Monday, December 29, 2008

What does Zosima say to the Grand Inquisitor and to the child who was pulled apart by his master’s dogs?

As I reach the end of The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky I'm trying to work out what on earth it's all been about. This comment from Agnology is a helpful observation I think on the problem of suffering that he raises:
"Dostoevsky and Zosima in some ways give no answer. With his account of the sufferings of children, Ivan breaks your heart.
[in his story 'The Grand Inquistor']

And Zosima [in the following book] says, let it stay broken. 
Your heart must stay broken. 
Look at the suffering children. 
Observe them. Listen to them cry. 
Then do something. Love them. Embrace them. 
Bow before them and ask their forgiveness even when you have done nothing to offend them—for you are as guilty of their suffering as the one who actually hurt them. There is evil in the world, Zosima says. And God allows it. But why? The answer, besides being contained in all of Zosima’s teaching, is given away before you even read the authorial preface: it’s epitaph: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24)."
Entering into suffering, loving, forgiving and death and resurrection are then right at the heart of how we might respond to suffering.

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