Love Freely Given

Father Cassilly observes: “Though friendship’s love is given free it must have a return of love or it cannot live. . . . It surrenders self, but it still lives in another, and so it comes to pass that in all literature a friend is styled another self, ‘an image of self,’ the other ‘half of one’s soul.’ . . . Diogenes defines friends as ‘one soul in two bodies’; and Shakespeare considers them to have ‘two seeming bodies, but one heart.’ Scripture sets its seal of approval on this manner of speaking, when it says that a steadfast friend ‘shall be to thee as thyself’ (Sir 6:11).”

“Being essentially a donation, friendship can never cease to give or at least to desire to give. Presents and tokens of some kind ever accompany it, and these are prized not for what they are, but because they are freighted with the fragrance of the heart which bestowed them.”

“The generous heart then must give, for it knows that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Not, indeed, that it calculates in its gratuities, or hopes for a return of the bread it casts upon the waters. Nay, self has no place in its thoughts; it gives from the mere joy of giving.”

“Amongst the possessions shared in by friends are joy and sorrow. It is a matter of everyday experience that the sympathy of another is a great solace in grief, while the one who has received joyful news wishes everyone to hear it.”

“A further possession most jealously guarded by men, double locked and bolted within the heart, are secrets. These we regard as sacred, almost as a part of our personality, and we dread to have them exposed to a cold and unsympathetic gaze. While concealing them so carefully, we have at the same time an almost irresistible inclination to disclose them to one we trust and confide in. They are like a hidden fire within, burning and consuming until they are released. And so when crushed under the burden of a secret too heavy to bear alone, we are bound perforce to ask another to help us carry it. A friend is the natural depository of such a disclosure, whence arises the common saying, ‘There are no secrets between friends.'”

Quotations from Francis Cassilly, A Story of Love, 2d ed. (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1917).

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