The Friendship of Christ (Benson)
Christ desires to be our Friend. But how can we respond? Taking up themes from great mystical writers, Benson gives a prophetic corrective for those in the Church who mistake “Christ’s gifts for Christ, religiosity for religion, and the joys possible on earth for the joys awaiting us in heaven.” Benson steers the soul away from temptations to despair and from presumption upon Christ’s friendship, pointing to the consoling truth: “I am in all things His debtor, but He bids me call Him Friend.”
In these pages, Benson will guide you in the ways of Christ’s friendship, from first love, through purgation, to illumination. You will see how to be friends with Christ in Himself, but also in the modes by which He offers Himself; some more obvious, such as the saints and the Eucharist; others more strangely disguised, such as the Average Man and the Sinner. Lastly, through the historical life of our Friend crucified and vindicated, Benson will bring you to that crowning moment when Christ pledged His friendship and won ours.
This book reveals how one can be friends with Him who asks for our “adoration, dependence, obedience”. Wherever you are in your friendship with Christ, whether it is the initial exhilaration of attending “every instant to this new intimate,” or whether you are in the thralls of “disillusionment”; whether you perceive Him in the chalice, or whether you are blinded to Him by the sins of the Church and the cry of the Sufferer, Benson shows how in each of these to see the face of your Friend.
How to love an invisible God? For anyone who has asked themselves this question, Robert Hugh Benson weaves together the many strands of the Catholic faith to reveal the one thing needful—the radiant face of Christ. Here Benson unfolds the secret of the saints: that Christ is the truest of all friends, not metaphorically, but in reality. This book will not only help you to see and love God anew amid the world’s maze, but will also give fresh joy and meaning to your earthly relationships. - Melinda Nielsen PhD, Associate Professor of Classical Literature, Baylor University
As a convert from Protestantism, Benson was extremely sensitive to the religious dangers of a private devotional life cut off from the Church. The genius of Friendship of Christ is that it places before the reader the whole range of Christ’s resources for fostering friendship with His disciples. Christ seeks friendship with every soul not just through a cultivated interior life, but also through His Church, the sacraments, other people, and the historical record of His life preserved in the Gospels. As Benson shows so movingly, wherever Christ is, there we may befriend Him. - Thomas Ward PhD, author Divine Ideas (Cambridge University Press, 2020)