Tuesday, January 27, 2009

love - according to father zosima

i'm reading dostoevsky's 1880 masterwork the brothers karamazov. i've read parts of the novel before, but for months now it kept calling to me. i bought a copy at half price books, and i'm reading it now and it's blowing my mind. dostoevsky was a man who went to some of the darkest and most terrifying places a human being can travel emotionally and physically - and then he had a conversion experience and it wasn't cute; it was a mess; and it is transcendent and mystic and practical and earthy and real.
here's a quote from Father Zosima, an elderly church elder and healer overflowing with wisdom and peace in the midst of the chaos of the world. a woman has come for a blessing and she's overwrought with guilt and sadness. she confesses what to her seems to be something unconscionably bad that she's done. here's his response.
It's pretty much Jesus. get ready.

"Don't be afraid of anything, ever. And do not grieve. As long as your repentance does not weaken, God will forgive everything. There is not - there cannot be - a sin on earth that God will not forgive the truly sorry. Why, a man cannot commit a sin so great as to exhaust the infinite love of God. How could there be a sin that would surpass the love of God? Think only of repentance, all the time, and drive away all fear. Have faith that God loves you more than you can ever imagine. He loves you, sinful as you are and, indeed, because of your sin. It was said long ago that there is more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ten righteous men. God now, and fear nothing. Do not be offended if people treat you badly. Do not hold it against them. And forgive your departed husband all the harm he did to you. Become truly reconciled with him. For if you repent, you love, and if you love, you are with God. Love redeems and saves everything. ... Love is such an infinite treasure that it can buy the whole world and can redeem not only your sins, but the sins of all people. So go, and fear no more."

3 comments:

Ariele Danea said...

ah! dear dostoevsky. i was telling my dad the other day that for awhile now, the brothers karamazov has been my bible. i return to its pages often and always find something stunning and lovely. cheers.

journeyingrick said...

i was reading tbk again last night and as emily dickinson says i felt the top of my head come off.
it's a long book and i am enjoying every single word ...

Chris Gough said...

Amazing quote...I love this book and especially the sections where Zosima is speaking. thanks for posting this!