Friendship (part 2)

From a friend we may both ask a favor, and receive one without  suspicion. When they enjoin anything upon us, then we feel indebted to  them, but when they are slow to do this, then we are sorrowful. We have nothing which is not theirs. Often despising all things here, on their account we are not willing to depart from here; and they are more longed for by us than the light… And do not wonder: for it would be better for us were the sun to be extinguished, than that we should be deprived of friends, better to live in darkness, than to be without friends…  I speak of spiritual friends, who prefer nothing to friendship. Such was Paul, who would willingly have given his soul, even though not asked; more, he would have plunged into hell for them. With so ardent a disposition ought we to love …

But consider, in the time of the Apostles, I do not speak of the chief  men, but of the believers themselves generally, ‘all,’ he says, ‘were of one heart and soul: and neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own …and they distributed to each, as anyone had need’ (Acts 4:32,35). There were then no such words as ‘mine’ and ‘yours.’ This is friendship, that a man should not consider his goods his own, but his neighbour’s, that his possessions belong to another; that he should be as careful of his friend’s soul, as of his own, and the friend likewise. And where is it possible, somebody says, that such a one should be found? Because we have not the will, for it is possible. If it were not possible, neither would Christ have commanded it; he would not have discoursed so much concerning love. A great thing is friendship, and how great, no one can learn, and no discourse represent, but experience itself…

St. John Chrysostom. Homily 11 on I Thessalonians I. B#57, pp. 329-332.
The Bible and the Holy Fathers, pp.481-482

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