Image via WikipediaCatholic Renaissance humanist Juan Luis Vives (1492-1540), a friend of fellow Catholic humanists St. Thomas More and the scholar Erasmus, wrote many words of wisdom. Here are a few more, continuing from my immediately previous post on Vives:
373. Outward signs, which are the only things that the eye of man sees, are very weak and uncertain indicators of what is hidden within.
405. He who takes friendship out of life takes the sun out of the world. [This proverb and the next two are very Ciceronian; scroll down or search for my recent post on Cicero and friendship.]
406. But true, solid, and lasting friendship occurs only among the good, among whom the love of friendship easily arises.
407. The bad are neither friends among themselves nor with the good.
534. Avoid relations with bad people as if they were subject to the plague, for in both cases it is a matter of fearing contamination.
[For the source of the above aphorisms, see the immediately previous post. The above are my translations from the Spanish.]
Notice how true to the Gospel these aphorisms are. First, we are warned that not all that glitters is gold. As Jesus taught, be aware of whited sepulchers enclosing corruption.
The Ciceronian emphasis on friendship is also evangelical. In the Gospel, we see Jesus calling his close followers friends and treating them as such.
The counsel to avoid associating with bad individuals does not contradict Jesus' habit of associating with tax collectors and prostitutes. There is a tremendous difference between associating with those open to conversion, even if they have outwardly irreligious habits or lifestyles, and those closed to true conversion, some of whom parade the outward signs of piety and religion as false indicators of their true personalities.
There is also a major difference between an experienced and prudent adult seeking to affirmatively influence others for the better and a young, immature person being prematurely exposed to bad and dangerous influences. Families and especially fathers need to make sure that their children are not habitually exposed to people with seriously dysfunctional personalities. Period.
Young people deserve a lengthy period of safe incubation and formation distant from warped personalities so that young people can eventually become assertive, mature personalities that will in turn become, in their own good time, a positive influence on others. Families should not be in the business of providing vulnerable, easy targets for the warped and unscrupulous. This verse is appropriate:
6 v“Do not give wdogs what is holy, and do not throw your xpearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. (Matthew 7:6, ESV)