Saturday, March 27, 2010

The School of Love, March 27


WHAT do I mean by a friend?

I mean some­thing that is almost too much to be looked for in this world. I mean one whose nature is so large that it will understand and sympathise with all my myriad varied moods. I mean a man who, when he finds me mean and grovel­ling, will not despise me; when he sees me harsh and critical, will not condemn my hard­ness of heart; when I am cruel in judgment, or in word, or in action, will bear with me till I recover my senses; when I am proud, or vain, high-handed, or inflated with myself, will smile and endure knowing that this is only a passing whim; when I am ill-tempered, or peevish, or melancholy, will pity me and wait till the disease has run its course, and the colour of health has returned.

I mean by a friend one who will give as well as take. I mean one who, when he in turn is in trouble, will not hide it from me. I mean one who will not give me the everlasting feel­ing that the weakness is all mine, while he is in possession of unending peace and calm. I mean one who will trust me far enough to let me see his weakness as I let him see mine, knowing that I too will not misunderstand, or misinterpret, or become impatient, or con­demn, or turn upon my heel and walk no more with him, even as I know he will not do the like to me.

This is the other side of friend­ship harder to discover than the first; yet if one would be my friend, in the deep sense in which I understand it, he must give me this as I give the same to him; he must trust me thus far, even as I trust him; if he is only my patron, my protector, my guide, my model, my ideal, he may be very much to be loved and honoured, but he is not strictly my friend....

[continued tomorrow]
From The School of Love and Other Essays
by The Most Reverend Alban Goodier, S.J.
Burns, Oates, & Washburn, Ltd. 1918

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