Friendship with Brotherly Love
John Chrysostom (347-407
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
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.
for a brief bio of John Chrysostom]
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).]