“Be in peace with many, but let one of a thousand be thy counsellor. If thou wouldst get a friend, try him before thou takest him, and do not credit him easily. For there is a friend for his own occasion, and he will not abide in the day of thy trouble. And there is a friend that turneth to enmity; and there is a friend that will disclose hatred and strife and reproaches. And there is a friend a companion at the table, and he will not abide in the day of distress.
A friend if he continue steadfast, shall be to thee as thyself, and shall act with confidence among them of thy household. If he humble himself before thee, and hide himself from thy face, thou shalt have unanimous friendship for good. Separate thyself from thy enemies, and take heed of thy friends. A faithful friend is a strong defence: and he that hath found him, hath found a treasure. Nothing can be compared to a faithful friend, and no weight of gold and silver is able to countervail the goodness of his fidelity. A faithful friend is the medicine of life and immortality: and they that fear the Lord, shall find him. He that feareth God, shall likewise have good friendship: because according to him shall his friend Eccles. 6:6 -17
“What a great favor God does to those He places in the company of good people!” – St. Teresa of Avila
“The highest grace does not lie in being without friendships, but in having no friendships which are not good, holy, and true.” (Introduction to the Devout Life: On Friendship – Evil & Frivolous Friendship)
Do you, my child, love every one with the pure love of charity, but have no friendship save with those whose intercourse is good and true, and the purer the bond which unites you so much higher will your friendship be.
If your intercourse is based on science it is praiseworthy, still more if it arises from a participation in goodness, prudence, justice and the like; but if the bond of your mutual liking be charity, devotion and Christian perfection, God knows how very precious a friendship it is!
Precious because it comes from God, because it tends to God, because God is the link that binds you, because it will last for ever in Him. Truly it is a blessed thing to love on earth as we hope to love in Heaven, and to begin that friendship here which is to endure for ever there. I am not now speaking of simple charity, a love due to all mankind, but of that spiritual friendship which binds souls together, leading them to share devotions and spiritual interests, so as to have but one mind between them.
Such as these may well cry out, “Behold, how good and joyful a thing it is, brethren, to dwell together in unity!” (1) Even so, for the “precious ointment” of devotion trickles continually from one heart to the other, so that truly we may say that to such friendship the Lord promises His Blessing and life for evermore.
To my mind all other friendship is but as a shadow with respect to this, its links mere fragile glass compared to the golden bond of true devotion. Do you form no other friendships. I say “form,” because you have no right to cast aside or neglect the natural bonds which draw you to relations, connexions, benefactors or neighbours.
My rules apply to those you deliberately choose to make. There are some who will tell you that you should avoid all special affection or friendship, as likely to engross the heart, distract the mind, excite jealousy, and what not. But they are confusing things. They have read in the works of saintly and devout writers that individual friendships and special intimacies are a great hindrance in the religious life, and therefore they suppose it to be the same with all the world, which is not at all the case.
Whereas in a well-regulated community every one’s aim is true devotion, there is no need for individual intercourse, which might exceed due limits;–in the world those who aim at a devout life require to be united one with another by a holy friendship, which excites, stimulates and encourages them in well-doing. Just as men traversing a plain have no need to hold one another up, as they have who are amid slippery mountain paths, so religious do not need the stay of individual friendships; but those who are living in the world require such for strength and comfort amid the difficulties which beset them.
In the world all have not one aim, one mind, and therefore we must take to us congenial friends, nor is there any undue partiality in such attachments, which are but as the separation of good from evil, the sheep from the goats, the bee from the drone–a necessary separation.
No one can deny that our Dear Lord loved S. John, Lazarus, Martha, Magdalene, with a specially tender friendship, since we are told so in Holy Scripture; and we know that S. Paul dearly loved S. Mark, S. Petronilla, as S. Paul Timothy and Thecla. (2) S. Gregory Nazianzen boasts continually of his friendship with the great S. Basil, of which he says: “It seemed as though with two bodies we had but one soul, and if we may not believe those who say that all things are in all else, at least one must affirm that we were two in one, and one in two –the only object that both had being to grow in holiness, and to mould our present life to our future hopes, thereby forsaking this mortal world before our death.” And S. Augustine says that S. Ambrose loved S. Monica by reason of her many virtues, and that she in return loved him as an Angel of God.
What need to affirm so unquestionable a fact! S. Jerome, S. Augustine, S. Gregory, S. Bernard, and all the most notable servants of God, have had special friendships, which in nowise hindered their perfection. S. Paul, in describing evil men, says that they were “without natural affection,” (3) i.e. without friendship. And S. Thomas, in common with other philosophers, acknowledges that friendship is a virtue, and he certainly means individual friendships, because he says that we cannot bestow perfect friendship on many persons.
So we see that the highest grace does not lie in being without friendships, but in having none which are not good, holy and true.
Take notice, my child, that the honey of Heraclyum, which is so poisonous, altogether resembles that which is wholesome, and there is great danger of mistaking one for the other, or of mixing them, for the virtue of one would not counteract the harmfulness of the other.
We must be on our guard not to be deceived in making friendships, especially between persons of the opposite sexes, for not unfrequently Satan deludes those who love one another. They may begin with a virtuous affection, but if discretion be lacking, frivolity will creep in, and then sensuality, till their love becomes carnal: even in spiritual love there is a danger if people are not on the watch, although it is not so easy to be deluded therein, inasmuch as the very purity and transparency of spiritual affection show Satan’s stains more promptly. Consequently, when he seeks to interpose, he does it stealthily, and strives to insinuate impurity almost imperceptibly.
You may distinguish between worldly friendship and that which is good and holy, just as one distinguishes that poisonous honey from what is good–it is sweeter to the taste than ordinary honey, owing to the aconite infused;– and so worldly friendship is profuse in honeyed words, passionate endearments, commendations of beauty and sensual charms, while true friendship speaks a simple honest language, lauding nought save the Grace of God, its one only foundation.
That strange honey causes giddiness; and so false friendship upsets the mind, makes its victim to totter in the ways of purity and devotion, inducing affected, mincing looks, sensual caresses, inordinate sighings, petty complaints of not being loved, slight but questionable familiarities, gallantries, embraces, and the like, which are sure precursors of evil; whereas true friendship is modest and straightforward in every glance, loving and pure in caresses, has no sighs save for Heaven, no complaints save that God is not loved sufficiently.
That honey confuses the sight, and worldly friendship confuses the judgment, so that men think themselves right while doing evil, and assume their excuses and pretexts to be valid reasoning. They fear the light and love darkness; but true friendship is clear-sighted, and hides nothing–rather seeks to be seen of good men.
Lastly, this poisonous honey leaves an exceeding bitter taste behind; and so false friendship turns to evil desires, upbraidings, slander, deceit, sorrow, confusion and jealousies, too often ending in downright sin; but pure friendship is always the same–modest, courteous and loving–knowing no change save an increasingly pure and perfect union, a type of the blessed friendships of Heaven.
When young people indulge in looks, words or actions which they would not like to be seen by their parents, husbands or confessors, it is a sure sign that they are damaging their conscience and their honour. Our Lady was troubled (1) when the Angel appeared to her in human form, because she was alone, and he spoke to her with flattering although heavenly words. O Saviour of the world, if purity itself fears an Angel in human shape, how much more need that our impurity should fear men, although they take the likeness of an Angel, if they speak words of earthliness and sensuality!
How are you to meet the swarm of foolish attachments, triflings, and undesirable inclinations which beset you?
By turning sharply away, and thoroughly renouncing such vanities, flying to the Saviour’s Cross, and clasping His Crown of thorns to your heart, so that these little foxes may not spoil your vines. (1) Beware of entering into any manner of treaty with the Enemy; do not delude yourself by listening to him while intending to reject him.
For God’s Sake, my daughter, be firm on all such occasions; the heart and ear are closely allied, and just as you would vainly seek to check the downward course of a mountain torrent, so difficult will you find it to keep the smooth words which enter in at the ear from finding their way down into the heart. Alcmeon says (what indeed Aristotle denies) that the goat breathes through its ears, not its nostrils. I know not whether this be so, but one thing I know, that our heart breathes through the ear, and that while it exhales its own thoughts through the mouth, it inhales those of others by the ear. Let us then carefully guard our ears against evil words which would speedily infect the heart.
Never hearken to any indiscreet conversation whatsoever–never mind if you seem rude and uncourteous in rejecting all such. Always bear in mind that you have dedicated your heart to God, and offered your love to Him; so that it were sacrilege to deprive Him of one particle thereof. Do you rather renew the offering continually by fresh resolutions, entrenching yourself therein as in a fortress;–cry out to God, He will succour you, and His Love will shelter you, so that all your love may be kept for Him only.
If unhappily you are already entangled in the nets of any unreal affection, truly it is hard to set you free! But place yourself before His
Divine Majesty, acknowledge the depth of your wretchedness, your weakness and vanity, and then with all the earnestness of purpose you can muster, arrest the budding evil, abjure your own empty promises, and renounce those you have received, and resolve with a firm, absolute will never again to indulge in any trifling or dallying with such matters.
If you can remove from the object of your unworthy affection, it is most desirable to do so. He who has been bitten by a viper cannot heal his wound in the presence of another suffering from the like injury, and so one bitten with a false fancy will not shake it off while near to his fellow-victim.
Change of scene is very helpful in quieting the excitement and restlessness of sorrow or love. S. Ambrose tells a story in his Second Book on Penitence, of a young man, who coming home after a long journey quite cured of a foolish attachment, met the unworthy object of his former passion, who stopped him, saying, “Do you not know me, I am still myself?” “That may be,” was the answer, “but I am not myself:”–so thoroughly and happily was he changed by absence. And S. Augustine tells us how, after the death of his dear friend, he soothed his grief by leaving Tagaste and going to Carthage.
But what is he to do, who cannot try this remedy? To such I would say, abstain from all private intercourse, all tender glances and smiles, and from every kind of communication which can feed the unholy flame. If it be necessary to speak at all, express clearly and tersely the eternal renunciation on which you have resolved.
I say unhesitatingly to whosoever has become entangled in any such worthless love affairs, Cut it short, break it off–do not play with it, or pretend to untie the knot; cut it through, tear it asunder. There must be no dallying with an attachment which is incompatible with the Love of God.
But, you ask, after I have thus burst the chains of my unholy bondage, will no traces remain, and shall I not still carry the scars on my feet–that is, in my wounded affections? Not so, my child, if you have attained a due abhorrence of the evil; in that case all you will feel is an exceeding horror of your unworthy affection, and all appertaining thereto; no thought will linger in your breast concerning it save a true love of God.
Or if, by reason of the imperfection of your repentance, any evil inclinations still hover round you, seek such a mental solitude as I have already described, retire into it as much as possible, and then by repeated efforts and ejaculations renounce your evil desires; abjure them heartily; read pious books more than is your wont; go more frequently to Confession and Communion; tell your director simply and humbly all that tempts and troubles you, if you can, or at all events take counsel with some faithful, wise friend. And never doubt but that God will set you free from all evil passions, if you are stedfast and devout on your part.
Perhaps you will say that it is unkind, ungrateful, thus pitilessly to break off a friendship. Surely it were a happy unkindness which is acceptable to God; but of a truth, my child, you are committing no unkindness, rather conferring a great benefit on the person you love, for you break his chains as well as your own, and although at the moment he may not appreciate his gain, he will do so by and by, and will join you in thanksgiving, “Thou, Lord, hast broken my bonds in sunder. I will offer to Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the Name of the Lord.” (2)
Friendship demands very close correspondence between those who love one another, otherwise it can never take root or continue. And together with the interchange of friendship, other things imperceptibly glide in, and a mutual giving and receiving of emotions and inclinations takes place; especially when we esteem the object of our love very highly, because then we so entirely open our heart to him, that his influence rules us altogether, whether for good or evil.
The bees which make that oriental honey of which I spoke, seek to gather nought save honey, but with it they suck up the poisonous juices of the aconite on which they light. So here, my child, we must bear in mind what our Saviour said about putting out our money to the exchangers; (1) we must seek to make a good exchange, not receiving bad money and good alike, and learning to distinguish that which is valuable from what is worthless, since scarcely any one is free from some imperfection, nor is there any reason why we should adopt all our friend’s faults as well as his friendship.
Of course we should love him notwithstanding his faults, but without loving those faults; true friendship implies an interchange of what is good, not what is evil. As men who drag the river Tagus sift the gold from its sands and throw the latter back upon the shore, so true friends should sift the sand of imperfections and reject it. S. Gregory
Nazianzen tells us how certain persons who loved and admired S. Basil were led to imitate even his external blemishes, his slow, abstracted manner of speaking, the cut of his beard, and his peculiar gait.
And so we see husbands and wives, children, friends, who, by reason of their great affection for one another, acquire–either accidentally or designedly–many foolish little ways and tricks peculiar to each. This ought not to be; for every one has enough imperfections of their own without adding those of anybody else, and friendship requires no such thing; on the contrary, it rather constrains us to help one another in getting rid of all sorts of imperfections. Of course we should bear with our friend’s infirmities, but we should not encourage them, much less copy them.
Of course I am speaking of imperfections only, for, as to sins, we must neither imitate or tolerate these in our friends. That is but a sorry friendship which would see a friend perish, and not try to save him; would watch him dying of an abscess without daring to handle the knife of correction which would save him.
True and living friendship cannot thrive amid sin. There is a tradition that the salamander extinguishes any fire into which it enters, and so sin destroys friendship. Friendship will banish a casual sin by brotherly correction, but if the sin be persistent, friendship dies out,–it can only live in a pure atmosphere.
Much less can true friendship ever lead any one into sin; our friend becomes an enemy if he seeks to do so, and deserves to lose our friendship, and there is no surer proof of the hollowness of friendship than its profession between evil-doers. If we love a vicious person, our friendship will be vicious too; it will be like those to whom it is given.
Those who draw together for mere temporal profit, have no right to call their union friendship; it is not for love of one another that they unite, but for love of gain.
There are two sayings in Holy Scripture on which all Christian friendship should be built: –that of the Wise Man, “Whoso feareth the Lord shall direct his friendship aright;” (2) and that of S. James, “The friendship of the world is enmity with God.” (3)
OF CONVERSATION AND SOLITUDE.
Seeking familiar conversations with others and avoiding them are two extremes equally blameworthy in devout people living in the world, whom we are now discussing. To shun all conversations savors of disdain, and contempt of our neighbor; and to be addicted to them is a mark of sloth and idleness. We must love our neighbor as ourselves, and to prove that we love him we must not fly his company; and to testify that we love ourselves we must remain with ourselves when we are alone by ourselves. “Think first of thyself,” says St. Bernard, “and then of others.” If, then, nothing obliges you to go abroad into company, or to receive company at home, remain with yourself, and entertain yourself with your own heart; but if company visits you, or any just cause invites you into company, go in God’s name, Philothea, and see your neighbor with a benevolent heart and a good intention.
We call those conversations evil which are held with an evil intention, or when the company is vicious, indiscreet, and dissolute; and must avoid them as bees shun wasps or hornets. For, as when persons are bitten by mad dogs, their perspiration, their breath, and their very spittle, become infectious, especially for children, and those of a tender complexion; so vicious and dissolute persons cannot be visited without the utmost hazard and danger, especially by those whose devotion is as yet young and tender.
There are some unprofitable conversations held merely to recreate and divert us from our serious occupations, to which we must not be too much addicted, although we may allow them to occupy the leisure destined for recreation. Other conversations have civility for their object, as in the case of mutual visits, and certain assemblies made to do honor to our neighbor. With respect to these, as we ought not to be superstitious in the practice of them, so neither must we be uncivil in contemning them, but modestly comply with our duty in their regard, so that we may equally avoid both ill-breeding and levity.
It remains for us to speak of the profitable conversation of devout and virtuous persons. To converse frequently, Philothea, with such persons will be to you of the utmost benefit. As the vine that is planted amongst olive trees produces oily grapes, which have the taste of olives, so the soul which is often in the company of virtuous people cannot but partake of their qualities. As drones cannot make honey without the assistance of the bees, so it is of great advantage to us in the exercise of devotion to converse with those that are devout.
In all conversations, sincerity, simplicity, meekness, and modesty should be preserved. There are some persons who make no gesture or motion without so much affectation as to trouble the company; and as he who cannot walk without counting his steps, or speak without singing, would be troublesome to the rest of mankind, so they who affect an artificial carriage, and do nothing without affectation, are very disagreeable in conversation, for in such persons there is always some kind of presumption. Let a moderate cheerfulness be ordinarily predominant in our conversation. St. Romuald and St. Anthony are highly commended, that, notwithstanding all their austerities, they had always both their countenance and their discourse adorned with joy, gayety, and courtesy. “Rejoice with them that rejoice.” [Rom. xii. 13] And again I say to you, with the Apostle, “Rejoice always, but in the Lord. Let your modesty be known to all men.” [Phil. iv. 4] To rejoice in our Lord, the subject of your joy must not only be lawful, but also decent; and this I say, because there are some things lawful, which yet are not decent; and, that your modesty may be known to all, keep yourself free from insolence, which is always reprehensible. To cause one of the company to fall down, to disfigure another’s face, are foolish and insolent merriments.
But, besides that mental solitude to which you may retreat, even amidst the greatest conversation, as I have hitherto observed, [P. ii. ch. 12], you ought also to love local and real solitude: not that you should go into the desert, as St. Mary of Egypt, St. Paul, St. Anthony, St. Arsenius, and the other ancient solitaries, did; but that you should remain for some time alone by yourself in your chamber or garden, or in some other place, where you may at leisure withdraw your spirit into your heart, and recreate your soul with pious meditations, holy thoughts, or spiritual reading. St. Gregory Nazianzen, speaking of himself, says, “I walked with myself about sunset, and passed the time upon the sea-shore; for I am accustomed to use this recreation to refresh myself, and to shake off a little my ordinary troubles; and afterwards he relates the pious reflections he made, which I have already mentioned. St. Austin relates, that often going into the chamber of St. Ambrose, who never denied entrance to any one, he found him reading, and that after having remained awhile, for fear of interrupting him, he departed again without speaking a word, thinking that the little time that remained to this great pastor for recreating his spirit, after the hurry of his various affairs, should not be taken from him. And when the apostles one day had told our Lord how they had preached, and how much they had done, he said to them, [Mark vi. 13]: “Come ye apart into a desert place, and rest a little.” – St. Francis de Sales
We are not faithful to God if we love His enemies. St. Thomas Aquinas
Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
I came to set a man at variance: Not that this was the end or design of the coming of our Saviour; but that his coming and his doctrine would have this effect, by reason of the obstinate resistance that many would make, and of their persecuting all such as should adhere to him.
And a man’ s enemies shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me. St. Matt. 10:32-38
To know whom to avoid is a great means of saving our souls. […] Thus, the Church forbids the faithful to communicate with those unbelievers who have forsaken the faith by corrupting it, such as heretics, or by renouncing it, such as apostates. St. Thomas Aquinas
There are some, you know, who are accustomed to go around with the Name on their lips while they indulge in certain practices at variance with It and an insult to God. You must shun these men as you would wild beasts: they are rabid dogs that bite in secret; you must beware of them! St. Ignatius of Antioch
Whoever is separated from the Church must be avoided and fled from; such a man is wrong-headed; he is a sinner and self-condemned. […] But if some of the leaders of schism persist in their blind and obstinate foolishness, and if advice for their own good fails to bring them back to the way of salvation, let the rest of you […] break away from their ensnaring falsehood. […] One must withdraw from those who are engaged in sin; rather, one must fly from them, lest by joining in their evil course and thus taking the wrong road, one should […] become involved in the same guilt oneself. St. Cyprian
It is an illusion to seek the company of sinners on the pretence of reforming them or of converting them; it is far more to be feared that they will spread their poison to us. St. Gregory Nazianzen
You help the ungodly, and you are joined in friendship with those who hate the Lord; and therefore you did indeed deserve the wrath of the Lord. II Paralipomenon 19:2
What fellowship does a holy man have with a dog? Ecclesiasticus 13:22
It is fitting, therefore, that you keep aloof from such persons. and neither in private nor in public speak to them. But flee from all abominable heresies and those who cause schism as the beginning of evils. For as many as are of Christ are also with the bishop, but as many as fall away from Christ embrace communion with the accursed, and shall be cut off along with them. […] Brethren, do not be deceived. If any man follows him who separates from the truth, he shall not inherit the kingdom of God; and if any man does not stay away from the preacher of falsehood, he shall be condemned to hell. […] If anyone walks according to a foreign doctrine, he is not of Christ nor a partaker of His passion. Have no fellowship with such a man, lest you perish along with him, even though he should be your father, your son, your brother, or a member of your family. St. Ignatius of Antioch
In respect to their guilt whereby they are opposed to God, all sinners are to be hated, even one’s father or mother or kindred, according to Luke 14:26. For it is our duty to hate in the sinner his being a sinner. St. Thomas Aquinas
If any man hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers and sisters […] he cannot be My disciple. St. Luke 14:26
If any man come to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house, nor say to him: “God speed you.” For he who says to him “God speed you” communicates with his wicked works. II John 1:10-11
If you will not return to the good path from which you have departed, we shall treat you as a stranger, and we shall separate from you; for it behooves us not to have any communication with one who has abandoned his God to please men and to secure for himself the perishable things of this life, which will cause him to perish everlastingly. St. James Intercisus
If you are friendly with someone who happens to fall into the temptation of fornication, offer him your hand, if you can, to deliver him from it. But if he falls into heresy, and you cannot persuade him to turn from it, separate yourself quickly from him, in case, should you delay, you might also be dragged down with him into the pit. Ven. Matoes the Abbot
If any man shall be friendly to those with whom the Roman Pontiff is not in communion, he is in complicity with those who want to destroy the Church of God; and, although he may seem to be with us in body, he is against us in mind and spirit, and is a much more dangerous enemy than those who are outside and are our avowed foes. Pope St. Clement I
Therefore, be ye not partakers with the children of unbelief. […] And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Ephesians 5:7,11
He who can never love Christ enough will never give up fighting against those who hate him. St. John Chysostom
The living God has charged me to declare unto you that He will punish those who will not avenge Him against His enemies. St. Bernard
Joined in friendship with those who hate the Lord, you truly deserve the wrath of God! II Paralipomenon 19:2
I pray God that some of us, as high as we seem to sit treading heretics under our feet like ants, that we live not to see the day we would gladly wish to be at league and composed with them, to let them have their churches quietly to themselves so that they would be content to let us have our quietly to ourselves. […] Upon conditions that all heresies were suppressed, I would wish that all my books were burned up and all my labour utterly lost. St. Thomas More
So great is my aversion for the company of heretics, or of conversation with them, that I say we ought not even go near them. St. Anthony the Abbot
St. Anthony the Abbot would not speak to a heretic, except to exhort him to the true faith; and he drove all heretics from his mountain, calling them venomous serpents. St. Athanasius
I was to either convert hypocrites to the way of salvation, or reject them and refrain from associating with them. St. Boniface
I entreat you to shun, whenever possible, the society of those who profess false doctrines. St. John Eudes
All our safeguards are of little avail against the ills that threaten us. Suffice it that we have the joy of belonging to the family of God. Bl. Charles the Good
Therefore, he, who would not continue as one with the brethren, having followed heretics, goes forth as an antichrist. St. Optatus of Milevis
One might properly and truly say that there is a Church of Evil-doers, that is, the assemblies of the heretics. […] For this reason, the true faith has already delivered to you, by way of safe-guard, the Article: “And One Holy Catholic Church” in order that you may fly from their meetings, and for the rest of your entire life to remain steadfast in the Holy Catholic Church. St. Cyril of Jerusalem
And we charge you, brethren, in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother walking disorderly and not according to the tradition which they have received from us. […] And if any man does not obey our word by this Epistle,. note that man, and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. II Thessalonians 3:6,14
Therefore, if by the sin of Judas, all the Apostles were put in danger, let us by this warning be on our guard against the unbelieving and against the traitor. […] And let us also drive such a person out of our little ship, so that […] while the Lord keeps watch no storm of iniquity shall strike us. St. Ambrose
But because you would not stay away from that wicked excommunicated person, you yourself shall die! St. Cedd of London
NO PEACE WITH WORLDLINGS
It is a blessing when such men break away from the Church: it prevents them preying upon the doves and sheep of Christ with their savage and poisonous influence. It is impossible to join and combine the bitter with the sweet, darkness with light, rain with fair weather, war with peace; nor sterility with fertility, aridity with springs of water, or a storm with a calm. St. Cyprian
Make no mistake, my brethren, they shall suffer everlasting punishment who endeavour to corrupt the Church of Christ. Whosoever sets at nought His doctrine shall go into Hell, and so shall everyone who listens to him. […] What communion does light have with darkness, or Christ with Belial? Or what portion does truth have with falsehood? Or unrighteousness with unrighteousness? Or true doctrine with that which is false? St. Ignatius of Antioch
There is no concord between the love of this world and the love of God; and he who will not separate himself from the children of this world shall not belong to the children of God. Pope St. Leo the Great
He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. St. Matthew 10:37
I should not think of any relatives other than the saints in Heaven. St. Phileas of Thmuis
For if faith be injured, let honour due to parents be lost as stale and tottering; let even the law of tender love towards children and brothers be silenced! St. Cyril of Alexandria
I beseech you, brethren, to mark those who make dissentions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned and to avoid them. Romans 16:17
The Church says: “Cast out heresies and their children; for heretics shall not be heirs with Catholics!” Why can they not be heirs? […] Have they not put on the Baptism of the Church? They do have Baptism […] by the same word and Sacrament in which you were born. But they will not come to the same inheritance of eternal life unless they return to the Catholic Church. St. Augustine
“Everyone knows that John himself, the Apostle of love, who seems to reveal in his Gospel the secrets of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and who never ceased to impress on the memories of his followers the new commandment ‘Love one another,’ altogether forbade any intercourse with those who professed a mutilated and corrupt form of Christ’s teaching: ‘If any man come to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him: God speed you.’ (II John 10).
OUR TRUE BROTHERHOOD
Above the brotherhood of humanity and fatherland, there is a brotherhood infinitely more sacred and precious, the brotherhood which makes us one in Christ, namely: our kinship in the Catholic Church, the Mystical Body of Christ Himself. Pope Pius XI
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9). The “peacemakers” are those who, keeping aloof from the scandal of dissention and discord, preserve the love of fraternal charity and the peace of the Church under the unity of the Catholic faith. […] For there is nothing so necessary to the servants of God and so salutary to the Church as to keep charity and to love peace, without which, as the Apostle says to the Hebrews, no man can see God. St. Chromatius
“The union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it” – Pope Pius XI