Loving your neighbor

Is the Christian, by definition, a happy man?

Father Arsenie Boca used to say that a sad Christian is like a car riding with the lights turned off in the dark. Why did the father say something like that? Is it possible to be happy all the time? Is there by any chance joyfulness a state able to characterize the Christians of our time?

I’ll start by confessing a personal experience. While I was a teenager, and even during my university years, I was a rather introvert person, with a lot of bruises in my soul, which made me feel all the time insecure and too preoccupied by my inner state. I could point what I lacked, I wished for more, but I couldn’t do anything to pursue my dreams – and, above all, I was sad.

My biggest wish was to serve God, but I saw that my wish was so far away from being accomplished that I got disappointed again.

After a long time of waiting I was ordained as a priest and I started my mission in the parish I was assigned. But as a priest you always have cases where your help is needed, even though it could only mean some piece of advice or a few encouraging words.

What surprised me most was the fact that when I began to get preoccupied by others’ issues, I forgot of those I had myself. I forgot that until then I was sad, pensive, lacking any joy of life. I had to give others what I did not have, but which, in the same time, God had plenty. Through His power, the Christians relieved their souls and in the same time I was getting full of life.

Why did I tell you all this? Because the best solutions to get rid of personal problems, of the sadness and the hardships of life, is to give – to give what we don’t have (at start), but God has. In time, we will see that by helping others we help ourselves. Soothing others, God soothes us.

Does it seem hard to believe?

The man is made for love and communion. But sin and selfishness make us to retire in our own shells. We begin to feel immune at others’ problems and the sadness befalls us. But it is impossible to be sad or moody when you help someone, when you show love and compassion to another person. You don’t have the means to give? Just try, because whatever you do, you do it in the name of God, and He will complete what you lack, healing you.

The origin of joy is in God and when it’s us that ask Him on behalf of the people around us, we will be ourselves changed.

Just try and you will see…

(father Alexandru Nicodim)

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