Which of the two is more capable of upholding and serving a great idea—the isolated rich man or one who is liberated from the tyranny of things and habits?

Let us preserve the image of Christ, that it may shine forth like a precious diamond to the whole world… So be it, so be it!

Verily, there is more dreamy fantasy  in them than in us. They hope to make a just order for themselves but, having rejected Christ, they will end by drenching the earth with blood, for  blood calls to blood, and he who draws the sword will perish by the sword. 

Love all of God’s creation, both the whole of it and every grain of sand. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love animals, love plants, love each thing. If you love each thing, you will perceive the mystery of God in things. Once you have perceived it, you will begin tirelessly to perceive more and more of it every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an entire, universal love. 

Love the animals: God gave them the rudiments of thought and an untroubled joy. Do not trouble it, do not torment them, do not take their joy from them, do not go against God’s purpose. Man, do not exalt yourself above the animals: they are sinless, and you, you with your grandeur, fester the earth by your appearance on it, and leave your festering trace behind you—alas, almost every one of us does! 

Love children especially, for they, too, are sinless, like angels, and live to bring us to tenderness and the purification of our hearts and as a sort of example for us. Woe to him who offends a child. I was taught to love little children by Father Anfim: during our wanderings, this dear and silent man used to spend the little half-kopecks given us as alms on gingerbreads and candies, and hand them out to them. He could not pass by children without his soul being shaken: such is the man.

One may stand perplexed before some thought, especially seeing men’s sin, asking oneself: “Shall I take it by force, or by humble love?” Always resolve to take it by humble love. If you so resolve once and for all, you will be able to overcome the whole world. A loving humility is a terrible power, the most powerful of all, nothing compares with it.

There is only one salvation for you: take yourself up, and make yourself responsible for all the sins of men. For indeed it is so, my friend, and the moment you make yourself sincerely responsible for everything and everyone, you will see at once that it is really so, that it is you who are guilty on behalf of all and for all.

Work tirelessly. If, as you are going to sleep at night, you remember: “I did not do what I ought to have done,” arise at once and do it.

If the wickedness of people arouses indignation and insurmountable grief in you, to the point that you desire to revenge yourself upon the wicked, fear that feeling most of all; go at once and seek torments for yourself, as if you yourself were guilty of their wickedness. Take these torments upon yourself and suffer them, and your heart will be eased, and you will understand that you, too, are guilty, for you might have shone to the wicked, even like the only sinless One, but you did not.

Your work is for the whole, your deed is for the future. Never seek a reward, for great is your reward on earth without that: your spiritual joy, which only the righteous obtain. 

Love to throw yourself down on the earth and kiss it. Kiss the earth and love it, tirelessly, insatiably, love all men, love all things, seek this rapture and ecstasy. Water the earth with the tears of your joy, and love those tears. 

–13 friends and I have been reading The Brothers Karamazov this year. This month we will discuss Books 11 and 12, and in August we will finish with the beautiful epilogue.

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