Friends are among life’s greatest treasures. I thank God daily for my friends, both far and wide, seen and unseen, present or absent, still around and those long gone, friends who have become family, and more delighting family who are friends. Today, I remember them in a special way after going through the day’s First Reading.
St. Paul’s beautiful essay on Love is probably among the most quoted from his Letters, often used in wedding liturgies. But equally beautiful and moving is this reading from the Book of Wisdom about friendship.
Let your acquaintances be many,
but one in a thousand your confidant.
When you gain a friend, first test him,
and be not too ready to trust him.
For one sort is a friend when it suits him,
but he will not be with you in time of distress.
Another is a friend who becomes an enemy,
and tells of the quarrel to your shame.
Another is a friend, a boon companion,
who will not be with you when sorrow comes.
When things go well, he is your other self,
and lords it over your servants;
But if you are brought low, he turns against you
and avoids meeting you.
Keep away from your enemies;
be on your guard with your friends.
A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter;
he who finds one finds a treasure.
A faithful friend is beyond price,
no sum can balance his worth.
A faithful friend is a life-saving remedy,
such as he who fears God finds;
For he who fears God behaves accordingly,
and his friend will be like himself.