A simple, yet profound question I received from a friend in Romania. A world apart, yet don’t we all search for love that is real and pure, and someone to share it with.

Q: What is the best way to show love to someone?

A: Love is best shown through humility and service.

Q: And to someone that doesn’t accept our love?

A: The same. True love is patient and will continue in humility and service regardless of the reception. Of course, that might mean we love in silence, praying for that person, practicing the deepest humility.

Q: Can you tell me some titles of books that changed your life?

A: “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankel

Despair equals Suffering without Meaning: an equation for life and mental health from Viktor Frankel’s powerhouse book. Life ends in death and our quest on the journey from birth to passage of life should be one of meaning. This book taught me that whatever our circumstances, we always have a choice to live with meaning and purpose.

From the book:

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.”

“People of The Lie” by Scott Peck

No book I’ve ever read better describes the spiritual condition of modern mankind. So few people live in truth, so many succumb to the lies of selfishness and insatiable desires that work to cloud our humanity and empathy for one another. As dark as this book can get, it leaves one with hope that we can impact the spiritual condition of ourselves and others.

From the book:

“When I say that evil has to do with killing, I do not mean to restrict myself to corporeal murder. Evil is that which kills spirit. There are various essential attributes of life — particularly human life — such as sentience, mobility, awareness, growth, autonomy, will. It is possible to kill or attempt to kill one of these attributes without actually destroying the body. Thus we may “break” a horse or even a child without harming a hair on its head.”

“The Philokalia” collected saying by St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain and St. Makarios of Corinth

This taught me the deepest workings of the human spirit and mind. It opened my eyes to the journey that is faith and the broad pool of wisdom offered by the earliest holy fathers who lived away from the world in the desert, both literally and figuratively.

“If we make every effort to avoid death of the body, still more should it be our endeavor to avoid death of the soul. There is no obstacle for a man who wants to be saved other than negligence and laziness of soul.”

“Do not claim to have acquired virtue unless you have suffered affliction, for without affliction virtue has not been tested.”

“Let all involuntary suffering teach you to remember God, and you will not lack occasion for repentance.”

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