Monday, July 23, 2007

Monday's Meditation

I've been reading The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky this summer and it's an amazing book thus far!

Today I finished Part One, and Alyosha Karamazov has been sent by his brother Dimitri to break off Dimitri's engagement to Katerina Ivanova. Now, Dimitri is not too different from his father in that the guy is as near to being morally bankrupt as one could possibly be. He, and his father, for that matter, live base lives and remind me of the "Ghosts with erections" that Walker Percy describes in his book Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book. Dimitri has decided to leave Katerina for the female version of he and his father - Grushenka. Dimitri realizes that Grushenka will undoubtedly runaround on him, and Dimitri is quite willing for her to do this, so long as he can call her "wife."

When Katerina learns that her beloved Dimitri intends to repay the 3,000 Rubles he basically stole from her in order to satisfy his lusts, Alyosha is amazed to find that Katerina knew Dimitri has stolen the money. She then powerfully and thought provokingly replies:
"I set myself only one goal in all of this: That he should know who to turn back to, and who is his most faithful friend. No, he does not want to believe that I am his most faithful friend, he has never wanted to know me, he looks on me only as a woman. All week one terrible care has tormented me: how to make it so that he will not be ashamed before me because he spent those three thousand rubles...Why, then, does he still not know how much I can endure for him? Why, why does he not know me, how dare he not know me after all that has happened. I want to save him forever. Let him forget that I am his fiancee!" (Part One, Book Three, Chapter Ten)
Here Katerina speaks with the love and devotion we find in Christ, for she knew of Dimitri's depravity, yet chose to love him for his betterment. Katerina's longing is for Dimitri to know her beyond the title of fiancee or wife, but as his most faithful and trusted friend capable of loving him despite his wickedness and forgiving him of his sins.

Perhaps the greatest challenge in my life is to trust Christ as he stands saying, "Why, then, does he still not know how much I can endure for him? Why, why does he not know me...?" No, I all too often run to lesser gods to drown my self-inflicted heart in pleasure and entertainment rather then coming to the One who forgives and heals! Yet, he stands and continues to stand, wanting to save me "forever." He sees me as I am and as I could be dressed in his love and grace.