Thought for the Day – 16 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Forget the series of useless and often academic questions which the philosophers asked concerning the nature of friendship.
Cicero’s definition, however, is worth recording because it is not far from the Christian concept of friendship.
Friends, he says, are those who are united by a bond of affection and of agreement in matters of spiritual and human importance.
True friendship is the result of a mysterious and mutual attraction between two persons, who grow to know, respect and love one another (De Amicitia VI).
Thus, friendship would be fleeting and even dangerous, if it were nourished by the body rather than by the soul.
The soul is eternal.
Therefore, its love is lasting and passes on into eternity.
The body, like the flowers in the fields, is pleasing for a while, then fades and dies.
St Augustine tells us, in his Confessions that he was passionately attached to a young man of his own age, who was blooming with the flower of adolescence.
But he adds, immediately, that this was not a genuine friendship because it did not spring from the charity which the Spirit of God pours into our hearts (Confessions IV, 4:7).
These so-called, particular friendships, should be avoided as dangerous and contrary to Christian teaching.”