Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday after Ash Wednesday

About Reading Through Lent

I am being driven forward
Into an unknown land.
The pass grows steeper,
The air colder and sharper.
A wind from my unknown goal
Stirs the strings
Of expectation.

Still the question:
Shall I ever get there?
There where life resounds,
A clear pure note
In the silence.
Dag Hammarskjöld

Alyosha did not step on the steps, but went down rapidly. His soul, overflowing with rapture, was craving freedom and unlimited space. The vault of heaven, studded with softly shining stars, stretched wide and vast over him. From the zenith to the horizon the Milky Way stretched its two arms dimly across the sky. The fresh, motionless, still night enfolded the earth. The white towers and golden domes of the cathedral gleamed against the sapphire sky...The silence of the earth seemed to merge into the silence of the heavens, the mystery of the earth came in contact with the mystery of the stars...Aloysha stood, gazed, and suddenly he threw himself down flat upon the earth.

He did not know why he was embracing it. He could not have explained to himself why he longed so irresistibly to kiss it, to kiss it all, but he kissed it, weeping, sobbing and drenching it with his tears, and vowed frenziedly to love it, to love it for ever and ever. Water the earth with the tears of your gladness and love those tears, it rang in his soul. What was he weeping over? Oh, he was weeping in his rapture even over those stars which were shining for him from the abyss of space and he was not ashamed of that ecstasy. It was though the threads from all those innumerable worlds of God met all at once in his soul, and it was trembling all over as it came in contact with other worlds. He wanted to forgive everyone and for everything, and to beg forgiveness - oh! not for himself, but for all and for everything, and others are begging for me, it echoed in his soul again. But with ever moment he felt clearly and almost palpably that something firm and immovable, like the firmament itself, was entering his soul A sort of idea was gaining an ascendancy over his mind - and that for the rest of his life, for ever and ever. He had fallen upon the earth a weak youth, but he rose from it a resolute fighter for the rest of his life, and he realized and felt it suddenly, at the very moment of his rapture. And never, never for the rest of his life could Alyosha forget that moment.
Fyodor Dostoyevesky, The Brothers Karamazov


  1. Wow ... and the picture interspersed between just totally blew my mind. Thank you : )

  2. What beautiful passages and picture! I am also reminded of the famous story within a story in Hesse's Demian about the youth who fell in love with a star, and died trying to embrace it. (ends with "Love must not entreat or demand. Love must have the strength to become certain within itself.")



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