Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Eve of the Exaltation

I'm still reading Brothers Karamozov. It's one of the most difficult works of fiction I've ever read. The first time I attempted it I was a know-it-all college kid, but I couldn't get through it, and the Orthodox references went way over my head. The second time I tried it Rose was a baby. When I got to the chapter entitled, "Rebellion." I couldn't continue. It was heart breaking. The third time, I got through that chapter but got bogged down in the next chapter called, "The Grand Inquisitor," and realized I wasn't as smart as I thought I was.

Now I'm further into the book than I've ever been. The chapter on Fr Zossima is painfully beautiful. I wanted to record something here:


It's the great mystery of human life that old grief passes gradually into quiet tender joy. The mild serenity of age takes the place of the riotous blood of youth. I bless the rising sun each day, and, as before, my heart sings to meet it, but now I love even more its setting, its long slanting rays and the soft tender gentle memories that come with them, the dear images from the whole of my long happy life--and over all the Divine Truth, softening, reconciling, forgiving! My life is ending, I know that well, but every day that is left for me I feel how my earthly life is in touch with a new infinite, unknown, but approaching life, the nearness of which sets my soul quivering with rapture, my mind glowing and my heart weeping with joy.
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