The Happiness Diary (excerpts) – Fr. Nicolae Steinhardt

A friend is a person who helps you without placing a direct object of time, place, or manner after the verb.

It is not the political or economic system that is decisive, but the tone of the relations among people; whether goodwill reigns, or threat — the rest doesn’t matter.

The liberation event is nigh and may happen any moment now.

In my small prison cell in Zarca, I kneel down and make an inventory of myself.
I entered prison as a blind man, who used to have some vague, self-produced glimpses in the dark, which split through it without clearing it up – and I am coming out with my eyes wide open.

I went in as a spoilt, pampered person.
I am coming out healed of all whims, airs, and fastidiousness.

I went in unhappy.
I come out knowing happiness.

I went in as a grumpy, irritable, fussy person.
I come out with no care for it all.

The sun and life didn’t use to tell me much.
Today, I know how to enjoy the smallest slice of bread.

I come out admiring courage, dignity, honour, and heroism more than anything else.

I come out feeling at peace. At peace with the ones I have wronged – friends and enemies – and even with myself.

Anyone can do evil, no matter how weak s/he can be. The good, however, is for the strong souls and the tried natures.

As long as we do not come out of the “possible” realm, of our accountant-like thinking, we can neither conceive, nor claim Paradise.

No one should force his neighbour, not even to do him good. God Himself does not step in uninvited, either.

A Christian is one who neither lives in the past, nor in the future, but only in the present. The past does not burden them and the future does not worry them.

We want to be forgiven, yet we are not willing to forgive in our turn. We want people to give us attention and take into account all our rights, wishes, if not our whims, too; however, we take very superficial heed of the others’ needs, requests, and demands. We are in fact under the impression that everyone around us has obligations towards us and we do not have any, towards anyone. We are owed everything, everything we do is good and we are entitled to it, and we are always the ones who are always right.

Never more dizzying words have been uttered than:

I believe, Lord, help my unbelief”. Words which I think that if they were the only ones left from the whole Bible, they would be enough…

On the Cross, the Divinity joined humanity.

Rights without duties – it’s like wanting light without darkness. Right and duty – here is the best example of an invariable pair.

What Christianity offers us is not some miraculous way to escape sufferance, but the miraculous means to endure it.

Only God exists – everything else is mere hypothesis.

By giving the light that you do not have you will acquire it, too.

The only chance Eastern Christianity has is a war of words.

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