Thursday, October 21, 2010

Oh, Happiness!

One of my first-favorite passages of Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov comes at the end of Part 1. I love the joy and peace of it:

"... he laughed again ... softly and happily. He slowly put the note into the little envelope, crossed himself, and lay down. The confusion in his soul suddenly passed. 'Lord, have mercy on them all today, unhappy and stormy as they are, preserve and guide them. All ways are yours: save them according to your ways. You are love, you will send joy to all!' Alyosha murmured, crossing himself and falling into a serene sleep."

I was reminded of this passage as I listened to David Crowder* Band's "Oh, Happiness!" - a similar strain of meaning echoes in the lyrics, "Oh, happiness! There's grace enough for us and the whole human race."

Yesterday was one of those rare days where I spent the good part of it in joy. Peace and joy. Diapers, dishes, sweeping, feeding the baby - it was all joy, because God is. And he is love. I was perfectly at peace yesterday morning - I knew myself to be the worst of sinners and yet would have been happy in hell if I could retain one thing, simply knowing that God, who is love, was and is and will be forever. Nothing was needed beyond that knowing. I could rest there.

I am not a good man. But Glory to Jesus Christ! for God is good, and the lover of mankind.

Today is another day. Pray for me.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

With a Wrathful Soul

There is only love, and when love fails, life fails.

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell [that rage in our hearts, that in our weakness we feed]. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy.

I want to repost a quote from Dostoevsky simply because I need to be reminded of it this morning and every morning:

"See, here you have passed by a small child, passed by in anger, with a foul word, with a wrathful soul; you perhaps did not notice the child, but he saw you, and your unsightly and impious image has remained in his defenseless heart. You did not know it, but you may thereby have planted a bad seed in him, and it may grow, and all because you did not restrain yourself before the child, because you did not nurture in yourself a heedful, active love. Brothers, love is a teacher, but one must know how to acquire it, for it is difficult to acquire, it is dearly bought, by long work over a long time, for one ought to love not for a chance moment but for all time. Anyone, even a wicked man, can love by chance."

(Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. Trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2002. 319.)