The Love of Friendship and the Virtue of Prudence – Catholicism.org

There is no way of grasping the concreteness of a man’s ethical decisions from outside. But no, there is a certain way, a single way; that is through the love of friendship. A friend, and a prudent friend, can help to shape a friend’s decision. He does so by virtue of that love which makes the fiend’s problem his own, the friend’s ego his own (so that after all it is not entirely ‘from outside’). For by virtue of that oneness which love can establish he is able to visualize the concrete situation calling for decision, visualize it, from, as it were, the actual center of responsibility, Therefore it is possible for a friend — only for a friend and only for a prudent friend — to help with counsel and direction to shape a friend’s decision or, somewhat in the manner of a judge, help to reshape it. Such genuine and prudent loving friendship (amor amicitiae) — which has nothing in common with sentimental intimacy, and indeed is rather imperiled by such intimacy — is the sine qua non for genuine spiritual guidance. For only this empowers another to offer the kind of direction which — almost! — conforms to the concrete situation in which the decision must be made.

The Love of Friendship and the Virtue of Prudence – Catholicism.org

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