Love ranks first among the passions of the soul: it is the king of all the movements of the heart, it brings together everything to himself and makes us similar to what we love.
St. Francis de Sales
Friendship is the most dangerous love, the other loves can also help but communicate, and friendship rather is based essentially on their own communication. Normally it is impossible that friendship does not make us part of the qualities of the loved one. Not all love is friendship. You can love without being loved; in which case there is love, but not friendship, because friendship is a reciprocated love. If it is not reciprocated is not friendship. It is not enough that it is reciprocated love: the parts you love, should know. If you do not know it, they will have all the love you want, but there will be friendship.
In addition those who love each other, they must have some good common base of their friendship. The friendship is different according to the different ways of communicating and ways of communicating differ according to the goods that are the object of the exchange: if it is false, and vain goods, friendship is false and vain; if it is true goods, friendship is true; the better the property, the better friendship. In fact, in the same way that the honey collected from the buds of the loveliest flowers is the best, so love founded on the exchange of an exquisite property is excellent.
It exists in Eraclea Pontus a kind of poisonous honey, that crazy about those who eat is poisonous because it is collected from the aconite plant, present in abundance in the region. The same is friendship founded on the exchange of goods and vicious empty: be totally false and bad. The exchange of carnal pleasures is simply a mutual attraction and bestial lure that, among men, does not deserve to be called with the name of friendship; word that the rest of you do not even dream to use when referring to the same relationship between donkeys and horses; and if in marriage exchanges were reduced to this, it would not be possible any friendship; but since, in addition, there is an exchange of life, initiative, affections and an unbreakable loyalty, which is why the friendship in marriage is true and holy.
The friendship founded on the exchange of the pleasure of the senses is coarse and does not deserve the name of friendship; so also the one founded on virtues frivolous and unnecessary, because they are virtues that depend on the senses. Do the name of sensual pleasures to those that are linked directly and the main way to the outer senses, which are the pleasure to admire the beauty, to hear a sweet voice, touch and the like.
Give the name of virtue frivolous to certain skills and useless qualities which weak minds call virtues and perfections. Listen to what they say most of the girls, women and young men in general: they will not hesitate to say that Tom is very virtuous, has many perfections, because she dances well, deftly juggle know in all the games, know how to dress tastefully, sings well, it has a brilliant conversation, it looks nice. Quacks consider best among them to be best in the art of making buffoons.
Since all this concerns the senses, which is why the friendships that have these foundations are called sensual, vain and frivolous, and deserve more than to be called follies that friendships.
Of this kind they are usually the friendships of young people regarding the mustache, the hair, the look, the clothes, the self-importance, the gab. Are under the age characteristics of the lovers, who have little solid virtue, as their downy chin and have the wisdom to Bud. These friendships are only transient and melt like snow in the sun.
More virtues will be valid; the friendship will be more perfect. If the exchange takes place in the sciences, your friendship will, no doubt, very commendable; even more so if the field is that of virtues such as prudence, discretion, fortitude and justice. But if this exchange will take place in the field of charity, of devotion, of Christian perfection, then yes, that it will be perfect friendship. It will be great because it comes from God, excellent because it tends to God, excellent because its bond is God, great as it is eternal in God.
It's nice to be able to love on earth as one loves in heaven, and learn to love one another in this world as we will eternally in. I am not speaking here of the simple love of charity, because we must have for all men; I speak of spiritual friendship, in which, two, three or more persons exchange devotion, spiritual affections, and truly become one spirit. Rightly those happy souls can sing: How good and pleasant for brethren to dwell together. And it's true, because the delicious balm of devotion is poured from one heart to another with uninterrupted communication, so that you can truly say that God has poured out his blessing and his life on such a friendship for ever and ever.
It seems to me that all other friendships are only ghosts compared to this and their bonds of glass rings and jet, comparing the binding of devotion that is all gold. Do not make friends of another kind; I mean those who depend on you. You do not have to drop or despise those that nature and previous duties require you to entertain: such as those with relatives, partners, benefactors, neighbors and others; I repeat, I mean those that you choose for yourself freely.
May be that someone to tell you that you should not have any kind of special affection or friendship, because it clutters the heart, distracts the mind, gives rise to envy; but they are wrong. In the writings of many saints and devout authors, they said that particular friendships and affections out of order are very harmful to the religious; they think that the rule applies to everyone, but on this there would be much to say.
But for those who live among the people of the world and embrace true virtue, it is essential to forge an alliance with a mutual holy friendship; In fact, relying on it, we do dare, we help, there is mutual support in the journey toward the good.
Those who walk in the plan do not need to join hands, but those who are in a rough way and slippery support one another to walk more safely. The religious need no particular friendships, but those living in the world, yes, to give him security and help each other in all the dangerous passages they face. In the world, not all towards the same goal, not everyone has the same spirit; So we have to think and make friends according to plan; this peculiarity really creates a bias, but it is a holy partiality that does not create divisions but to the good from the bad, the sheep from the goats, bees from the drones, which are necessary clearance.
There is no doubt, and no one would dream of denying it, that Our Lord harbored more tender and personal friendship for John, Lazarus, Martha, Mary Magdalene; the Scripture says. We know that St. Peter had a predilection for Marco and Santa Petronilla; St. Paul to St. Timothy and St. Thecla. St. Gregory of glories hundred times the friendship he had for St. Basil, and describes it thus: "We had the impression that the two of us there was one soul with two bodies. We must not give credence to those who say that everything is in everything, but it is true that we were both in each and every one in the other; the cultivation of virtue and order programs of our life to future hopes; this was the way to get out of this mortal earth, before dying".
St. Augustine says that Ambrose was very fond of S. Monica, for rare virtues he admired in her, and she loved him as an angel of God.
But I am wrong to make you waste time on something so clear. St. Jerome, St. Augustine, St. Gregory, St. Bernard and all the greatest servants of God have had personal friendships without prejudice to their perfection. St. Paul, blaming the Gentiles the moral disorder of life, accusing them of being people without affection, or people incapable of friendship. St. Thomas, like all good philosophers, says that friendship is a virtue: certainly speaks personal friendship because, he says, true friendship cannot be extended to many people. Perfection, therefore, does not consist in having no friends, but have a good, holy and beautiful.
Careful, Philothea: I want to warn you that you do not run danger. I do not know if you know that honey of Heraclea, very poisonous, looks incredibly common honey; and the danger of taking one to the other is real, as well as to mix them: in which case the deception is even worse because the good of one quality does not stop the poisonous effect of the other.
We must be careful not to be fooled in friendships, especially when tightening between people of different sexes, no matter for what reason; Satan often substitutes for those they love. It always starts from love virtuous, but if it is not very wise, creeps soon frivolous love, then you move sensual love, then carnal love; the danger exists even in spiritual love, if you are not careful; although this is much more difficult to confusion and misunderstanding, because its purity and its clarity makes the ugliness more obvious that Satan wants to insinuate here because the devil when he tries, he does things with greater finesse and try to slide the ugliness almost imperceptibly.
You will spot the worldly friendship from that holy and virtuous, just like the honey of Heraclea is distinguished from the other: the honey of Heraclea is sweeter to the palate of ordinary honey; aconite is that it increases the sweetness; so does the worldly friendship ordinarily produces repeating huge amounts of honeyed words, a shower of licks and passionate praise on the beauty, grace and sensual qualities: healthy friendship instead has a simple and straightforward language, only praises power and grace of God, only its foundation.
The honey of Heraclea once swallowed causes of dizziness; similarly the futile friendship causes disorientation of spirit that makes uncertain the person in chastity and devotion. They lead it through languid eyes, whimsical, insistent; to sensual caresses, sighs to misunderstandings, small complaints of not being loved enough; to well-disguised tricks, but skillful and captivating: gallantry, kisses abuse and other freedom and familiarity that leads to vulgarity and I'm sure harbinger of an imminent surrender of honesty.
The holy friendship, however, has simple and chaste eyes; acts of kindness are controlled and harmless; if there are sighs, will be for the sky, freedoms only to the spirit, the laments will only be because God is not loved enough, infallible test of honesty.
The honey of Heraclea disturbs the view; the worldly friendship disturbs the senses, so that those who are affected, they think they do well while they act badly, and are convinced that their excuses, their pretenses, and their words are valid reasons. They fear the light and love darkness. The holy friendship instead has bright eyes and does not hide, indeed you do see willingly by the people for good.
Finally, the honey of Heraclea leaves a strong bitter taste in the mouth: the same thing happens in the false friendships that turn and end up in words and demands carnal and worthy of sewers; if they refuse, they will explode the insults, calumnies, deceptions, sadness, confessions and jealousies that end almost always in hysteria; pure friendship is always equal in honesty, polite and amiable, and only turns into a union of the purest and most perfect spirits, blissful living image of friendship that reigns in Heaven.
St. Gregory Nazianzen says that the peacock when its tail, to deliver its distinctive and struts, by exciting the females that they hear, the lubricity. Similarly, when you see a man preening, primping and so saved, approach to make chatter, to whisper, haggling in the ears of a mature woman or a young man, and all with no intention of marriage, well, it is certain that it is only to tempt some immodesty; the woman honored turn their ears not to hear the cry of the peacock and the caster's voice that wants to seduce her; if you hear it will be the beginning of the loss of the heart.
Young people who coy gestures, affectations, and caresses, or say words you do not want them to be heard by their fathers, mothers, husbands, wives or confessors, thus demonstrate that they are dealing not just honor and conscience.
Mary was greatly troubled at seeing the angel in the guise of a man, because she was alone and he was praising with great solemnity: let's not forget that they were heavenly praises! 0h Saviour of the world! The purity fears an Angel in human form; because our purity should not fear a man, even though in the guise of Angelo, when weaves sensual praises or at least human?
But what to do to fight the futile love affairs, the oddities, the madness, the ugliness that I mentioned? Soon as you feel the first symptoms, immediately turn toward the other side and, by rejecting in the strongest terms the stupidity, run by the Cross of the Savior, grabs his crown of thorns and cingine your heart so that those little foxes may not approach.
Its fine careful not to come to terms with the enemy; not to say: I listen to you, but then I will not do anything that I suggest; I lend the ear, but refuse the heart. Philothea, in such circumstances, you have to be intransigent: the heart and the ears are connected, and it is impossible to stop a stream that comes down from the mountain to the valley, so it is difficult to prevent that love came into his ear does not drop soon in the heart.
The goats breathe ear and not for nostrils; Aristotle denies it; I do not know anything, but I certainly know that our heart breathes to the ear, and since inhales and exhales his thoughts by means of language, even breathe for the ear, through which receives the thoughts of others. So scrupulously we protect our ears from a sudden gust of useless words; if soon otherwise our heart will become infected.
Under no pretext must listen obscene proposals of any kind: this is the only case where you do not run the danger of being uncivilized and rude. Remember that you have devoted your heart to God, you have given him your love, and it would be a sacrilege to even a crumb only; renews your offer with a thousand intentions and promises and stay in those as a deer in his shelter and then invokes God. He will come to the rescue: take your love under his protection, to make it live solely in Him. And if you are already stumbled in the nets of those futile loves, then I feel obliged to tell you that it will be difficult to get rid. Put yourself in the presence of the divine Majesty, acknowledge the enormity of your misery, your weakness, your vanity; then with the maximum commitment of which you are capable, detest these loves already begun, denies the silly event what have you done, waiver of all receipts and promises, with a strong and resolute will, you decide in your heart and resolve to never start those games and those skirmishes of love.
And if you can physically get away from the person involved, I agree more, because, in the same way that those who have been bitten by a snake, they cannot easily heal in the presence of those who have already been bitten in turn, the person wounded with love hardly be able to recover from that passion, until it is close to that wound from the same bite.
The change of the place is very helpful to calm the fever and shaking from the pain that is caused by love. The boy mentioned by St. Ambrose in Book II of Penance, he returned from a long trip completely cured by futile love affairs that had gripped before; the foolish lover who, meeting him he said: I do not know? They are always the same! Yes, of course, answered, but I just have not been the same. The distance had worked in him that happy change.
But who cannot get away? He must sever all private conversation, secret meetings, the languid eyes, the smiles and generally all exchanges and that can feed this fire smelly and grimy. And if the circumstances require that addresses the word to the accomplice, it must be to declare, with a bold, short and serious protests, the final divorce that we swore. I cry aloud to anyone who has fallen into these passionate snares: Cut, truncate, splits. Do not waste time discussing these futile friendships; you must not waste time to get her untie the knots; We have to break them is to cut them; both those cords and those bonds have no value.
We must not have respect for a love that is contrary to the love of God. But, having thus broken the chains that infamous slavery, it remains possible that some trawls. Trademarks and irons wounds will remain etched in your feet, or affections. Does nothing, Philothea, if you've designed for your bad all the horror it deserves; if you do so you will not be troubled by anxieties; you will experience only a strong horror infamous love and everything connected to it and you will be free from any other affection for the person that you left; It will only remain a pure love for God.
If, because of the imperfection of repentance, remains in you some bad inclination, power of attorney for your soul a mental solitude, as I have taught you, and withdrawn in it with all thy might, and with a thousand repeated outbursts of the spirit , renunciation of your inclinations, renegade with all your might; give yourself to reading the books more than the saints are not used to, confess and communicate more often, with humility and sincerity talk about all these suggestions and temptations to your spiritual director, if you can; or at least with some soul deep faith and very prudent; It is certain that the Lord will deliver you from all the passions, if you continue these exercises faithfully.
But, tell me, it is not so drastically ingratitude breaks a friendship? I tell you: how beautiful the ingratitude that makes you acceptable to God! Philothea, it will not be ungrateful, but rather meritorious action in favor of your lover; because, by breaking your bonds, also will break his; and if, at the time, will not appreciate his happiness, he will do it soon and you will sing in thanksgiving: 0h Lord, thou hast broken my bonds, I will sacrifice a victim of praise and call upon thy holy Name.
Friendship requires an intense exchange between those who love each other: otherwise cannot be born, let alone maintain. That's why it often happens that to trade that are at the basis of friendship, will be compounded many others that creep imperceptibly from heart to heart: and so the affections, trends and opinions pass continuously from one to another.
This affection especially when you add the estimate; In this case, we open our hearts friend very wide so that, with it, come easily in us all its tendencies and his opinions, no matter whether they are good or bad. The bees that gather honey of Heraclea seek only honey, but with it also suck the qualities poisonous aconite on which they collect.
In this regard, Philothea, you have to put into practice the word of the Savior of our souls used to say, and that the ancients have taught us: Be proficient changer, beat good money; i.e., do not accept the counterfeit money with the good, or the low gold alloy with gold; separating the precious metal from the vile. Attention because no one is free from imperfections.
And what reason is there to receive bulk defects and imperfections of his friend along with his friendship? It’s clear that we must love him despite his imperfections, but do not want good for its imperfections and take upon us; Friendship requires that we communicate the good, not evil. A likeness of those who're doing the gravel from Taro and separate the gold you are to take him away, and leave the rest on the bank of the river, those who communicate with the friend must be able to separate the sand of imperfections and not let it penetrate their souls.
St. Gregory Nazianzen tells us that many who loved and admired St. Basil, were so brought to its imitation, which also mimicking in its outward imperfections, in his way of speaking slowly and thoughtfully with the spirit and intent, cutting the beard and the way you walk. We see husbands, wives, children, friends, who have so much respect for their friends, their fathers, their husbands, their wives, and for condescension or imitation, take from them, along with friendship, a thousand small evil tendencies.
This must not happen: everyone has had enough of their own shortcomings without the need to also be charged with those of others; I add that friendship not only it does not require it, but on the contrary, obliges us to give us each a hand to deliver us from all forms of imperfection. And no doubt that you have to put gently his friend in his imperfections, but should not encourage in them, let alone transfer them to us.
I speak only of imperfections; concerning sins should not accept and endure even in his friend. Let Die friendship that the friend without paying for help, friendship is weak and poor; see a friend who died of an abscess and not have the courage to give the coup de scalpel to save it, is not friendship.
True friendship and life does not survive among sins. It is said that where lies the salamander extinguishes fire; sin destroys the friendship in which lurks: whether it is a passing sin, the friendship puts it immediately on the run with the correction; but if there is, and you stop, the friendship perishes immediately, because to live in need of virtue; from here it is very clear that it is not possible to sin for friendship.
The friend becomes an enemy when he wants to lead us to sin and deserves to lose the friendship if he wants to lead his friend to ruin and damnation; one of the most solid evidence of false friendship is to see it practiced among vicious people, whatever kind of sin they have in common. If those to whom we love are prey to vice, our friendship is definitely vicious; since it may not have the basis for a solid and sincere virtue, it is clear that it is based on an apparent virtues or some sensual aspect.
A company formed between traders for the temporal profit has only the appearance of true friendship. It did not end the love of the people, but the love of money. Finally here we are two maxims, fundamental pillars of Christian life; one is the Sage: He who fears God will meet a good friendship; the other is the S. Giacomo: The friendship of this world is the enemy of God.