Of True Friendship
St. Francis De Sales
I bid you love everyone with the love of charity, but have no friendship except with those who can share virtuous love with you. What a good thing it is to love on earth as we shall love in heaven, and learn to cherish one another here as we shall do for ever more.
I am not now talking of the mere love which extends to everyone, but of the spiritual friendship by which two or more share in each other's devotion and spiritual affections, making them of one mind. Such may well say, 'Behold how good and joyful a thing it is to live together in unity.'
Do not form any other friendships. I say FORM because you must not forsake or despise those friendships to which you are called by duty among relatives, those connected with you, benefactors and neighbors. I am only speaking of those you select yourself.
Some say it is better to have no special friendships or attachments, that they engross the heart, distract the mind and foster jealousies. But they are mistaken. They have read that individual and excessive friendships are hurtful in religious life, and imagine it to be the same for the rest of the world, but it is not so. In the world it is necessary to be bound together in friendship, to stimulate each other in doing good.