Friendship is one of the soul's purest and greatest pleasures, but no matter how many friends you have, and how close you think you are to them, you probably aren't aware of the tremendous spiritual importance of true friendship — and of how crucial it is to keeping your head and your soul in our neo-pagan society.
Author Hugh Black argues that it's actually spiritually dangerous to let friendships remain on the superficial level that all too many people settle for nowadays — doing no more with their friends than going shopping or watching a football game together. He maintains that when you take friendship for granted and don't give it the care it deserves, you turn your back on a God-given source of spiritual vitality, joy, and comfort. But don't despair! Black shows you how to transform superficial friendships into soul-nourishing relationships, bringing them from shallowness and frivolity to a deep communion of mind and heart — a communion that will become for you (and for them) a means for spiritual growth.
Spiritual guidance for good friends — and for married couples, too
If you're married, you'll find here new ways to appreciate the gift God has given to you in your spouse. If you already enjoy the blessings of other mature and spiritually oriented friendships, you'll discover innumerable ways to make them richer, so that they'll approach the full, unbounded love that David had for Jonathan, that St. Francis de Sales had for St. Jane Frances de Chantal, and that Christian friends throughout the ages have enjoyed as they encounter the light of Christ that shines in the souls of other human beings.
Best of all, you'll learn how to seek friendship with God. As you discover the joys of this friendship that transcends death and as you enrich your friendships here on earth, you'll come to see how truly Black speaks when he says that "no one would care to live without friends, even if he had all other good things."
Among the many things you will learn in The Art of Being a Good Friend:
Black revels in the spiritual nature of true friendship while, at the same time, cautiously warning his readers that only friendship with God will ultimately satisfy their desires for true intimacy and tender affection. In order to prevent our friendships from dying due to neglect, we must pay attention to small details and learn to love our friend in big and little things alike--since life consists primarily of little things! This is a great God-centered book on friendship--its ups, downs, limitations, and joys.
This is not a primer on how to develop friendships in several easy steps. It is a book that genuinely speaks of the quality, intention, and benefit of friendship deeply rooted, and established in the love of God in Christ, who is the author and perfector of the divine friendship between God and man. Our earthly friendships point us to God, and our friendship with God teaches us how to love those we call our friends. Truly, in this context we can bring out the best in our friends and ourselves. An excellent read and I recommend highly it without reservation.
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