Musings on Friendship Using Scriptures

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Blessed John Henry Newman and his longtime friend, Fr. Ambrose St John, whom he wished to be buried with.

Friendship is described in the Oxford Dictionary as: The emotions or conduct of friends; the state of being friends: and A relationship between friends. While this is indeed a very helpful and accurate description of what friendship is, it does not show us the entire picture. It only describes what is seen by the eyes far away, and not the entirety of it. It gives us a basic idea of what is friendship, but it does not tell us what friendship comprises of and what makes friendship a friendship.

Friendship is a human necessity that although not essential for humans to live, is nonetheless a necessity in its own right. Humans are “social animals,” they say. I say that while humans are surely beyond any animal, for a human unlike an animal has an intellect and free will, it does gives us an idea of what humans are. They are simply not solitary beings, they interact, they socialize. Even the loner has friends from time to time. I personally am a loner. But surely I did have at least one, two, three, or four people that I would really consider as friends, and two of them are quite gracious human fellows. Indeed, Scripture says that: “It is better therefore that two should be together, than one: for they have the advantage of their society: If one fall he shall be supported by the other: woe to him that is alone, for when he falleth, he hath none to lift him up.” (Eccl. 4:9-10, DRB)

A friendship, I shall say is beyond the dry definitions of the dictionaries. It is something that is lived far beyond and explained far beyond than any dictionary. In the end, it is summed-up by our Lord Jesus Christ as this: “This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (Jn 15: 12-13, DRB). “That you love one another,” indeed. A very sublime commandment from our Lord and Savior, that we love. Yea, this is the form for friendship, as men who love each other as brothers or even in a sacrificial manner is the matter for friendship. Friendship is such, and the essence of friendship is based upon love that our Lord Himself has commanded us, that we lay our lives for our friends. This is the same thing that our Lord Himself has done for His own friends; he had outstretched his arms upon that cross, and died for His friends. In a way shall we be like that with regards to our friends; that we love them and charitably correct them when they err.

As with many good things, friendships can also be corrupted. Such is the case with friendships that are centered upon the pursuit of unholy pleasures and abominable activities. Woe to them, for as Scriptures say:He that walketh with the wise, shall be wise: a friend of fools shall become like to them.” (Proverbs 13:20). On the flip side however, friendship is and could be a beauteous thing, for as Sacred Scripture says:As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17).

So therefore we must choose our friends wisely, for friends may lead us either into the proper path or in the path of destruction or ruin. I shall close upon this passage: He that neglecteth a loss for the sake of a friend, is just: but the way of the wicked shall deceive them. (Proverbs 12:26)

 

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