San Augustine

Friendship

Friendship

Who manages to make the list of unnecessary things of this world? If we wanted to remember them all, we would put a lot.

We can cite only those necessary; the others should be counted among the superfluous. In this world there are only two things needed: health and friend.

Friendship, primary asset

These are the things that matter most and that we must all be overlooked. Health and the friend are assets belonging to human nature. God has created man to make it exist and live, and this is health. But, because it was not alone, there was no need of friendship. Friendship, then, begins by his spouse and children, and then opens up to others. But considering that we have only had a father and a mother, who will be the other? Every man is next to every man. Turn to nature. The other is a stranger? Yes, but he's a man. Is it an adversary? But he is a man. It is an enemy? But it is always a man. He's a friend? Who remains a friend? It is an adversary? He becomes friend.

Need friendship
Even in this life the good are causing no small consolation. If in fact there anguish poverty, if there pained grief, we would make a physical ailment troubled, saddened us in exile, we torment some other calamity, but there were good people nearby who knew not only enjoy with those who rejoice, but also mourn with those who mourn, they knew to turn words of relief and chatting amiably, then it would soothe in large part the bitterness, alleviated the worries, overcome adversity. But this affection is produced in them and through them to the One who made them good with his Spirit. So in all human things nothing he is dear to man without a friend. But how one can find so faithful, that we can trust with confidence about the soul and the conduct in this life? No one knows another as himself, and yet no one is so well known in itself can be sure of its conduct of the next day.

Be the first to love
There is no more pressing invitation to love than to be the first to love, it hardest heart of what, not having wanted to give love, even want to respond to love. We can verify all this even in love more impure and more squalid, where those who want to be in love reciprocated merely declare and manifest your own with all evidence at their disposal; They try to cite some semblance of justice to demand in some way to be paid from the hearts that try to seduce and kindled the fire even more ardent when they warn that those hearts, long for, already burn the same fire. Therefore, if a heart was numb wakes up when you feel loved, and himself a heart that already burned more inflamed when you hear paid, it is clear that nothing can be born and grow more than knowing how loved love when not yet he loves, or the hope of being paid, or the feeling already paid when you love first.
If this happens in the impure loves, how much more it will be purity in friendship? What else, in fact, we want to avoid, not tarnishing the friendship, except that the friend has to believe that we love or who love it less than we love him? Because, if anything he is convinced, it will become colder in him the love of which men enjoy each other in a mutual intimacy. But it is not so weak as to let such a wound it cool completely, it will behave like a man who loves, not for pleasure plots, but to receive help.

Friendship is mutual love
Maximum refreshment and relief came from the comforts of my other friends, with whom I share a love of what I loved in your place. Other links then further gripped my soul: the talks, the laughter in the company, the exchange of courtesies affection, the common letters of pleasant books, frivolous pastimes now decent, occasional disagreements, without rancor, as every man with himself, and to the common consensus, flavored by them, very rare disagreements: the being of each other now teacher, now a disciple, the impatient longing for those who are far, the festive welcome for those who return. These and other similar signs of hearts in love with one expressions of the mouth, tongue, eyes, and a thousand grateful gestures, are the bait, I would say, the flame which blends together the souls of many, and it is only made.

The more you are friends, the more he is sincere
I may be bold in saying this, and how if you forget that I have the habit of interceding for others. "If the discretion is none other than a certain fear of regret, I am not ashamed of having this fear. I fear, in fact, of sorrow before God and then the same friendship that you have been kind enough to shake with me, if I felt less free to give you some advice that I consider very useful for the salvation of your soul. Sure, I'll have to be more discreet when intercede for others, but if it's your own good I will be all the more sincere as I am your friend because you'll be much more friendly as you'll be loyal. I would not say to you, after all, these things, if were to obey with a certain discretion. If this is - as you yourself write - "the most effective means of resolving difficulties between good people", that I have help to do good. In this way I can enjoy with the one who has enabled me to come into his confidence and friendship, especially because I believe that his spirit can easily accommodate to my suggestions, supported and equipped as you are for many divine favors.

How difficult it is to recognize a friend
In all human affairs nothing is dear to man without a friend, but how many of you are so faithful that they can trust completely in this life of their feelings and of their conduct? No one knows another as they know themselves; yet nobody knows himself to the point that they can be certain of his conduct of the next day. Therefore, although many you recognize them by their fruits and some really procure joy to their neighbors living well, others, however, experiencing pain go wrong.

Fraternal correction in friendship
Suppose that one hates his enemy and pretend to be his friend; He sees him doing something wrong, and praises him; He wants you you're rushing headlong; He wants me to run like a blind man in the precipices of his desires, and that it did not originate from there anymore; praises, because the sinner is praised in the desires of his soul. Use with him the ointment of flattery: he hates, but praises him. Another sees his friend do something similar, and distracts him; if you do not listen, speak words of condemnation, scolds him and argues with him: sometimes it is forced to fight. Here, in this case the hatred coaxes and love quarrels. Pay no attention to the words of one who flatters, and the apparent severity of those who reproach; looks to the source, look for the root from which comes the way you do. That flatters to deceive, this quarrel to correct.

The only safety is friendship with Christ
Let us keep far away, brothers, by the possession of personal property, or, if you really cannot abandon them physically, we eliminate the attachment to them. So there will be room for the Lord. "And for me too," someone will say. Considers, however, who are you that you have to prepare a place in the Lord. If you want to host in your home a senator, indeed not a senator, but the prosecutor of any powerful of this world, and says to you: "In your home there is something that bothers me," You, as fond of the thing, left it to avoid upsetting the person you want to make you friend. But this friendship, being the friendship of a man, what will you benefit? Instead of worthwhile, it could even be dangerous. Many people, in fact, that before joining the big one were safe from danger, eager to make friends, fell in their own dangers.
If you want security, choose the friendship of Christ. He wants to be a guest in your home. Prepare him a place. What do you mean: prepare him a place? Not love yourself; love him. If you love yourself the door will be closed; if you love the door will open. And if you open the door, he will join you and you will not be lost for signing loved, as you found with those who love you.

Do not create the false good friendship
I do not want to take offense, do you think it is strange that at a time when I was seeking the vanities of the world, you were not even true friend, although you seemed to love me much, since I was not even friend of myself, but rather the enemy, since I loved the iniquity ... since then, I hated my soul, in what way I could have a true friend in who wished me things because of which I hated myself as enemy? When it shone in my spirit that the kindness and grace of our Savior, not in accordance with my merits but of his mercy, how could you have myself a true friend while you were ill-disposed towards it, since I ignored entirely under what could I be happy and did not want me well in what I had now become in some way a friend of myself? So thanks be to God who has deigned to make yourself - with your own conversion - a good friend of mine once. Now ensure that there is complete agreement between us on things human and divine accompanied by an affectionate good will in Christ Jesus our Lord, our authentic and genuine peace.

Pray to obtain it
Friendship should not be circumscribed within narrow limits. It embraces all those which are due affection and love, though talk with more inclination towards some and more hesitantly from others. It extends up to the enemy, for which we are required to pray ... Not without reason we have great attraction for those from whom we loved one another in a holy and chaste way. We need to pray that these goods these are retained when you have and they are increased when you do not have.

Watch together upwards
Even after I stopped wanting worldly things, you, in your everlasting goodness, looking for my own good in their material needs and my happiness in the achievement of the things the world hope. Even so, it was established between you and me, to some extent, a sweet and affectionate understanding on human things. Now, however, what words could express the joy I feel for you, since he who imperfectly I had for friend, now I am a true friend? It is in fact added the agreement on divine things; you who at one time, with exquisite kindness and the time you spent with me in my life, now you started to join me in the hope of immortal life. Now so that between us there is no disagreement even over human affairs, since the judge in the light of those divine, not to give them more weight than rightly required by their limitations: without doing outrage to their creator, Lord of the things of heaven and earth, reject them with contempt unfair. So it happens that among friends in which missing a perfect deal on divine things there is not full and sincere agreement even on human things. It is inevitable, in fact, that you judge human things differently from how should he who despises the things of God, and who cannot love the man in the right way anyone not love the One who created man.
For this, I do not say that now you are a closest friend ,, whereas before you were only in part, but - thinking logically - I say that you were not even in part, since not even in human affairs were joined me from a true friendship. In fact you did not share with me the things of God, under which are also evaluated the human ones. And this is when I myself was away, and when later I began to understand them in some way, while you had great contempt.

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