Advice from Fr. Zosima

February 5, 2009

Another excerpt from The Brothers Karamazov, this time from an early section in which the local holy man, Fr. Zosima, offers counsel to a grieving woman:

If you do not attain happiness, always remember that you are on a good path, and try not to leave it.  Above all, avoid lies, all lies, especially the lie to yourself.  Keep watch on your own lie and examine it every hour, every minute.  And avoid contempt, both of others and of yourself: what seems bad to you in yourself is purified by the very fact that you have noticed it in yourself.  And avoid fear, though fear is simply the consequence of every lie.  Never be frightened at your own faintheartedness in attaining love, and meanwhile do not even be very frightened by your own bad acts.  I am sorry that I cannot say anything more comforting, for active love is a harsh and fearful thing compared with love in dreams.  Love in dreams thirsts for immediate action, quickly performed, and with everyone watching. Indeed, it will go as far as the giving even of one’s life, provided it does not take long but is soon over, as on stage, and everyone is looking on and praising.  Whereas active love is labor and perseverance, and for some people, perhaps, a whole science.  But I predict that even in that very moment when you see with horror that despite all your efforts, you not only have not come nearer your goal but seem to have gotten farthur from it, at that very moment — I predict this to you — you will suddenly reach your goal and will clearly behold over you the wonder-working power of the Lord, who all the while has been loving you, and all the while has been mysteriously guiding you.

Bk.II,4.

3 Responses to “Advice from Fr. Zosima”

  1. Christina A. Says:

    deep.

  2. Janet Says:

    Above all, avoid lies, all lies, especially the lie to yourself. Keep watch on your own lie and examine it every hour, every minute.

    I think if you could ever learn to recognize those lies, you probably wouldn’t need a holy man to give you advice.

    AMDG, Janet


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: