The readings from last Sunday and the Homily on friendship sparked several questions and comments, so I decided
to post the little study sheet I made on this topic a few years ago. I hope it is helpful for creating Holy Friendships!
Compiled from the works of Jordan Aumann and Francis Fernandez
A precious help can be given by a suitable education in true friendship following the image of the bonds of fraternal affection which Christ himself lived on earth “Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary, and Lazarus.”(Jn 11:5) -Pastores Dabo Vobis #44.
The virtue of chastity blossoms in friendship. It shows the disciple how to follow and imitate him who has chosen us as his friends, who has given himself totally to us and allows us to participate in his divine estate. Chastity is a promise of immortality. Chastity is expressed notably in friendship with one’s neighbor. Whether it develops between persons of the same or opposite sex, friendship represents a great good for all. It leads to spiritual communion. (CCC 2347)
Holy friendship consists in:
-An alliance of souls who are united to do good.
“It creates a harmony of feelings and tastes which are quite distinct from sense-love. Rather it develops -the dedication of one friend to the other, to very high levels, even that of heroism. –Pope Paul VI.
-It does not deny the defects that exist in the friends.
-It enables them to have filial love toward each other in spite of shortcomings.
-It is not a sensual friendship.
-It is not sought solely for the good of oneself – “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”(Jn 15:13).
Advantages of Holy Friendships:
-Each friend gains a confidant to whom he can open the heart and receive advice and counsel when confronted with problems and doubts.
-Each will have a prudent and sympathetic corrector who will point out his defects and prevent many acts of imprudence.
-A friend will console in times of sorrow and will know how to select proper words and remedies in times of trial.
-It can be a powerful aid in the attainment of perfection. True friendship is a powerful stimulus to virtue, while sinful friendships can be destructive of the spiritual life.
Warning signs that a close friendship may be tending away from holiness and becoming sensual.
1. Secretiveness: Justifying secretive behavior, even hiding the friendship from superiors or directors.
2. Exclusiveness: Withdrawing from the company of others. Becoming upset when joined by a third party.
3. Possessiveness: Agitation at the absence of the other. Unduly prolonged conversations and visits. Jealousy.
4. Obsessiveness: Thinking of the other to the point of distraction in prayer and duties.