I acquired a leather-bound, pocket-size book with golden page borders from my great-grandmother Helen. It is called “The Catholic Girls Guide” and was edited by Rev. Francis X. Lasance in 1906. This gem has ideas that seem outdated by today’s standards, but I did enjoy the following passage on friendship.
“If you have to stand alone in an evil world, in the midst of dangers, temptations and snare, a good and true friendship will be highly desirable … You will more easily escape the perils of the world, you will more readily save your soul, if you are united to others in the bonds of pious and holy friendship, that so you may mutually warn, encourage and sustain one another, and stimulate one another to practice good works. True friends seek to promote the good and happiness of each other.”
I love the part about promoting good and happiness of each other and the notion of forming a pact against the evils of the world. The chapter continues:
“Be not hasty in forming close friendships, ‘but when you have found a friend,’ says a certain writer, ‘let neither death, nor misunderstanding, nor distance, nor doubt, nor anything else interrupt this friendship and vex your peace.’ Let their joys be your joys and their sorrows your sorrows.”
“A friend is one of the sweetest things that life can bring. A true friend is not only our comfort in sorrow, our help in adversity; he also recalls us to a sense of duty when we have forgotten ourselves, he inspires and encourages us to aim at high ideals, he takes loving heed of our health, our work, our plans and all that concerns us; he wants to make us good and happy.”
The book has devotions, free from actual bible verse, on all areas of woman’s life. While some modern feminists may take offense to the passages on marriage and vocation, some of collection’s wisdom is timeless, such as this exert on friendship.
My life is full with people who are beyond companions and really champions who want me to live a full and healthy life. I hope I return this sincerity in the friendships I hold. I post this today to encourage you to take assessment of those people in your life and hold them against this standard — you deserve people of this mindset in your life.
The passage ends with a short poem:
“Sweeter than the breath of spring,
Is the joy a friend can bring,
Who rejoices in your gladness,
And give solace in our sadness.”