In human life nothing holier can be desired, nothing more useful sought after, nothing is harder to find, nothing sweeter to experience, nothing more fruitful to possess than friendship. For it bears fruit both in this life and the next, showing forth all virtues in its sweetness and in its strength destroying vice. It softens the blows of adversity and moderates elation in prosperity. Without friendship there can be hardly any happiness among humans; they may well be compared to animals if they have no one to rejoice with them in good fortune or sympathize with them in sorrow, no one to whom they can unburden themselves in time of trouble, or with whom they can share some especially uplifting or inspiring insight.
Alas for anyone who is alone and has no one to lift him up when he falls. Without a friend one is indeed alone. But what joy it is, what security, what a delight to have someone to whom you dare to speak as to another self; to whom you are not afraid to admit that you have done something wrong, or shy of revealing some spiritual progress you have made; someone to whom you can entrust all the secrets of your heart and with whom you can share your plans.
(Spiritual Friendship: PL 195, 669-672.)
'The Christian religion is antithetical to every form of natural human kindness and goodness… ' oh… wait… what? … Never mind.
Aelred was a member of the Cistercian Order who later became abbot of Rievaulx and was noted for his theological and spiritual writings.
ST AUGUSTINE: The Beauty of Singing
Indeed, Lord, the days were not long enough as I found wonderful delight in meditating upon the depth of your design for the salvation of the human race. I wept at the beauty of your hymns, and I was powerfully moved at the sweet sound of your Church's singing. Those sounds flowed into my ears, and the truth streamed into my heart. My feeling of devotion overflowed, and the tears ran from my eyes, and I was happy in them.
-- Confessions 9, 6
Prayer. O Lord, my God, let my soul praise you that it may love you. Let it recount to you your mercies that it may praise you for them all.
-- Confessions 5, 1
ST FRANCIS DE SALES:
Soon we shall be in eternity, and then we shall see how very petty are the things of this earth and how inconsequential it is whether we are involved in them or not. Now we get all worked up as if they were terribly important! When we were small children, how carefully we collected pieces of wood, stone and such to build huts, and if someone knocked them down we cried; then we were all put out, but now we understand how unimportant these things were. We will feel the same way one day in Heaven, when we see that all our preoccupations in this world were nothing but childish concerns. Be faithful to your duties, but be convinced that there is nothing more worthy or more important than eternal salvation and the perfection of your soul.
(Letters 455; O. XIX, p. 22)
I AM not prepared to admit that there is, or can be, properly speaking, in the world anything that is too sacred to be known. That spiritual beauty and spiritual truth are in their nature communicable and that they should be communicated, is a principle which lies at the root of every conceivable religion. Christ was crucified upon a hill, and not in a cavern, and the word Gospel itself involves the same idea as the ordinary name of a daily paper. Whenever, therefore, a poet or any similar type of man can, or conceives that he can, make all men partakers in some splendid secret of his own heart, I can imagine nothing saner and nothing manlier than his course in doing so.