Updated: Mar 8
- Mikhail Nesterov “The Vision to the Youth Bartholomew” (Russian: Видение отроку Варфоломею)
The Woven Reads literary society is currently reading The Brothers Karamazov. At the close of Book II, Father Zosima calls Alyosha to leave the monastery as Alyosha pleads with him to stay. Father Zosima states, ‘You are more needed there. There is no peace there. You will serve and be of use.’
Shortly after, Zosima continues, ‘Christ is with you. Keep him, and he will keep you. You will behold great sorrow, and in this sorrow you will be happy. Here is a commandment for you: seek happiness in sorrow. Work, work tirelessly. Remember my words from now on …’
Alyosha — a spirited son with a memory of his shrieking mother extending him out to the altar of Mary rayed in the sun, determined to serve God fully and completely, is told by his elder to leave. To suffer. To be peace where there is none. He trembled. But he knew better than to object.
Dr. Scott’s poem and accompanying thought this week from Passion, Power, Proxy, Release is a beautiful continuation of the conversation. As we remember to repent, to turn, to suffer, may it be in the fullness of the memory of the eternal God.
- Meghan Ochoa
So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. - 1 Peter 4:19
This dark night is made tolerable
Only by you, and the distant light
That blinds us when we confront it,
So that we may only proceed
With eyes lowered.
The ship beneath us heaves us about;
We make no pretense of balance
And now we find we no longer protect ourselves
From the bruises from impact
Of timbers and flesh.
The journey stuns our spirits and senses.
The destination haunts us,
Eludes us sometimes like a painful memory.
But we are on a night-shrouded ship
Bound for Ninevah
Because we said we’d go
And if I must weep,
I weep only
For those who must travel alone.
The 1 Peter scripture is stark in its implications. We can suffer according to God’s will. There’s no provision for fighting against it, but rather a command to commit ourselves to the One who, it seems, is intimately involved in it. Not only that, our personal suffering doesn’t disqualify us from continuing a life of service to others. Thus, in suffering, we are tied both to God and to others.
No matter how difficult our road on this earth, it is made bearable only through knowing that we do not travel alone. We as Christians have the comfort of knowing that our brothers and sisters care very deeply when we are hurting. But even if they don’t understand or feel our pain, we can be assured that Jesus does. He walked this same earth, breathed this same air, and felt the same temptations; and no matter how dark the passage, He has been there before..
Dr. Latayne C. Scott is an enthusiastic proponent of Christian Classical Education and taught various subjects in the School of Logic of a classical academy. The award-winning author of over 30 published books and thousands of shorter published works such as poems, she continues to write, publish, and serve as a spirituality coach and a writing coach.
- Photo credit to Melissa Lancaster for Dr. Scott's bio headshot