Saturday, November 5, 2011


If you’ve read the first Harry Potter book (okay, it should be in the movie too), you might remember that scene at the end in which Dumbledore grants Ron and Hermione 50 house points each and Harry 60 house points for doing their heroic deeds. Then after that, he gives 10 points to someone who had nothing to do with the night’s adventures: Neville.

Neville had no hand in the Quirrell quest, but Dumbledore knew he had enough punch in him to merit those 10 points: “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.”

While it’s true that being a true friend means standing up for one’s pal no matter what, there will come occasions in which the person is meant to stand up against his friend—because if he really loved his buddy, he’d only want the best for him!

And this is what I liked the most in the movie There Be Dragons, directed by Roland Joffe. A story about friendship, the movie follows the lives of Josemaría Escriva (played by Charlie Cox) and his friend Manolo (Wes Bentley), as they separated ways during the Spanish civil war. While Manolo is fictional, Josemaría is not, and everything the character does in the movie is based on the latter’s idea of finding holiness in the ordinary things.

The movie is meaty in many aspects, but I’ll talk about just one scene: Josemaría visits Manolo at his house after Manolo’s father dies. They have a bit of an argument, but before Josemaría takes his leave, he hands his friend a rosary. You learn later on that Manolo can talk to his son about the priest’s life because Josemaría never ceased to write him, even after their last meeting.

(I’m gonna stop right here because if I don’t, I will end up spoiling it for those who haven’t watched.)

And this is what friendship is about. You see, sometimes, being a true friend means disagreeing with one’s friends, and when things go bad, it also means never giving up on them. It’s all right to be disappointed with a friend’s choices, but a true friend separates the choice from the person: while he knows the choice is wrong and speaks up against it, he understands that his friend is someone who needs more love than ever! Thus the persistence; and thus, the harsh words (when necessary!)—but always powered by love.

If you have a friend whom you know is making not-so-wise choices, treat him or her with love. Meet up for coffee, have a chat, always be available. And in a very natural way, remind him of the good options he can make. And never cease to pray for him!

PLUG: Watch There Be Dragons starting November 9 in local cinemas: SM Megamall, SM North, SM Southmall, Trimoma, Glorietta 4, Festival Mall. :-)