Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Chaste friendship...

You may distinguish between worldly friendship and that which is good and holy ...,  worldly friendship is profuse in honeyed words, passionate endearments, commendations of beauty and sensual charms, while true friendship speaks a simple honest language, lauding nothing save the Grace of God, its one and only foundation.

False friendship upsets the mind, makes its victim to totter in the ways of purity and devotion, inducing affected, mincing looks, sensual caresses, inordinate sighings, petty complaints of not being loved, slight but questionable familiarities, gallantries, embraces, and the like, which are sure precursors of evil; whereas true friendship is modest and straightforward in every glance, loving and pure in caresses, has no sighs save for Heaven, no complaints save that God is not loved sufficiently.

Wordly friendship confuses the judgment, so that men think themselves right while doing evil, and assume their excuses and pretexts to be valid reasoning. They fear the light and love darkness; but true friendship is clear-sighted, and hides nothing—rather seeks to be seen of good men. Lastly, false friendship turns to evil desires, upbraidings, slander, deceit, sorrow, confusion and jealousies, too often ending in downright sin; but pure friendship is always the same—modest, courteous and loving—knowing no change save an increasingly pure and perfect union, a type of the blessed friendships of Heaven.

When people indulge in looks, words or actions which they would not like to be seen by their parents, husbands/wives or confessors, it is a sure sign that they are damaging their conscience and their honour. Our Lady was troubled when the Angel appeared to her in human form, because she was alone, and he spoke to her with flattering although heavenly words. O Saviour of the world, if purity itself fears an Angel in human shape, how much more need that our impurity should fear men, although they take the likeness of an Angel, if they speak words of earthliness and sensuality. - Introduction to the Devout Life

I suspect this will be barely understandable to some who seem to feel the need to describe even the love of Christ as sensual and erotic...

Image:  Newman and St. John


  1. I kind of understand most of it, but a few questions ...

    If true friendship lauds nothing save the grace of God, does this mean we can only have true friendship with religious people?

    What are slight but questionable familiarities? What if you are just close friends with someone, so of course you're familiar? And coming from the South, surely embraces are not always "precursors to evil" ... that's how we say hello and goodbye.

    Finally, how the heck is anyone supposed to get married EVER, if there is not SOME process of growing romantic attachment to that person - whether "gallantries", which I assume mean things done to impress a member of the opposite sex, or if some affectionate behavior cannot be shown?

    I don't mean "stop short of sinning" but you get my drift, especially since any desire, albeit patiently held off until the proper time, would be sin, sin, sin, sin, sin, so if you have passionate feelings for each other you're probably sinning anyway.

    Now I get to go to bed assessing all of my friendships and finding that not one matches this perfection, so they are all probably not worth a crap.

    Thanks :)

  2. True friends are like gems that are hard to find. While false friends are like stones that is found anywhere.

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    top tourist destination in the Philippines

  3. Dear Mercury, Don't base your relationships on everything you read, especially on blogs. Cherish your friends.

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  5. "looks, words or actions which they would not like to be seen by their parents, husbands/wives or confessors"

    I presume he's talking here about friends that might become "friends with benefits". I'm sure none of your friendships would shame your parents.

  6. Terry, I appreciate your posts from the last week or so, as I have been giving it all very great thought, as I have been praying very hard for a man facing all those issues. Jesus is the One he seeks. I sincerely pray he finds Him, the best Friend anyone can have.


    St Francis de Sales is basically saying this: true friendship is based in purity of intention. It's a matter of getting one's own disposition rooted in God's will, first and foremost. Once that is established, then one's attitude towards others changes. Others are, then, no longer used for self-gratification or self-edification. IN other words, you no longer seek out the company of those who are superficial, or who will flatter you, or give you a jolt of excitement or sexual attraction, but rather, for the company of the other person's soul, and exchange of higher interests, whether religious or otherwise. True friendship is a free exchange of two people's real selves, without facades and walls, rooted in humility and respect for one another.

    And this goes for finding a mate as well. Sexual attraction is from God and part of what makes the world go round. Keeping it in its proper perspective is what takes a strength of character, which every man and woman can surely attain. Its proper use is to raise interest in a potential partner, a launching pad to getting to know the person better. It would be superficial to base the romantic relationship on sexual attraction alone.

  7. I think I agree with last point about describing the love of Christ as sensual and erotic, assuming I've understood you correctly. "Erotic" is the confusing word because I think you take it to mean something sexual or sexualized, in which case I agree. The confusion enters in because Pope Benedict in God Is Love spoke of the love that God has for us, in part, as Eros. But that love is love of desire and pursuit, and probably not at all what some may mean by trying to sexualized Christ and other forms of love like Chris West did with the TOTB.

  8. Whatever. I think my introduction of this thread is a bad idea. Talk amongst yourselves. I mean that with all good will and the best intentions BTW!

    Consumatum est - and all that.


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