Saturday, June 28, 2014

Words from Dostoyevsky

I'm almost done with The Brothers Karamozov. I'd forgotten how good it is. Here are a few passages that made it into my Commonplace book.
 The Brothers Karamozov

Words from Part I:

The more I love humanity in general, the less I love man in particular.

... love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams. love is labor and fortitude, and for some people too, perhaps, a complete science.  

Words from Part II:
Remember particularly that you cannot be a judge of anyone. For no one can judge a criminal, until he recognizes that he is just such a criminal as the man standing before him, and that he perhaps is more than all men to blame for that crime. 

 If I had been righteous myself, perhaps there would have been no criminal standing before me.

For how can a man shake off his habits, what can become of him if he is in such bondage to the habit of satisfying the innumerable desires he has created for himself?  

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Glory to God...

... for the rhythmic act of kneading bread.

... for warm sourdough, fresh from the oven, with a nice hard crust and soft middle. 

... for a small bouquet of clover buds sitting on the windowsill above my sink.

... for a fresh breeze that blows the scent of that bouquet to me as I wash dishes. 

... for the way the same breeze blows my sheets full while they dry on the line. 

... for Euclid and his clearness of mind. 

... for the opportunity to study Euclid. 

... for beautiful words. 

... for friends who are honest enough not to sugarcoat the truth. 

Glory to God for all things! 

(I would like to try to keep a record of the small things that bring me joy and show God's goodness in my life. I would love it if you would join me in the comments and share the small things that bring joy to your own life!)

Monday, June 9, 2014

This Moment: Living in Eternity

I read this blog post today. It spoke of how we see through both the mind and the heart. Some of us (perhaps most of us) see our lives and those around us mostly through the mind. We analyze and criticize; we use logic and reason to assess and evaluate; we try to fix our problems by applying the "right" actions. We plan and plot and generally try our best to control the future. In the post, Fr. Stephen points out that

 ... seeing only through the mind’s eye, our vision lacks depth. We fail to see beauty and perceive the importance of the moment and its irreplaceable value. 
This moment, right now, is the only one that I can ever do anything about. I cannot change the past and I cannot see the future. My mistakes and failings cannot be erased, nor can my successes and achievements be undone. It's a funny thing, time. We live in the past and present and future all at once somehow and yet we can only act right now. Therefore this moment is only moment that can matter. The person in front of me is the only one I should be concerned with. Will my actions here, now and in this moment, reflect the image of my Creator, or will my actions distort and pervert that image? Will my choice for this moment reflect my heart's desire to be like Christ, or will the mind dominate and demand that self take precedence over my brother? Do I perceive a problem that I must fix, or do I see a relationship that needs building?

I can't say truthfully that I know how to live in the moment. I am usually distracted; my mind runs in ten different directions all at the same time. But I want to learn. I so very much desire to live a life in eternity, where the vision of the mind and the vision of the heart are working together and can help me to perceive reality in all its real-ness. I long to have the sight to see what is in front of me both physically and spiritually.

In Way of the Ascetics it says this:
[On the narrow way]...every moment is a moment of beginning - the present includes the future: the day of judgement; the present includes the past: creation; for Christ is timelessly present everywhere, both in hell and in heaven. With the coming of the One, plurality disappears, even in time and space. Everything happens simultaneously, now and here and everywhere, in the depths of your heart. There you meet what you sought: the depth and height and breadth of the Cross: the Saviour and salvation. 
O God, grant that I may learn to see with both the mind and heart in order that I might see Thee, and live each moment in Thine eternal presence. Amen.