Forgiveness and Paradise – Dostoevsky

This small passage from Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, has always been among my favorites within literature. It is the story of the death of Markel, the brother of Zossima, who will later become a great monastic elder. The words of his brother Markel serve as something of a summary of the elder’s theology and among the most profound thoughts in literature. From the Life of the Elder Zossima …but the doctor arrived and…

The Pity of God in Dostoevsky

The following passage is scandalous in the extent of its mercy. It is not in the canons – but in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Perhaps I love it because many of the men I knew in my early life were more likeMarmaladov (the old drunk) than like others. But this passage has always been a favorite. Forgive me if I scandalize any by quoting Dostoevsky. God will scandalize us all when we finally behold…

Why I Believe in God – Part 2

In my earlier posting I wrote primarily about my personal journey as a Christian and why I am a believer rather than an atheist. In the course of my life I do not think atheism would have ever been a possible way to live – the questions of my life and heart would have been either silenced or bludgeoned into non-existence. But there are other aspects worth writing about. One has to…

The God Who Is Beautiful

Everything is beautiful in a person when he turns toward God, and everything is ugly when is is turned away from God. Fr. Pavel Florensky I come to the end of a day that has been filled with other activity and little time for writing. But in my reading at bedtime I came across the above quote. It obviously contains a world of truth, indeed, from a certain perspective it contains the…

Small Things, Great Hopes

On the surface it was not a world-shaking event. A friend of the parish loaned me a DVD last week. The DVD was a Russian DVD – with English subtitles. Again, not a world-shaking event. Thus, let me take a few minutes to explain why I felt the earth move. The movie in question is The Island, or Ostrov, to call it by its Russian name. It has won a number of…

Of One Substance

We are used to confessing that the Son of God is of “one substance” with the Father – meaning that the persons of the Holy Trinity are of one “essence” or “being.” It is also true, however, the all human beings are of “one substance” with all other human beings. That is to say there is only one human nature, essence or being, and that each of us as persons share in…

Thoughts on Dostoevsky

I have begun re-reading The Brothers Karamazov, this time in the translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, which, I am told is a great improvement over earlier efforts. I readily confess to being a great fan of Dostoevsky and easily touched by his novels. I find an occasional brilliance in them that reveals the world in greater clarity than I see almost anywhere else. I read the following today in the…