‘Compared to philosophers, saints know nothing. Yet they know everything. Compared to Aristotle, any saint is an illiterate. What makes us then believe we might learn more from the latter? Because all the philosophers put together are not worth a single saint. Philosophy has no answers. Compared to philosophy, saintliness is an exact science. It gives us precise answers to questions that philosophers do not dare even consider. Its method is suffering and its goal is God.
God nestles in spiritual voids. He covets inner deserts, for God, like an illness, incubates at the point of least resistance…Saints, criminals and paupers have launched him, making him available to all unhappy people.
The church was wrong to canonize so few women saints. Its misogyny and stinginess makes me want to be more generous. Any woman who sheds tears for love in loneliness is a saint. The church has never understood that saintly women are made of God’s tears.
In the world of feeling, tears are the only criterion of truth.’
Emil Cioran, Tears and Saints, translated by Ilinca Zarifopol Johnston.
‘When he is sorrowful, a man becomes a Christian. When happy, he is a pagan. All this goes back through the ages, to the very beginning of time…How can we weep before the ancient gods?…It is impossible to say to Jupiter: “Grant me solace.” But when great sorrow fell over mankind: “Grant me solace” – Christ appeared…“Grant us solace! Protect us! Save us!” In the suffering of mankind there is something more significant, darker, deeper, more terrible, more portentous, but without doubt it is deeper than any joy…“I want a miracle, O God, give me a miracle!” This cry is Christ.
He is revealed only in tears. The one who never weeps never sees Christ. But the one who weeps will not fail to see Him.
Christ – He is the tears of mankind, that once opened upon an amazing story, an amazing event.
Who solved the mystery of tears? Some people do not weep over any misfortune. Others weep over relatively small things. The soul of a woman rests on tears. A woman’s soul differs from a man’s. This world of tears –what is it then? It is female (to some extent), and it is suffering (also to some extent). It belongs to the eternal categories. And Christianity is eternal.
Christianity is gentler, more refined, and more profound than paganism. All the fertile “Abrahams” are not worth one weeping woman.’
Vasily Rozanov, extracts from Solitaria and Fallen Leaves.