October 2012 - Vol.  63

Cementing Friendship with Brotherly Love 
and Mutual Care
by John Chrysostom (347-407 AD)

We cannot be saved by seeking just our own individual salvation; we need to look first to the good of others.

 In warfare, the soldier who takes to flight to save his own skin brings disaster on himself as well as on the others, whereas the good soldier who takes up arms on behalf of his comrades saves his own life along with theirs. 

Our life is a warfare, the bitterest of battles. So in loyalty to our King let us draw up the lines of [spiritual] battle ready for blood and slaughter, with our eyes on the salvation of all, encouraging the stalwarts and stirring up the laggards.

Many of our brothers and sisters have fallen in this battle, wounded and covered with blood, with no one to care for them. There is no one to look after them, no layman, no priest, no comrade, no friend, no brother, because we are all of us seeking our own individual salvation, and thereby spoiling our chance of attaining it.

True freedom and glory come from not being concerned with ourselves. We are weak and vulnerable to the devil’s attacks because we are not doing this. We are not standing shoulder to shoulder in the fight. We are not fortified with the love of God. We are not using the shield of brotherly love. On the contrary, we are seeking friends and comrades from very different motives – either because of family ties, or from habit, or because we live nearby, instead of the search for sanctity.

All our friendships ought to be cemented with this one bond, the desire to help one another.

[Click here for a brief bio of John Chrysostom]

[Excerpt from Drinking from the Hidden Fountain: A Patristic Breviary, edited by Thomas Spidlik, translated by Paul Drake, Cistercian Publications, Kalamazoo, Michigan - Spencer, Massachusetts,1994. Original source from On the Gospel of St. Matthew, 59, 5 (PG58, 581).]
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