Would you like to know a person who never demanded anything
for himself from life and was always happy with his lot; who never worried
about his health ó but was always full of energy, was always vigorous even
nearly without any rest; didnít have riches yet gave away thousands; treated
the gravely ill without reference to any medicines; never sought glory but was
known to all the people; never sought any pleasures and was always joyous; who
always has peace in his heart, predisposition toward people, devoid of malice,
envy, animosity, feelings of umbrage: full of humility yet performs great
deeds; whose mind is lucid and whose heart is open to all; who lives his own
deep internal life and at the same time, full of active love for both those
close and distant to him?
Such was Saint John of Kronstadt, a contemporary
to the current older generation. From where did the Kronstadt pastor draw his
strength? Father John responds to this question a number of times in his diary
with one and the same expression: "The Lord is everything to me." Here
are his words:
"Whatever calms me both in thoughts and in my
heart, is submitted graphically into my memory for the
continual tranquillity of my heart, among lifeís concerns and bustle. So what
is it? That is the Christian, full of living trust and wonderful, calming power
of the statement: the Lord is everything to me. Here is the priceless treasure!
Here is a preciousness, with which one can be calm in any situation, with which
one can be rich in poverty, and with the acquisition of wealth ó generous, and
be affable with people; with which even after sinning, one doesnít lose hope.
The Lord is everything to me."
"The Lord is everything to me: He is the
strength of my heart and light of my mind; He directs my heart toward
everything that is good; He strengthens it; and He gives me righteous thoughts;
He is my tranquillity and joy; He is my faith, hope and love; He is my food, my
drink, my attire, He is my abode. Just as a mother is to an infant: the
willpower, sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch, and food, drink, attire, hands
and legs, ó so is the Lord all this for me, when I totally submit myself to
"The Lord is more perfect than all the
goodness, what I think, feel or do. O, how boundlessly wide is the Lordís
active grace within me! The Lord is everything to me, and so clear, so
constant. Mine ó is only my sinfulness, mine ó are only my sins.
"The Lord is my being, the Lord is the
deliverance from eternal death, the Lord is my eternal life, the Lord is the
cleansing and deliverance from many sins and is my enlightenment, the Lord is
the strength against my weaknesses, in my pusillanimity and despondency, the
Lord is the life-giving fire in my coldness, the Lord is the light in my
darkness, the serenity in my apprehensions, the Lord is the protector in my
temptations. He is my thoughts, my aspirations, my activity ó love and thank the Lord incessantly! Praise the Lord my
soul, and donít forget all His rewards that cleanse all your
iniquities, cure all your infirmities, endows you with kindness and
generosity, that fulfils all your good requests."
"The Lord is everything to us, and we by
ourselves can do very little."
This is the source of strength and happiness and
life that Saint John sees for himself, and which he is
pointing out to us.
"Here stands a living person before us: his
eyes are focused on us, his ears alert and listening; before us is his body and
soul, which we see his body but not his soul. Meanwhile, while we do not see
his thoughts, his desires, intentions, there isnít an instant that his soul was
not thinking and living according to its lifestyle. In precisely the same
manner, there is a visible nature before, near and inside us, the whole
wonderful world of God; we see life in it everywhere, harmonious order,
activity ó yet we do not see the Cause of life and order, we donít see the
Artist. But in the meantime, He is there at all times and in every place, just
like the soul in a body, only not confined by it. There isnít a short moment in
which He, as the All-complete Spirit, All-wise, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, did
not think, didnít pour blessings and wisdom upon His creation. There is not
even a split-second when He doesnít apply His wisdom and omnipotence, because
God is a self-activator that is eternally producing. Therefore, in viewing the
world, note its Source ó God, as being everywhere in it, as the fulfiller,
activator and arranger of everything."
"Godís omnipresence is spatial and mental,
i.e. God is everywhere ó in relation to space and thought: wherever I go
physically or mentally, I will meet God and He will be before me
Arenít these magnificent words, uttered by Saint John, sufficient to convince the doubting mind?