Wednesday, May 18, 2005

spiritual guide

The elder doubt struck Alyosha by some special quality of his soul....Many said of the elder Zosima that, having for so many years received all those who came to him to open their hearts, thirsting for advice and for a healing word, having taken into his soul so many confessions, sorrows, confidences, he acquired in the end such fine discernment that he could tell, from the first glance at a visiting stranger's face, what was in his mind, what he needed, and even what kind of suffering tormented his conscience; and he sometimes astonished, perplexed, and almost frightened the visitor by his knowledge of his secret even before he had spoken a word. But at the same time, Alyosha almost always noticed that many people, nearly everyone, who came to the elder for the first time for a private talk, would enter in fear and anxiety and almost always come out bright and joyful, and that the gloomiest face would be transformed into a happy one. Alyosha was remarkably struck by the fact that the elder was not at all stern; that, on the contrary, he was almost always cheerful in manner. The monks used to say of him that he was attached in his soul precisely to those who were the more sinful, and that he who was most sinful the elder loved most of all.

Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, 1.1.5


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6:58 PM  

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