Of Aelred of Rievaulx

Now we see how friendship is to be cultivated. Because it is stable and constant, it must have at their base a mutual loyalty.

A report from cracked justified suspicions will never be solid.


Extract from the treaty on friendship Aelred of Rievaulx.
From friendship of spirits, III, 88-89.91. PL 195-692.

Faithfulness requires that friends are in their simple, communicative, condescending, motivated by similar interests. A complicated person and twisted cannot inspire confidence. And when there is no uniformity of purpose and affinity of ideal relationship it is ambiguous and unstable.

Look especially by the suspect, who is the poison of friendship: never think ill of his friend and not give credence to those who denigrate. Instead, politely speaking, the smile of the face, the gentleness of the stroke, the serene look, give friendship all the flavor. Certainly it looked austere, severe at times, will give a respectable gravity, but friendship must be less prim, freer, more affable, more sociable, but without falling into the light and into dissipation.

Never prefer a friend; but if you sometimes see more than him, do not hesitate to get smaller in his eyes, the confidence, cancels his awe. Know honor him at least so require his condition or his poverty.

The men would have a perfectly happy life, said a wise, if you left half the words "mine" and "yours." In fact, the holy poverty, holy because voluntary, confers a great spiritual friendship stability, while greed puts to death. Therefore, a relationship of friendship is preserved more easily if the mind is free from plague similar.

There are still other spiritual benefits in love thanks to which friends can assist one and help each other.

First of all have a mutual concern: feel joy or shame for each other and mutual will regret the mistakes made or the satisfaction of the progress made. Each of the two encourage each other when depressed, welcome it when it is not well, the consuls if sad, those costs be angry. It is so respectful of the look about him of never daring action or word dishonest or improper.

Since every mistake falls on the friend, each of the two not only do blushes and he inwardly sorry, but if it scolds as guilty if he has seen or heard in the other. As a result, each estimated to have about that friend who may not have for himself.

Finally, confidentiality is the best companion of friendship, so it loses most beautiful ornament is removed when the delicacy of discretion.

The friend will advise the good clearly and with clear and reassuring tone. But the friends should not only be offered warnings but, if necessary, reproaches.

There is truth to those who bother, much to generate aversions, according to the saying: "Compliments make friends, truth makes enemies." However, willingness to indulge in the sins of his friend is very serious thing, if you allow him to go to ruin. Therefore, one must above all blame the friend and rebuke him, if he despises the truth and slips worse under the pressure of cajoling and coaxing. This does not mean that we should exclude from our sweetness and caressing ways with friends.

Throughout it should retain the right fit admonishing without harshness and reproaches without offending.

We use pure kindness and compliments, but they are delicate, fair, loyal. They instead to ban the low flattery, accomplice to vice, not only unworthy of a friend, but the human person.

If you can close his ears to the truth to the point of not even listen to it from a friend's mouth, we can despair of his salvation.

Although the friend feels offended, you continue to correct it. Although the bitter wounds of the correction, you continue to correct it. The wounds of a friend are more intolerable kisses of flatterers.

Resume, then the friend when he's wrong. Above all, however, I hope they fix without irritation and without harshness, not to look like you're venting your anger instead of blaming the other. I met people that masks the inner hatred or boil of his anger with the name of zeal and boldness. Follow their gut reactions you have never helped anybody, rather it hurts a lot. Among friends this behavior is inexcusable.

We need to know how to sympathize with his friend, to understand its fragility, to consider the limits as if they were our own, correct it with humility and sympathy. The reprimand will be done with sad face, softly, mixing tears and words.

It is not enough that the other see: must feel that the correction comes affection and not by resentment. If he refuses the first reproach, perhaps he accepts the second. Meanwhile you pray, cry, shown plagued conservable and tender affection.

The friend will adapt friend to conform adequately to the character of him. Should, it, be near him in the external difficulties, but above all to help him in spiritual trials.

Because the fact of warning and be admonished connotes friendship, one will do it freely, but without bitterness; others accept it with patience and not of ill-will. Both will be convinced that the friendship worst cancer are flattery and affectations: the false and fickle attitudes people talking at him, not according to the real.

Therefore no ambiguity between friends, no pretense, because that is repugnant to friendship very much. To our dear we have to tell the truth, otherwise speak of friendship has no meaning.

But there is a concealment required which is to defer the punishment or reprimand according to the circumstances of place, time, people, without approving the lack inwardly. If a friend has missed in public, it should not be reprimanded immediately in front of everyone. Instead, it must pretend nothing has happened, in the moment, and even apologizing to blame than you can without offending the truth. For the well-deserved correction will expect a family gathering in private.

We must also know how to hide when the mood, taken from various things, is not capable of attention to what is said, or the heart is agitated and is a bit 'worried by the arrival of other reasons. When the turmoil has subsided, the admonition can find a more willing ear to accept.

Suppose a very powerful friend, able to promote to honors and dignity to anyone who wants to. It will give preference to those who loves and from which you loved? And among them favoring those who love most of all?

It is worth investigating how to go cultivated friendship in this respect. There are those who think they are not loved because they cannot be to advance in rank. They imagine themselves to be despised if they do not receive commissions and offices. We know that this gives rise to many disagreements among those who believed friends; dissent then follows the break, to break the curses.

In this field, we must above all follow reason, not sentiment. The honor and the burden of the charges should not be entrusted to those who are more friends, but who we see more apt to take them. However, for the same competence, not disapprove of that affection come a bit 'in the game.

Let no one think of not being loved, because it is not promoted to any dignity. The Lord chose in a sense, Peter and John, without taking away from John affection because he gave to Peter the primacy. To Peter entrusted the Church, John's mother loved her dearly. To Peter gave the keys of the Kingdom, John discovered the secrets of the heart.

I gave you an example - said the Lord - because as I have done, you should also do. Let's friend all the love, all the support, all the tenderness, all the charity. The positions of honor will be assigned to those who reason will have designated.


Might interest you