By: St John Chrysostom
“A faithful friend is an elixir of life… A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter” (Ecc 6: 14,16).
For what would a genuine friend not do? What pleasure would he not create for us? What benefit? What safety?
Though you were to name a thousand treasures, there is nothing comparable to a real friend. First let us say how much pleasure friendship brings. A friend is bright with joy, and overflows when he sees his friend. He is united to him in a union having a certain ineffable pleasure of the soul. If he merely thinks of him, he rises and is carried upwards in his mind. I speak of genuine friends, who are of one accord, of those who would choose to die for their friends, of those who love warmly. Do not imagine that you can refute what I say with the example of those who love lightly, or who are ‘sharers of your table’, (Ecc 6:10), or with whom you have a nodding acquaintance. If any one has a friend such as I describe, he will understand my words; and, though he should see his friend every day, it is not often enough for him. He makes the same prayers for his friend as for himself. I know a certain man, who, when asking for the prayers of a holy man on behalf of his friend, asks him to pray first for the friend and then for himself.