Chapter 8 – Friendship and Undue Intimacy
Friendship and Undue Intimacy
VIII Friendship and undue Intimacy (click to download pdf)
“He that feareth God shall likewise have good friendships: because, according to him shall his friend be.” How true are these words of Holy Scripture, and how worthy of our consideration!
My child, if you look about you in the world, and observe only a little the ways and doings of men, you will see much that one might think is friendship. Experience, however, teaches that of this so-called friendship only a small part is real and true. The greater portion is nothing more than a fine outside dress, often put on to hide the baseness of a false inside.
Two men happen to meet, some day, on the street. They are so glad to see each other; they shake hands; they talk so friendly, and are so polite; they laugh and make fun, talk about their families, their business, and what not. When they leave, they shake hands again, and “hope to see each other again soon; and you must not forget to visit sometimes,” and so on. You know, and can see every day for yourself, how such business is carried on.
Now, what do you think? These two men are the best, most intimate friends, are they not? It would seem so. But you are mistaken: they are not. Hardly have they parted, when one says: “Why in the world did I just have to meet him?” and the other says: “Well, if he isn’t a bore! I shall not forget to visit him sometimes.” Do you see? Of such friendship there is plenty in the world.
Yet, to have a true friend is to possess a great treasure. “A faithful friend,” says the Wise Man, “is a strong defense; and he that hath found him, hath found a treasure.” My little follower of Jesus, it is not wrong for you to have such a friend, or more than one—many, if you can find them. On the contrary, it will be very good for you. A true friend will ever be a great help for you in the work of your life—the following of Jesus. What must you do to find one?
First, begin with yourself. Let it always be your first and main endeavor to have God for you friend. Always have Him before your eyes; ever walk carefully in His presence. Never let yourself be led into mortal sin: that would be losing or casting from you your greatest blessing, God’s love and friendship. Fear your Creator all the days of your life. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,’ says the Psalmist.
Also, you must not forget to cultivate a most intimate friendship with your holy guardian angel, with your patron saint, with your Mother, the Blessed Virgin, and with those other saints for whom you have a special regard. Often think of them. Pray to them every day.
Secondly, guard yourself against the false friendship of the world. Avoid the company of bad men. “Evil communications corrupt good manners,” says St. Paul. You cannot have Jesus for your friend if you wish to be a friend of the world.
If you fear God, and try to keep yourself from sin, it will not be hard for you to find good friends. They will find you, or you will find them, without seeking one another. It is with these friends as it is in general. “Like loves like,’ according to the proverb.
It is not good to be altogether intimate with even your good friends on earth. You should be closely intimate with God and your other heavenly friends. But with men on earth it is not good to be too friendly. “Be in peace with many,’ says the Holy Ghost, “but let one of a thousand be thy counsellor.’ It is best to reveal the secrets of your soul only to one human being on earth—the priest, our spiritual father and confessor.
Here is a passage from The Following of Christ for every little follower of Jesus to consider: “Sometimes we think to please others with our company; and we begin rather to be displeasing to them from the bad qualities they discover in us.”