

      • Leslie M

        Prayers for you too, Nancy. …I’ve read through some of the other comments and feel that we are not alone in this. It’s odd really, there are so many of us craving the same thing and yet we haven’t found each other! …I have a lot of “on-line” friends from a private facebook fitness group I joined last year. None of us live near each other and we’re not super close but we share stories and support each other and laugh together too. I wonder if this is the new age of friendship. I don’t think it is the new age of friendship but I often wonder if it’s heading in that direction. … I guess we make the time and effort for things we consider a priority, but it’s hard when you’re always the one making the calls or making the plans, or having people over and it’s seldom when your phone rings with an invitation. It sometimes chips away at my confidence when I’m feeling low, but then again I wonder if it’s not simply a matter of the ebb and flow of the tides of friendships. *sigh*

  • Sarena

    Yes. My best friend had always been an encouragement to me to be the best I can be. A cheerleader as

  • CathieHeenan

    It’s kind of funny how, since grammar school, I’m the one person that all of my friends come to when they have a problem. I never asked for the job of being the therapist. I just happen to be a good listener, then when they ask for my opinion, I tell them the truth. Sometimes it hurts. I have actually lost a friendship because I told the truth. We had been friends for over 40 years. I still try to be a friend, but she’s in denial. I know for me my conscience is clear, I did what God would want me to do, not lie.

  • Christina Peek

    Wow! This puts a whole new perspective on friendship and those who are in our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime! I was upset that some of my friends from the past decided to distance themselves from me. I kept thinking it was my fault “What did I do?” What could I have done differently?”. These are ones I thought would be around for a while. Now, I know the ones I distanced myself from, were people I decided weren’t helping me. But when it came to the other way around, I was hurt? “What is wrong with me?” In listening to Matthew Kelly this morning, I realize there is nothing wrong with me! Maybe, I wasn’t the best person to help them become the best-version-of-themselves and that’s ok. I pray they find those people. At the same time, I pray that the friends in my life now, are ones that are helping me become the best-version-of-myself and that I am doing the same in their lives. It’s a little humbling to think that we have this kind of responsibility. It’s a responsibility that will stretch me beyond thinking “Your loss!” when a friend walks away or quits talking to me and look more deeply into my heart and pray for them, asking God to lead them to the friends who will help them become best-versions-of-themselves.

  • Peggy

    My family and especially my six grandchildren have been the driving force behind me wanting in to be the best version of myself. Now, since I’ve have become more active in my parish I have great friends that are helping me to be a better person and I hope I’m doing the same for them. Participating in this Lenten journey with Dynamic Catholic, while being a first for me, has been one of the best decision of my life. Thank You!

  • Bobby Orr

    Wow, what a day to have this reflection. I have been painfully aware that I need to quit drinking for some time; but its most of my social life so I’m torn. This will be a huge change after 40 years of drinking, not daily but for sure every weekend. I just asked God this morning to help me overcome the obsticles that I place between us and the weaknesses that prevent me from becoming what he created me to be.

    • SanctusSanctus

      Praying for you; please pray for me!

    • John L. Kemmis

      In the second video, Claire said this to us: “to let go and be at peace with the uncertainty.”

      So I made a few of these as reminders to me and sticking them in places like where I work and pray.

    • NancyB

      God bless you, Bobby.

    • Ann

      Bobby–I have a 25yr old daughter who is in AA for the last year. On July 19, 2014, she was driving at 3am. She’d been drinking that night, but had stopped about 2hrs earlier. She hit a man who was in the street next to his moped. He died at the scene. Her life, our family’s life and the family of the man who died have been forever changed. Please get any help you need to stop drinking. It may save your life! My friends helped me through the worst of this tragedy, but I still cry about it to this day. My daughter has struggled severely; even to the point of trying to take her own life. She won’t go to therapy, so she’s never been able to work through her guilt, remorse and self-loathing about what happened. I don’t want this to ever happen to anyone else. Get help and God Bless.

  • Magalis Muniz

    I had a few people in my life who have helped me to be the best version of myself. They made me feel that anything is possible. The fear that I have that I’m not good enough goes away. I want to do that for the people in my life and for others as well.

  • Rachel Doyle

    So today’s message is just perfect. I’m so fortunate to be blessed with amazing friends many of them have been my friend for 20+ years. This message is also bitter sweet in a way. One of my childhood friend’s/childhood sweetie committed suicide less than 2 weeks ago. We both chose very different paths but I wish I had known just how lost he was. I wish I could go back to the morning of March 26 and just said Hey, how you doing friend because maybe he’d still be here. Needless to say I’ve learned just how precious my friendships are and that even just a small intervention of hello can go a long way. It’s odd but I now look at his death as a reminder to be my best version of myself and reach out to my friends even if I’m super busy with my own life. So his death has become by intervention. If you made it to the end of this post I appreciate it. God Bless and have a beautiful day.

    • Lynne

      Blessings Rachel

      • Rachel Doyle

        Thank you, Lynne

    • SanctusSanctus

      …and so we rely upon His Divine Mercy: “for the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world…” May his soul rest in peace…. We remember him in our prayers today and at every Mass. Thanks for sharing your pain of your friend; an important message we may all relate to! God bless your sincere heart!

      • Rachel Doyle

        Thank you very much

  • george

    Over the years I come to know whether is it with my Time, Talents or Treasure, I can’t out give God. The more I give away to those who are in need of these, the more God blesses me. I have more treasure (to give away), my talents seems to get even better and I’m blessed with an awareness of how those ‘ordinary’ moments truly special.

  • SanctusSanctus

    Yes: the best friends that have called me to be a better version of myself are probably those who confronted me with the truth and probably said things that hurt my feelings (until I was able to get over my own blindness)… I also believe that books, evangelists, homilies challenge me to be a “better version of myself”. Hey! You all inspire me to be a better version!

  • Denise

    I am blessed with many friends, but on in particular who won’t let me get away with anything less than the best version of myself. She will gently suggest trying a different way when the going gets tough and never lets me wallow. She understands who I am, but also sees the possibilities and won’t let me give up. I try to do the same for her as well, even though she seems to need it less!

  • Amy Buckley

    I have had many blessings through praying for the right kind of friends that help me to grow. The first time it took 4 years and in my current location it took 8 years. The problem was that I wasn’t ready for the type of friendships God wanted me to have. When I was ready the friends came all at once.

    • NancyB

      I think I need to trust God to put the right friendships in my life. I have dear friends, but something is missing.

  • judy

    Claire…I am an older version of you! I’m old enough to be your mother, so I have some hindsight knowledge for you. My husband has always been an extremely generous giver, almost to a fault…giving gifts, money, even when it was financially inconvenient for us. There was a time in my life that I was resentful of not having what my friends and colleagues had because I could see the extra money going out the front door… to anyone with a hand out or any charity that excited him. There was always the threat of not having enough for the future, and we were certainly not saving for a college fund, bigger home, emergencies, etc. There were also situations where the gift was not appreciated and even expected. A more stable financial status has significantly helped my attitude, but I will tell you that his gracious spirit has worn off on me to the point of my own initiated giving. I am the one in December that gets out the list for who and how much we are donating to, not him anymore. My advice to you is to continue to let him lead you, but to also find the charity or need that really excites you…it will make you love sending out the check. Among other charities that we donate to, I’m an animal rights activist and this area has touched my heart in many ways. I am grateful that I can donate to many different groups and actually see the results of my donation! I hope this helps you in your journey!

  • Dixie

    I have a friend that brings up the positives of whatever I go to her with. She will let me express my fear or worry, but always says things like “just think this time next week it will be over” or “we will go for coffee soon and celebrate” or “I have a feeling everything will work out”.
    These are all positive thoughts. She never lets me complain for very long.
    I treasure what she has to say. She helps me tackle some of life’s problems that come my way.

  • Scott Sowers

    I’ve had a lot of “friends” over the years, but Sharon is my best friend. We have been married for 36 years. When we met, I was… well, I was totally opposite of her and she was, let’s say, “good”. That being said, she has been pushing me to be a better person our entire life together. Did I listen and take her advice all the time? No. It has taken her every bit of the past 36 years, a little “tough love” and a lot work, to get me to where I am today, the best version of myself “to date”. I’m still a work in progress, but believe me when I say that she is my foundation, has never given up on me and I thank God for her every day. I can count my other friends on one hand and on the other hand, I have family, a big family and we offer advice back and forth all the time. Some of it good, some of it not so good. I have many acquaintances that I see all the time, but they are not that close. I have to say that some of the most influential people in my life have been people I’ve never met, like Mathew Kelly. He’s a good man and genuinely cares about bringing folks to God and helping them live a better life. There are others that have taught me along the way and I know there will be more to come. As for me sharing what I have learned to others, I try to do it all the time. I really want to help people with their issues. I’m a Stephan’s Minister and I enjoy helping those in emotional and spiritual crisis. The training I received has been extremely helpful in how I minister and deal with people and their issues of the day. I believe in friendship and I believe everyone needs at least one good one, someone that will listen, not judge you and be there when you need them. I just know that what you give, you will receive. So, give gracefully. God bless!

  • Therese Tamburello

    I have always found it difficult to have great Catholic friendships. I guess I’m just not in the right place at the right time. As an older adult I just feel there are no outlets for meeting good Catholic friends. I join groups such as Endow, and Bible studies and have not made solid connections. Not sure why. I do have a best friend of 35 years who is Protestant and she truly is a person of example in her Christian walk. I just pray everyday to meet a couple of good Catholic friends in my life.

    • NancyB

      Therese, I am praying for the same thing. Thanks for putting into words what I have been feeling while reading everyone’s comments .

      • Therese Tamburello

        If you live in Colorado, let me know…. Ha, ha! If only. We just have to keep praying. Like Mathew says in his book “Resisting Happiness” “Interestingly, solitude is the cure for loneliness. When we are afraid of being alone, we should go into it. Dive deep into it. Solitude teaches profound lessons, especially about ourselves. Feeling lonely has value. Sometimes we need to turn inward to discover what we need to hold on to and what we need to let go of. Once we get to know ourselves and establish a sense of self, we find ourselves in possession of a rare clarity that teaches us that if it is not a definite yes, it is a definite no.”

        And if it’s “no” maybe we must not give up and remain in solitude while looking. (My version.)

        Therese

        • NancyB

          Thanks Therese, NW Ohio, anyone, lol

  • JayAW

    I had an incident yesterday and today where I had to tell a friend that he failed in his duties as a club president because he allowed a member of the club to walk all over him while she verbally abused someone. He’s afraid of conflict and chooses to be passive while allowing himself to be pushed around and not being an authoritative leader as he was elected to be. It was tough for me to say this, but several people suffered from his lack of authority. I sometimes need this same kind of tough love and I try to take it to heart and improve myself as much as I can.

  • Tony Pantera

    Most of my friends are younger than me. They encourage, but the age difference has me in the
    mentor role more often than not. Having said that, I think I have younger friends is that I am open to
    what they have to say.

  • Nancy R

    Because of Dynamic Catholic I started to attend morning mass which opened up a whole world of amazing new people in my life. I was approached by a woman after mass who asked me to join them in the rosary and then a few days later to a woman’s group called Walking With Purpose on Tuesday mornings. This lady has been like a little angel to me. I have been introduced to so many amazing woman because of her one act of kindness and I am filled with gratitude. Everyday I am being called to become a better version of myself and meeting people who invite me on a new journey of spiritual growth. I am overwhelmed with joy for the new people around me.

  • Chris Milne

    I have amazing friends who challenge me daily, but one friend in particular challenges me routinely when I am frustrated or upset with someone else, she immediately comments” Remember- they’re a gift- look for the teaching they are trying to bring into your life!” Luckily, she usually lets me call her an expletive out of frustration and then helps me look for the possible gifts they are helping me learn or discover. The most common ones are : patience, acceptance, mercy, unconditional love, and forgiveness of self and others. All tough lessons- but all making me a better version of myself. God brings us many, many gifts- we have to choose to see them that way! ( It’s not always obvious or easy- but I am learning!) Thank you God for my dear friend Rose- who is one of my greatest gifts ever!

  • Laura LaDue

    My husband is the one who helps me be a better version of myself. I am a worrier and he is my rock. Whenever I start the what if’s in my life, he is there to remind me to trust in God and let Him take charge.

  • Alex Radovan

    This morning I was running late and half listened to Matthew’s video and rushed on to life, dealing with new things that normally aren’t in my day and is another story. I was thinking about myself and what others were doing to help or hinder me in becoming the best version of myself. I just watched it again and it floored me that I may be hindering another person from becoming the best version of themselves. Stopped me in my tracks. So now, I have to be on the lookout for when I am helping or hindering someone else…which is hard to see when I have a plank in my eye. Thank you Matthew for the kick in the rear. Lord help me be aware and to be a help not a hindrance to those you lead me to.

  • Linda

    I have a friend outside of my marriage. He is a great listener and an escape from everyday life but this relationship is not good for my marriage and is preventing me from being the best version of myself. I constantly go to to confession but continue this relationship. I pray everyday but cannot let go of this friendship. Please pray for me to give me the courage let go and put my complete trust in God.

  • Amy Reinhardt

    I’ve always struggled maintaining strong friendships. It’s difficult to find quality people who are going to push me to be a better-version-of-myself. But I do have two female friends who are Catholic all-stars. Seeing their passion for their faith inspires me to be better and try harder.

  • Christine Deacutis

    When I was about 7-8 yrs old my grandfather, who lived with our family, (who I loved to pieces) told me one day I was selfish because I wouldn’t share something with him. I was the apple of his eye and he was always my best buddy. He never once corrected my behavior before or after that day. I was mortified that even though he said it to me gently – he saw a flaw that needed to be fixed in me. Since that day about 60 years ago I have always tried to be as generous as possible. Other than this story my sister and a friend in church have both given me that push to be better because of their witness in areas of life where they struggle and I have seen how they handle their issues in love and with God. I’ve got to think about my influence on others! Great reflection!

  • Joni

    My husband is the most generous person I have ever met. He will do anything for anybody, is very generous with charitable contributions, and since retiring he spends countless hours doing (free) maintenance at his church that is 100 years old. He is Lutheran. Sometimes it makes me sad that, when I grew up as a Catholic, I was taught that everyone not Catholic was going to hell. Well, if he is going to hell, there is NO hope for me!! (Luckily, the Catholic church came to their senses). Sometimes when he reaches out to help someone I find myself getting angry that he is spending more time doing things outside of our home when we have a list a mile long since our own house is 80 years old. Then afterwards I realize how ridiculous I was and how much I could learn from him. Everyday he “calls me to be a better version of myself.” I am extremely blessed and thankful that God brought him into my life.

  • Mary Christopher

    I remember this one conversation, SO WELL. I was in the bad habit of dys-ing my bosses, at work, when a true friend just casually said to me, “Well, Mary, who do you like?” That simple question hit me like a ton of bricks! And it has stuck with to this day. Gossip and negative statements about others does not make you ie ME a good or better version of myself. I never see this person anymore, because she has moved away but I think of her often, and thank God for her very thought provoking question. It definitely made me think, and made me a better Mary.

  • Ruth

    Reading through the comments there seems to be a common theme of how difficult friendship because of un-reciprocated trust and effort. I also find that having friends is difficult because of those things, but I’ve learned that, in the end, it is usually worth putting the effort into seeking friendship with many people to find the few really kindred spirits that are out there.

    Even those ‘close acquaintances’ are really important figures in our lives even if you only see them at school, work, church, or wherever for a few hours each week or day they impact your life and your daily/weekly habits. The smallest words and gestures sometimes have the biggest impact and these people, even if they are not your best friends, influence your life. So, just as Matthew says, we should help even these friends to be better versions of themselves since they, in turn, are definitely impacting us even if we don’t really realize it.

  • Joyce W.

    I’ve noticed that throughout my life God has always given me two particular friends among others, and if they move away He always brings new special friends into my life. There have been other friends not so close and sometimes over the years we have just not been involved with each other, because the things that put us together no longer happen. It took me a while not to feel badly about this, as if I was letting them down. I came to understand that these were a different type of friendship. Then there are the friends you keep in touch with for years, maybe only at Christmas, but if you ever get to see them again, the years disappear, because they were always meant to be a part of your life.

  • Pat

    When I left my foolishness behind and choose to embrace Jesus, things started to really change. He put a friend in my life I tried to avoid but could not. Finally, I embraced her as spiritual friend. I call her my truth friend, and she is. I would have never chosen this person, so I know she is from God. She has challenged me through a multitude of spiritual obstacles and I in turn, have been give the grace to do the same for her.

  • Kari

    Claire’s video brought me to tears today. You see, today, is my 31st wedding anniversary, and it reminded me, with loving tears, how much I love my husband, because every day for 31 years he has encouraged me to be a better version of myself (many times with resistance) and I don’t think I have thanked him for that nearly enough. Thank you, Claire, for this reminder.

  • Paul

    A good friend of mine invited me out to dinner at a restaurant. When our dinners arrived at our table, he stopped and said grace out loud before beginning to eat. It made me stop in my tracks to try to think back to when this practice stopped for me. I was introduced as a child to daily prayer and thanksgiving for each meal , but at some point I forgot the importance of this gratitude.
    In addition, my mother was instrumental in getting one of Matthew’s books into my hands which of course lead to this BestLentever program. I told her how grateful I was for this.

  • Emma Spaulding

    I would have to say my friend Meg. We met freshmen year of college and just have grown closer since then, almost two years now. Even though we are going in two different paths in life, we share of common love for God and staying connected as friends. She just accepted Christ about fours ago, but she usually is the one teaching me things and sharing the wonderful news/ stories of the Bible. She is an amazing friends, person, so creative, and loves me as who I am. But I think deep down she can see my love for the Lord growing, but not knowing what to do with that/ where to start to get to know more about God. So next semester, I hope we can grow even closer and do a study or something together to grow together as friends and daughters of Christ.

  • Marie

    I used to love gossip mostly because growing up, this was really a norm for family conversations. As I got older, I was attracted to other women who loved to gossip. It was not until someone gossiped about my family that it really hit hard and I felt absolutely terrible because they were so wrong and it was about my mother who had a bad stroke. Not only was I terrified that I was going to lose my mother to another stroke, I was incredibly hurt by what was said. I had no idea that what I was doing was a sin until I decided to go to confession to try and figure it out and to break the habit. A priest told me to think about the ten commandment – bearing false witness and to call out and face these people I called friends and tell them that I was really trying to work on it and I needed them to stop because I was going to stop. And if they didn’t, it was time to evaluate these friendships. A couple of them split and hit the road. And, I have one dear friend that is working on it. She’s not perfect and neither am I but we value our friendship enough to call each other out if needed. I am such a better person because I don’t carry that guilt around any longer. And if I say something it is only positive. I pretend they are in the room so that I would not be embarrassed about what I said.

  • Jesse

    I grew up not hvg many friends…I was an introvert. I befriended a lady 17 years ago. She brought me to the Catholic faith and had taught me LOVE in ACTION. What she taught me wasn’t just love but God’s unconditional love! She really won my heart over and has been my godmother now for almost 13 years. Right up til now, she continues to help me grow in my spiritual life even though she is not so mobile anymore and needing special care in a home. She is truly an angel from Heaven. I cannot thank God enough for bringing her into my life.

  • Alice Ann Hengesbach

    Great question!! Very different hearing this asked at age 67 as opposed to age 17! Enjoy this 24. Blessings.

  • Paulina

    I took look forward to opening the Best Lent ever email. This program has challenged me to be a better version of myself, I have tried to share it with so many. I do believe that our friends are put in our path for a reason and for that I am thankful. My brother and his wife constantly set an example of being the best version of themselves and that encourages me. Thank you to all who share. You encourage me to be the best version of myself.

  • Leandra R. Marymee

    If I had to think of one friend who has absolutely changed me for the better, it would have to be my husband. When I was younger I suffered from such a debilitating depression and anxiety, that I wasn’t really living life, I was just going through the motions. I was on medication that made me feel like an emotionless robot and saw no better future for me than that. I met my husband and he instantly became a light in my life. He seemed to sense when I would be falling back into that darkness, and he would instantly attack that with a silly joke or an upbeat story, or anything that would distract me from falling like that. Within two years we were able to slowly wean me off the medication I was taking. My new medication was him pushing me to get up, go out, do things, be present. I felt a freedom I hadn’t felt since I was a child. With this new freedom I instantly felt a new strong longing to belong to a church family like the one he had grown up with. I went to his church one Sunday and was instantly welcomed! (The choir director insisted we sit with her, like she could sense my love for singing!) I became a member of the Catholic Church and married my now husband, we have a beautiful baby girl, and I finally feel peace. I have discovered countless new joys with this new church family, even becoming a youth group leader with my husband. Thankfully, the change was twofold and I also became the kind of friend my husband had been to me. A past hurtful experience with a pastor had caused him to drift away from the church he had once loved. By going through the process of learning about and accepting the church, (and discovering how much I loved and enjoyed it) I unknowingly rekindled his love for his old church and for the Catholic faith. We seldom miss church or prayers, and we both feel at peace now! I can’t think of a better way to help each other become the best version of ourselves than the love and commitment we share, and we strive to teach that to our baby girl and our youth.

  • Kathleen Henshaw

    Most of my life I’ve had those “passing” friendships…you come together for a purpose, for them or me, and then you part ways. Sometimes I recognize this, often not, but I am happy to have had them. My one closest friend, who has inspired me, is my younger sister. She has such a great love for God, for Jesus. She may not be Catholic but she is such a strong believer and she has never stopped praying for my return to the Lord. I can only pray that I have been that kind of friend to her, but a thought just popped in my head that praying for ME has helped her through many of her life problems. I am in awe of the love our Lord has shown for us sinners.

  • Vicki Passier

    My best friend Mary and I met in Jr. High and have been friends ever since. We are grandmas now! She has always encouraged me in ways that have made me a better person and I have tried to do the same. We have been through so many milestone events and daily living issues with support from one another. Now we share a strong interest in God. We have done Bible Studies together and talk a lot about God’s presence in our lives. I cannot imagine life without her. Vicki

  • Debbie King

    I am blessed with a core group of friends whose love for the Lord and their faithfulness as friends works in me to encourage and sustain me in my own walk in the Lord. I thank God for friends who understand the importance of perseverance in friendship, loyalty in challenge, and fortitude in faith. That friend is one who remains true with love while still challenging one to heal – to reach – to forgive – to love – to hope – to smile – to cry – to extend the love and mercy of God to those whose lives we touch and those who touch our lives. THAT is a friend . . . and as for me and my house . . . for those friends, I will ever thank the Lord!

  • Marie Patterfritz Reinhart

    I have had the best Christian friends anyone could ever hope for. They are true blessings to me. Since my marriage 47 yrs ago moving to a new state I was concerned about having friends. It seems God has led just the right friends to me who have not only encouraged and inspired my closer spiritual relationship with God, but they also invited me to my first ever Bible Study and Woman’s conference where I have met incredible guest speakers that have helped me deal with many issues in my life. My BFFs include our deacon and his wife who introduced us into being a part of our church’s Precana program as facilitators and we share in Bible study every Tuesday morning. Another best friend was the nun/principal of my children’s Catholic grade school who approached me to teach CCD classes back in the 1980s. Still teaching today! My first neighbor I met when we bought our first home became my lifelong friend and is my Confirmation sponsor. I believe in the scripture Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. (NLT)

  • Carmen Daniels

    Thinking about this… I have a close circle of friends who continually help me to be a better version of myself. I am getting married this summer and at my bridal shower it dawned on me that I have known my bridesmaids between 17-26 years! I was blown away when I realized this and one of my friends pointed out to me that it has a lot to say about the person I am to have these kind of friendships. I hope that means that while they are inspiring me to be the best version of myself, that I am helping them do the same 🙂

  • Doug Heckler

    Thanks, Claire, this is one of the best extra testimonies in the series. It’s helpful to see the way married couples support each other in their path to Heaven.

  • Mary Looney

    Wow! How timely! The title of Matthew’s video today is “A Weekend Away”. His talk is on friendships that make us the bvoo. And this very weekend I travel with Spirit Sisters for our annual Silent Retreat! God and His Spirit are alive, active, and working in even the smallest details of our lives! 🙂

  • Barbara Levich

    I am not a very social person but I am blessed with two friends who do help me to be that better version, and I help them too. Friendships take work. There is a need for deep honesty, of sharing who you really are and what is really going on in your life. That’s what makes deep friendships. I am a private person so I must make a big effort to share me, but it makes all the difference when I do.

  • Lisa

    It’s a funny story, but when I worked for an attorney, I used to answer the phone with a very calm, quiet voice. Then I went to work for a business. One day, the president came by and told me to answer the phone with more enthusiasm. For an hour and a half, every time I answered the phone, he would shout “LOUDER” from his office. I could barely do it. I felt like I was shouting. The funny thing is, once I got used to it, I became generally more cheerful.

  • Ally F.

    I love today’s message! I can totally relate to what Claire said, and I appreciate her sharing. What a great reminder ❤

  • Timothy Brewer

    I just finished a men’s Cursillo weekend — De Colores! The meaning of finding friends that you can talk to about the Catholic faith in groupings is very important to me in my development to live as a witness to Christ and I am looking forward to that more. But many people that I think of friends (tennis guys, work people, and some family) do not have that commitment to God but I am hopeful that my actions and words are Christian like that they may desire to have the Joy of Christ in their life like I do. Small actions and words do have influence on others and we try our best to grow in faith along with others in this journey. Keep strong in your faith through piety, study, and action! I recommend Cursillo to all so that you can surround yourselves with good friends to share your joys, desires, and struggles with in a faith-based manner.

  • Lisa

    My friend and I will share about our husbands. Now, for most people, that would fall into gossip; but for us, we try to help one another communicate and understand the other’s husband. It really helps to have a friend who will support our marriages.

  • Dani

    My boyfriend calls me to be a better version of myself by being completely honest. He encourages me to not just say what people want to hear to get on their good side, but be completely me, for them to either accept or reject.

  • MaryAnne Casaul

    I’ve thought about this question before. I don’t have a lot of what I call friends, I have acquaintances. The friends I do have are very varied in age and personality. I find that each one in their own way calls me to be a better version of myself. The real question and challenge for me is how do I help them be a better version of themselves? This really made me reflect on the types of friendships I have and which relationships I should nurture or maybe not. God has shown me even with the friends I may not be as active with to keep praying for them silently even when I may not see them for years. It saddens me to think I may lose these particular friends, however, by praying for them I still feel connected somehow. I am thankful for the friends I still have and for the future friendships God will lead me to.

  • Heartbroken

    Hi haven’t been doing the program for at least 2 weeks. I think because I’m just stuck . Struggling in a lonely marriage, watching my body betray me more each day , can’t tell you the last time I heard from “friends ” or my 2 sisters and a brother. It’s as if I’m already dead. Can’t over come this heart disease tired of waking in the middle of night with symptoms racing heart 135 beats per min. Sleeping. I’m scared lonely, and not sure if I’ve done anything right. Where have all the people gone my priest hasn’t even missed me at mass ouch!

    • Carlos

      Heartbroken, Thanks so much for your honesty. Life is incredibly hard and even worse when we are sick and fighting diseases. We are all going through something and even those in the best of spirits have struggles that surface every now and again. The last 10 months have been very difficult for me as well. I don’t think anyone can truly explain or understand loneliness until they experience it for themselves. We simply need people. As Matthew said today, we need encouragement and we need to feel like we belong. I really thought I had that. I was comfortable and thought I would have that always. One day my wife simply gave up and ran away from our life and its burdens. She turned away from me, our marriage and from God. She said she was unhappy, walked out of my life and never looked back. No discussion, no working on it and no comments about what I needed to work on. Of course there was someone else, someone not associated with our bills and the stresses of our family life who was willing to take her away from the life we both created. It was her decision, not mine. It was devastating, but I knew that God wanted me to stay strong for my family, most especially to be an example for my children. I don’t believe I was hindering her, but when words go unspoken, we just don’t get the answers we need or deserve. I would leave you with one thing. Through my struggles, I have managed to cling to Jesus and know that God loves me, that I love God,and that I will never truly be alone. It has brought me tremendous peace as I look to collaborate with God to restore my life and relationships. Stay strong and never give up!

      • Heartbroken

        Dear Carlos , thank you for your kindness you have a beautiful heart. I too once had my husband leave same unanswered questions no reason as a catholic I thought my life was over only to find God had different plans a career as an oncology rn , an anullment , a new husband and a son I was told I would never have !He has been a true joy , I got sick right around his 3rd birthday. Tho there is no cure I saw it as God giving me the chance to share his childhood and spiritual formation he is now my best friend!! God sure does love us but sometimes it has to hurt first God Bless You

    • Steven Hotho

      Heartbroken, Please, reach out to someone. If your husband can’t be there for you or understand what you are going through, call your priest and ask for an appointment. talk to him. If there is a ladies group at your church, even if you do not know them, call the president and tell her you need some help. It’s easy to feel abandoned, but when we feel that way, it’s easy to lose hope. reach out and then let that person help you or find someone to visit you. Tell them you need a prayer buddy. People on this site are praying for you. Post on this site again.

      • Heartbroken

        Thanks you Steven I belong to a parish 20 yrs my son serves still at 17. I’m more home bound now some people just aren’t who they think they are kind of like the Pharisee. God has sent a woman has waited 2 hrs while I huffed short of breath a literally brought me to our Lord I the Blessed Sacrament she gave home 5 hrs with Him and I ride back when I was ready what a gift. I try to live in the moments I do have a son with a priestly heart he’s my best co/suffer but I feel guilty sometimes

      • Heartbroken

        I will post again God Bless you for the love and invitation to feel welcomed by some new friends!🤗

    • Marilyn

      We are here for you. By checking in with us, you are reaching for your faith and God to bless you with a definition of your purpose. I think we feel a little desperation like you describe so that God can reach out His hand and pull us up, and look for the place where we can find peace. When I wake up at 3:00 in the morning with heart and mind racing, I pick up the rosary and for every bead I think of a person to dedicate the Hail Mary to, and before I know it, sleep comes. God bless you and bring you that escape from loneliness.

      • Heartbroken

        Marilyn , God Bless you for your compassion. I felt so forgotten yesterday and so tired of this heart disease as I’m only 55 and have been sick since 42. I can’t give the way I use to , having been an oncology Rn . But you took the time to show me love in my brokenness . I often had prayed many rosaries a day and Devine Mercy Charley’s for the forgotten, but I’ve been stuck . Trying to figure out if I’m even me anymore. I love life and miss so much of it

  • Heartbroken

    Sorry don’t want to rain on anyone’s joys

    • Barbara

      Dear One,
      You are never alone. Thank you for being vulnerable to share your pain. Please continue to share it with Jesus who loves you and suffers with you. I pray that you will have someone who can sit and listen to you and reach out and give you a hug. In the meantime continue to respond to the Best Lent Ever daily videos.
      Love and blessings.

  • Helen Luce

    This question & the responses that I have read made me realize how blessed I am to have my group of close friends from college. The 8 of us have stayed close to each other for 25 years now. They are like sisters to me and I know that I can count on them like family. We have been through advanced education, marriages, kids, deaths of family members, and other big life events over the years. We are always there for each other. We get together in person once a year for an extended weekend as we are spread throughout the country. I am so grateful for their friendships and I have experienced many times over being called to be a better version of myself by them. I hope that I also have been doing this for them over the years. It is truly a blessing to have these close friendships!

  • Elva Magana Alvarez

    As far as I can remember, I felt as if I was always alone. I am the eldest of 5 and was also 5 years apart from the next sibling. Throughout my School years I was the one kids would tease and call names. I would find myself praying to God to help me be liked by my classmates. Then in 2nd grade a quiet little girl named Rachel was to become my life long friend. We found that we were both alike and would send each other Candy Grams because we knew nobody else would. A couple of years ago I lost my best friend from Ovarian Cancer. During her last moments of life I was at her side, I could see that she was being comforted by God because even though she was in so much pain she always had a smile on her face. She helped me throughout my life and God gave me the strength to help her till the end of hers. Yes I believe that God sends you friends that help you be the best version of yourself and Rachel was definitely that type of friend. I ask God to help me always be that type of friend to others. Jesus, I trust in you!

  • DanaMari

    I have found over my life that God has definitely moved people in and out of it and He’s been pretty clear about removing some that I would have just lingered along in the relationship. I think my folks challenge me more to be the best version of myself rather than my friends. I hope that I do challenge others to be the best version of themselves, without coming across as being judgemental. I also think I tend to be a “collector” of those who have wounds that I do not and have (I hope in some small way) become a small oasis of calm for them, for as long as God desires it to be. pax/caritas – DanaM

  • Kim Bordelon

    I have a wonderful group of real friends that I go to and hope they feel comfortable in coming to me in good and bad times ,I know for sure they are my support and Mentors..I’m going to tell them right now how much they mean to me.

  • Susie Caughey

    Matthew Kelly has! When our Parish Pastor gave out 100 books many years ago (Rediscover Catholicism) to several small groups to read & discuss within a set deadline and then meet for feedback, I felt that all I had read, absorbed and discussed in a small faith group setting had lead me to practice what I had learned. I loved the concept of walking through my day always asking myself “Will this or that assist me in being all God created me to be and the best version of myself?” I attend mass daily since reading this book so the priests in their homilies continue to teach me how I can continually be a better version of myself. Being open to the Word of God in the scriptures offers this challenge to me also.

  • Laurel

    My daughter is my spiritual guide post. She not only talks but walks in faith. I love it when she calls me on my shortcomings, biases, judgement, and pushes me to think and act as Christ. Without her, I would not grow in my faith.
    That said, I always have had a small handful of friends that fall into and out of my life at various times. We always stay in contact, and seem to fold each other into our lives as time permits. Sometimes it is me that sews us together, sometimes another. I agree with other posts that friends are hard to keep, but also worth the effort. You never know how or when they are impacted by you and visa versa.

  • Sue

    My sister is always concerned about our family’s relationship with Jesus and always brings us to prayer when we are together. She is a true role model for me to be the best version of myself.

  • Fran S.

    I believe I have been extremely fortunate in my life because I have had many friends. I have been single all of my life and although family has been important, friends have been equally and sometimes more important than even family. I just spoke this afternoon with a friend that I have had since I was 6 years old and I am now almost 80. I have friends intervene in my life when I believed I could not go on and I have had friends there to help me celebrate or just to enjoy life. I don’t think I could exist without friends. And I thank the Lord constantly for putting them into my life. I am at the point now when many of my friends have passed and all of a sudden I have developed a new friendship out of the clear blue. What a blessing.

  • Steven Sisman

    My wife is a friend who continues to call me to be a better version of myself. She usually does this by encouraging me, giving me perspective, and speaking truth in love.

  • christol murch

    Being a teacher was my life’s dream. My desire became a reality for many years. I loved, loved, loved teaching.
    I never considered becoming involved in educational leadership. However, because of friends, teachers, and professors, I became very involved in leadership becoming the President of a Union, Department Chairperson, Head of the Summer Program, and a Principal of a High School. Friends helped me see what God wanted of me. So, I said yes.

  • Pearl Brown

    I really don’t have friends. I have a co-worker who I have a good relationship with and she encourages me to be a better version of myself especially when it gets demanding on the job. She also calms me and I see things different

  • Jennifer Haeussler Brewer

    My husband Tim!!
    He sees my potential more than I do, any sometimes that’s annoying. But I love that he pushes me to become a better person.

  • Marilyn

    There is such a comfort in being a friend, and in having friends. After reading some of the comments today, I thought about the life-long relationships I have with friends from school, from work and from the neighborhood,
    besides the unconditional love and friendship of family. After seventy plus years, I am grateful that the people I love who may have moved away still help me find my best version of myself and the trust between us enables us to immediately find a spiritual connection that elevates us to our best purpose. God puts people in our path who teach us lessons as well, and the best way to encourage these friendships is to be a good listener. I would also like to say I’m so grateful to be a daily listener of Matthew Kelly and I hope to continue receiving his messages after our Lenten journey has come to an end.

  • Michael Ennis

    When I decide to reflect on my past, I realize all over again, that my best friend, my wife, has known me in both parts of my early adulthood. She knew me when I was at my worst, a practicing alcoholic, and continues to know me at my best, alcohol-free since 1984. She was instrumental in my times of clarity to ask me to change or get help. Now she is an awesome life-coach, always encouraging me to be the best version of myself. She is my rock. I anticipate our relationship continuing well into our Golden Years. I Love You Nancy!
    God Bless

  • Brian

    I meant to write earlier but the day got away from me. Perhaps someone already mentioned Chapter 6 of Sirach where he discusses friends & how there different kinds of friends; but, “true friends” are a treasure. it’s very well said. I’m blessed with several true friends….. & I let them know it. So, see Sirach Chapter 6….

  • Rae Mims

    As an only child, I am the type of person who has a small, close circle of friends. Now, I also have acquaintances but they are not as deep a relationship as friends. I am very closed that way. But, I can’t say a friend has called me to be a better version of myself. That has kind of been my own personal journey. People certainly encourage me when I tell them I started teaching CCD or I began being a Eucharistic Minister to the homebound or I volunteered my attorney skills at an event. But, no one is encouraging me to do that. I am the person many people come to with their troubles. Sometimes it is overwhelming but I cannot seem to just cut off the person who calls me everyday about it. Sometimes people just need to talk. There are times I become resentful of it because I feel like – well where is my support. But, then I just put all my troubles, trials and tribulations into conversations with the Lord.

  • Yes, but different people have asked me to do it in different ways.
    My friend from Seattle, has called me to be better as a photographer (my avatar is from my personal collection).
    One of my co-workers is challenging me to be a better employee.

    What is missing is a person to make me better and stronger spiritually 🙁

    • Maripat

      Keep looking James, you will find that person

  • Maripat

    another excellent better version of myself. How do I make another a better version of themselves

  • Mary

    I am blessed to have four wonderful friends that I have meet through a previous job. The friendships have lasted at least twenty years. Four of the five of us are nurses and the person in our extended families that is responsible for alot. We have supported each other through good and bad times and I am so blessed to have them in my life. They are not all Catholic, but all have a belief in God. I have thought of having one of them Buddy up with me on this spiritual journey, but am not sure she would be receptive. Nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say.

    • Maripat

      That’s great. Give them big hugs and appreciate them

  • Maripat

    i want to put Matthew Kelly in my pocket to take every where I go. I don’t know how to implement this with the people I struggle with. How do I help them the best version of themselves

    • Anabarr

      Hi Maripat!
      I think that praying for them is the best thing you can do, because Jesus told us to pray for our enemies and Im sure that through praying for them you will find the peace you need that will make you happy, because when we don’t hold any bad feelings rest in our souls we’re are being nourished with graces and those graves will turn in beautiful deeds!
      So even though can be a struggle do not put resistance, how Matthew said, and you will see the results!
      God bless you…

      • Maripat

        Thank you so much for replying. It helps me to understand that I need to pray all the more. I add myself in the prayer only because I’m not any better than the people I pray for. I need to stay humble

  • Maripat

    Unfortunately I had friends turn on me in the last 8 month. I trusted them and betrayed me. I pray for them occasionally. I think making them better versions of themselves will be left to another

  • kinderkumu

    Friends have entered and exited my life as have many others. Although my husband is my best friend and is the one who pushes me daily to be a better version of myself, I’d have to say God has put a few friendships in my life in the last few years at just the perfect time. I’ve always been a person whose friends were family, but now I have a few friends who call me for lunch dates or shopping outings. I never had that before in my life! It’s nice to spend time with people who have similar values. We share our everyday things and often say “I’m glad it’s not only me!” Our friendship started at work and we still meet every Friday morning for coffee before we begin our work day, but our conversations have become more personal and not so work related anymore. It’s a blessing that I never expected and am very thankful for.

  • TheresaB

    The truly miraculous discovery I made over the last couple of years is that when I stopped trying to become friends with anyone, just stopped trying completely, and decided instead that whenever I felt drawn to invite friendship, instead I would remind myself of Jesus as my “first friend.” This way, everything I do and step I take is to build my friendship with him and prevents me from getting too caught up in what others think or expect, only Him. As a result, every single relationship I have has improved and many have blossomed beyond anything I could imagine, including my marriage. I’m not perfect obviously, and often I mess up and forget, but every single time I put God first, great things happen. Michael Kelly’s video helps me to use what I’ve learned from not having always (or ever) been the kind of friend I should be when I was younger and reminds me to maintain that most important of friendships and all the rest will fall into place. Praise Jesus!

  • Niove Candida Rosario

    I can only think about one person in my life who I consider a friend. She has been there for me in difficult moments and has always encourage me to pray, to learn more about my faith. She prays for me and I pray for her. Her life has been full of disappointments, hardships, and regardless of all of that her faith is always strong. She challenges me to go against what the world is feeding us which can sometimes be very difficult to accomplish when your faith is not as strong as hers. I continue to reach out to her regardless of how difficult her suggestions can sometimes be because she always has my best interest at heart.

  • Carl

    This brought a smile to my face because it was so easy! I have the good fortune to be married to my best friend. She has helped me grow in a number of ways, but, if I had to pick one, it would be the example of starting every day with prayer and meditation. She didn’t get me to do the same by telling me (or “nagging” me), she achieved this by her example. In our Pre-Cana ministry, she always tells the couples we encounter that our primary responsibility to our spouse is to help him or her get to heaven!

    My mother said it best: “There are a lot of women in the world, but not all of them are ladies!”

  • Toni Shea

    Wow. Powerful and thought provoking. God has blessed me with the best friend possible. An inspiration, and someone who loves me even though she know me well. She will step out and pull me up short, because my welfare is more important to her than not invoking disapproval. How blessed am I? What gave me pause is the question “is my friendship helping or hindering someone else.” With God’s help I need to focus on being a better friend. More like Thee Lord, and less like me, Please.

  • Charlene L

    A while back, the Deacon at my church, Deacon Bill, gave a wonderful homily about “best friends”. My husband was my best friend and I was his best friend for 35 plus years. Vince had all the traits detailed by Deacon Bill in the homily. He cared intensely, accepted me as I am, understood and was always there for me, right up to the end last August when he summoned up the strength one more time to open his eyes and share with me a remarkable goodbye. Over the years, Vince never hesitated to tell me how much he cared and how much he loved me. He always listened and did so with an open mind. Very importantly, he always held me accountable and by doing all of the above, helped me to become more. He was humble and vulnerable, kind and sincere and lived with joy and enthusiasm and boundless curiosity. He shared his subtle sense of humor and absolutely showed perseverance and fight in the most difficult of life’s challenges. Together we persevered mightily over the last couple of years and had such happy and memorable moments even in the face of great challenges. We prayed together every night and Vince was ready and full of peace and contentment about going home to our Father in heaven. I hope I am and can be that kind of friend to others.

  • Rita Gahr

    I really don’t have any friends. I have family, work friends abandoned me when I was laid-off I tried to keep in touch but no one answered me back after 4 months of trying I gave up. Friends I had in the past disappeared when they got married, stopped inviting me because everyone was a couple and I wasn’t. I have tried to reconnect but they are just Facebook friends. Interested in frin ding you but not being there. So to say someone intervined I would say no. It is a lonely existence sometimes.

    • Sandra

      I have a lot of friends and social activity, but no family to speak of. That sometimes makes me lonely, too. Friends CAN let you down, either in the ways you’ve experienced or in other ways. I know family can, too. Mine has, but I still wish I had more of it. Today’s lesson makes me wonder what my friends and I really bring to each other. Even in friendship there can be loneliness.

  • lizmvr

    I think ex-boyfriends have challenged me to be a better version of myself. I do keep in touch with one that I had about 10 years ago; he’s married with four children now, and we have a respectful friendship yet. I’m grateful that he supported me in pursuing educational and career goals, and he taught me to be fairer and more objective. Another boyfriend has struggled with alcoholism, but honestly, this actually pushed me to be stronger for both of us. It made me want to be a better example of a responsible adult and to focus on having fun while being sober because I wanted him to learn to enjoy life without alcohol. Even with the alcoholism, I will say that I never felt used by this man–he was very caring and never took advantage of me. I feel that his respect for me also helped me to respect myself. Honestly, I can say that many, if not most or all, of my relationships have challenged me to be a better version of myself–even the ones that seem to not have done this, probably have but I just haven’t seen how yet. I think I’ve been blessed by the people in my life overall.

    • Sandra

      I’m really impressed by your response. Not sure that I’ve felt the same about my exes. So much pain there! But still there was much learning, especially with the last one who made me stronger and wiser.

  • Patricia Tersigni

    Within the last 10 years, I have met some wonderful people who have helped to grow spiritually and emotionally. Some have come and are gone but I know that God has placed them in my life so that I learn something either from them or a situation that I have been in. Thank you God for placing them in my life

  • Arthur Brown

    Friends in my life are friends because of our interest and sharing with each others problems and activities together. Each one of our friends have a unique strength that they give to us to make us a better version of our selves.
    God Bless each one of you in your daily spiritual journey with God, Christ and the Holy Spirit.

  • Maggie

    I am glad I read about friendship. I was upset with one of my coworkers, whom I usually get along well. He is the only person outside of church whom I talk about spiritual matters. Nevertheless, he pointed out this week that I am kinda snippy with another coworker. I am, but so is she. Plus I know she has lied about me and others. I took offense and thought if he needed to talk to anyone it should probably be her not me. After reading and reflecting, I see that he just wants me to be a better version of myself and maybe he is not just a coworker but a friend as well.

  • Janet Marusiak

    A friend I had use to have Bible Studies and I always took part in them and then she told me to read the entire Catechism and I did. I was so surprised how good it was and it was hard to put it down. I think everyone should read it from cover to cover. You learn so much. I like to help others too with their spiritual life and some reject that help but sometimes you just have to plant the seed and hope and pray for them. I have taken friends from my building and those that are Protestant to church with me as I have gone to theirs on occasion too and so they came to a RC church to make sure I got to mine when I am visiting them. One of them so enjoyed the Mass and we see how much in common we have.

  • Alice

    Tears came to my eyes as Claire was talking about her husband. My husband Karl is among the top of the list that pushes me to be my best self. He pushes me to go to church when I am tired, he pushes me to exercise, he pushes me to be gentle on myself. I feel fortunate. I have many friends, a lot of them I met at work, that push me to be my best self. Great lesson.

  • Francine Dugas Gaspard

    Yes! I was a member of Port Arthur/Southeast , Tx. Christian Women for 27 years now and the Area rep. Would keep trying to encourage me to move up in each position, which held more and more responsibility! And I fought it every time being afraid I couldn’t do it as well as I should! But they keep on and on encouraging me and I would continue turning things down so they spoke to my husband and he agreed I’ll be great at leading this large interfaith group so at a banquet they called me up, my husband standing by their side and announced in front of all in attendance that I was first the new Chairperson, next time the new Area Rep. over First Port Arthur, Texas then over all of Southeast , Tx!!!! It has been the biggest blessing in my life!

    Also another friend saw I was getting burnout teaching bible studies, heading international prayer groups and heading monthly luncheon outreaching to those loss, hurting, and in pain so she told me you need something’s no just for you ! So she signed me up for Joy bible study where I would attend but she would never put a lot of responsibility on me and we have 100’s of beautiful sisters in Christ who attend!

  • Eugene Randy Day

    “show me your friends and I’ll show you your future”

  • Cheryl Beseler

    I meet regularly with a group of women that I went to grade school with – we began these meetings to discover a way to help others. When we meet, we talk about life, our families, the struggles we see others going through, who needs our prayers and how God has been present since our last meeting. This is our spiritual journey – we keep each other accountable, share our joys and sorrows and reach out to others in a quiet way – with prayers, notes, pilgrimages and sharing. We call each other to be better-versions-of- ourselves… we share readings, prayers, little miracles, challenges, celebrations, questions – we laugh, we cry, we pray. I am grateful every day for God bringing us together, for putting a seed in the heart of one woman to reach out and grow an opportunity to become better-versions-of-ourselves through action and accountability!

  • Tina Xinastle

    My husband is the main person who challenges me to become better at the things I do not believe I can be. At first it’s very humbling to open up to someone for criticism. Yet, I really appreciate when he sees my weaknesses and encourages me to do more. I do not currently have other friends who do that. I hope to have more friends in the future.

  • Betty’s Blessing

    I have friends that come into my life at different stages. I am so very blessed for that.
    I have one friend I met while working at a job. She helped me when I was pregnant and my baby’s father was already out of the picture. I lived with her temporarily and she was my birthing coach. She helped me at a time when I needed someone the most….fast forward 18 years. Her husband became ill, was fighting going to the doctor. When she finally talked him into go to the doctor. It was too late, and he passed away a few days later. I was there for her to help her through her difficult time. She said I don’t know what I would do without you! I told her, when I needed YOU the most you carried me, now it is MY turn to carry you. That is what friends are for!
    God puts people in our lives for a reason. I am know He has blessed me!

  • Peg

    The older I get, the more important I tend to rank “friendships” in life! Being a woman, I have a need to have others to share my thoughts and even frustrations within my daily life. Having met “widowhood” last April, the truth of this belief has proven itself many times over! However, it is very difficult to make friends, find friends, and keep friends. By ‘friends’ I mean those that will be honest and open and willing to have serious heart-to-heart talks and not just mumble about the ‘weather’. There are so many “acquaintances” one may gather easily .. but I rather have a few close people that really care about me and vice-versa … people that are with you through the good, the bad and the ugly … and discuss life’s difficult parts and uncover the truths in their hearts. I really appreciate the few valued, true “friends” God has given me. It makes life easier to bear and does wonders for my soul!

  • LJ

    Remember when you were a child and you liked someone. It could have been their smile and it certainly had to do with being in a neighborhood. That was then. O.K. then but seasons change. A friend is someone you can trust and I think people are selfish and self centered and really cold at times. Johnathan and David were friends who where helps to one another. God provides everything so put Him first and see what can happen.

  • Martha Krage Littenberg

    Two weeks ago I was the Sprlititual Director for a Christ Renews His Parish weekend in my parish. Walking into the weekend I had just had a huge disagreement with my 2 of my sisters. Being told that they no longer wanted me to be part of their lives set my weekend off to a horrible start. Being who I am I dove into my weekend, giving the best of myself to my team and to the ladies attending the weekend. By the end of the weekend I was at peace with the situation. I knew that those 2 friends ( sisters) don’t do anything for my life bu bring me pain and anguish. So sorting out my list of (friends) I know now that I’m better when we are not together. So Sad but a true fact. My sisters in Christ are my true family and friends

  • Nicole M.

    I have a few wonderful friends who will always be there for me no matter what. I know I can trust them and they will give me good advice. There are times when I get really sad when thinking about the friendships I used to have. I know friends come and go and God has placed them in my life for a reason, but I always have such a hard time coming to terms with that. I miss them and I wonder occasionally if it’s something I did wrong. I do hang out with them from time to time, but it’s somehow never the same as it used to be. I wonder if it’s me already thinking negatively before hanging out with them or if it’s God telling me to let go and be an even better friend to the great ones that I already have.

  • Coffeekid

    one of my regular prayers I have is asking God to send me friends who will help me become a better person and to help strengthen my faith because unfortunately there is no one in my life currently that I feel lifted up by. Not that they are not good or kind but I never feel encouraged by them. I want and in fact need that in my relationships and sadly there is little of that in my day to day life but thankfully I read and attend mass and I try hard to encourage myself.
    There is a country song from a few years ago called “Me and God” it is one of my theme songs because I know my biggest support comes from him.

  • Lynn Keiner

    YES, I was away from the Church for 25 years. I married a wonderful Jewish man, had two sons, but I would talk about matters of faith with my best friend who was Jewish. One day Sandy said to me, “I think you need to return to church.” Sandy is a beautiful woman of great faith. I did, my dear husband agreed to have our marriage blessed, and I returned to church. My husband passed away after 26 beautiful years, a great blessing in my life. My sons have grown into wonderful men. I am a Eucharistic Minister, a catechism, an Associate in an order of Sisters. After 40 years of teaching, I now volunteer at a local hospital and nursing home. I would attribute all of the to amazing people that God has always sent into my life to encourage me and exhort me. I hope that I do that for others.

  • Denise Slowinski

    In October 2015, I attended my CRHP weekend and it was life changing for me. It was only 9 months after my husbands death but the wonderful women of my CRHP group have helped me to be the Best version of myself. This past January, I was a witness for others at our CRHP weekend. Because of CRHP I am being the best Version of myself.

  • Nett Lacsamana

    My daughter has helped me become a better version of myself, esp spiritually. She is now 20 yrs old, and she’s just gotten a lot smarter and much further in life way so much than I did when I was 20. So, even though I am now 46 (Going on 47 on May 1st), I believe that it is not too late for me. She is her own person, and so am I. I feel like roles have been reversed. When she was a child, she’d look up to me as her role model, as I needed to set a good example to her. Now, she’s doing things that I am so very proud of, and I am following her ways. She’s got some better points in life that I have, and well, she’s now my role model!

  • Julie Concannon

    I have been so blessed in life with friends. When I was a young adult, I lost my sister, grandmother, and mother in a 7-year span. This taught me so much about treasuring relationships. I never took them for granted. In my freshman year at college I was so lucky to meet my life-long friend Carrie. We have been through everything together as Catholic mothers. She has stuck with me (and vice) versa through thick and thin. Even when I say her name, I smile and my heart swells. It has been an honor to call her best friend. When my sister died…she said “I have never had a sister, so now I can call you mine.” I believe that God has a specific purpose for every friend he puts into our path–whether they are toxic or tremendous, they do make you a better version of yourself. In Carrie’s case–she has made me the BEST version of myself.

  • Glen Arcalas

    Spending time with co-workers can be a challenge because they may be older and more pessimistic and negative. It’s the norm to swear, speak bad about others and stay on path of spreading gossip. Since I am considered a civilian among people in uniform. I am not gonna try to fit in. This does not stop me from smiling, saying hi and actually talking to people when they genuinely want to talk and not be negative. Most of the day can be tuff but if I give up I become like them and I know I am not. But knowing Jesus is with me at work I can keep on really smiling, making a difference and be-the-best-version-of-my-self

  • Diana Patulak Ross

    wow! This one hit close to home as I tend to worry about money and always plan like she said in this video. It’s not that I don’t give to church and charity but I could probably give more. My husband, like hers, is the one who doesn’t stop to plan but just gives.

  • Tim

    I’ve been fortunate to have good friends during my life and count my wife and youngest brother as my best two friends. However, as a male in his mid 40s I’ve found it a challenge in recent years to make other friends that share similar values. I always cringe when I’m around a group of guys and they start the typical “guy talk” that objectifies women and generally is just immature banter. I’ve attended some different Church related programs hoping to meet some like minded men but I’m usually the youngest man there. This has been something that’s bothered me for a few years now and I continue to pray that the Holy Spirit brings people into my life that need a friend as well. If nothing else, it certainly makes me grateful for the friends I have had.

  • Mark Dailey

    My friend, MaryAnne asked me if she could become my life coach. I really needed one! I couldn’t have asked for a better friend or life coach who helped me see the power of God in my life.

  • Dorothy Gee

    That is a good question! After a good friend passed in 2014 I wondered “what now” ! Will I ever find another long time friend to encourage me to be a better version of myself? It took a while but I kept praying with hope and now
    that friend was really always there, I just didn’t recognize her, a former coworker who through the internet emails
    encourages me daily to be more than I can be. To rise up amid the chaos of life & forge ahead with courage, grace,
    and a new perspective. We don’t solve the world’s problems, but put beauty in our lives, by sharing beautiful stunning pics that would take your breath away. I look forward to her emails all the time. even today Palm Sunday
    she sent me an excerpt from “Best Lent Ever” and keeping me on track for this holy week. Thank you friend, for
    keeping the door of friendship open when I thought everything would never by the same after my best friend passed.
    Sometimes, things are right in front of us we just have to look and reach out.

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