Who interests himself for the soul of his friend?
We take an interest in his success, in his fortune.
We pray to God to keep him from misfortune and failure.
We seek to procure for him a position in the world – to make him esteemed; we try to obtain for him everything that we think may be agreeable to him.
We sacrifice our own repose and the well-being we might enjoy in order to spare him trouble.
Oh! all this is beautiful, very beautiful; but what have we done directly for the soul of this friend?
What are we doing for our friend’s soul?
Let us beseech God every day to make that soul humble, pure and indefatigable in performing his duties.
With the same delicacy that we would place some pleasure in his path, let us procure for it a pious book which will really do it good; let us furnish it with some occasion of gaining merit by proposing an alms to it, and also, without its knowledge, some opportunity for an act of self-denial or of slight humiliation.
Have we the courage to refrain from shielding it from a trial that we know will be good for it? It is hard, you say.
Ah! you do not know what friendship is. Does not God love us? God, nevertheless, permits us to suffer. He does more: He sends suffering on us.
Friendship is the union of souls, not for enjoyment, but for mutual perfection and advancement towards God, and in proportion as we advance we feel the happiness of loving one another.
The spirit of friendship is not tenderness, but strength, devotion, tact, purity, self-denial.
What deceives us in the nature of friendship is that we desire more to be loved than to love.
What makes us cowardly is the fear of being loved less. Let us not forget that “a selfish heart likes to be loved; a Christian heart desires to love… even without return.”
– From: Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889