Father Cassilly discusses how the nature and qualities of friendship are manifested in the relationship between God and a human person. First, he shows how God loves us.
“Friendship is mutual love, and Christ Himself teaches us that the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart and soul; and this love must be for His own sake, on account of Himself and His infinite perfections and amiability. This precept is reasonable and, with the help of grace, not over difficult, since our very nature prompts us to love and esteem one who is every way worthy, even apart from the consideration whether he has rendered us any personal service. We then can and must love God for His own sake.”
“That He loves us is evidenced by His words and deeds, by the whole scheme of creation and redemption, by His daily solicitude and care over us. And this love is not for His own benefit or emolument, since He needs nothing of us, and we can give Him nothing that He has not. So His charity cannot be for His own sake, hence it must be for ours. And here the question naturally presents itself, how God can find anything in us to draw His complacence.”
“It is the universal law of intelligent being to love itself and what pertains to it. God, too, comes under this law, or rather we should say it proceeds and springs from Him. He does and must love Himself and what belongs to Him. Now it is not hard to show that we belong to Him, and by many titles. We are His creatures, the work of His hands, the offspring, so to speak, of His wisdom and counsel. We are made to His own image and likeness and so share in His essence and being, so far indeed as limited and created perfection may partake of the infinite. And we need not delay here on the manifestation of His predilection for us in the work of redemption. So in loving us God is only loving what pertains and belongs to Him, a reflection and embodying of Himself. We are His, and so intimately that as long as we are faithful and true He cannot discard or forget us.”
Quotations from Francis Cassilly, A Story of Love, 2d ed. (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1917).