It Would Be Easier

Words from a sermon given by Zosima in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov:
Brothers, do not be afraid of men’s sin, love man also in his sin, for this likeness of God’s love is the height of love on earth. Love all of God’s creation, both the whole of it and every grain of sand. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love animals, love plants, love each thing. If you love each thing, you will perceive the mystery of God in things. Once you have perceived it, you will begin tirelessly to perceive more and more of it every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an entire, universal love…

Brothers, love is a teacher, but one must know how to acquire it, for it is difficult to acquire, it is dearly bought, by long work over a long time, for one ought to love not for a chance moment but for all time. Anyone, even a wicked man, can love by chance. My young brother asked forgiveness of the birds: it seems senseless, yet it is right, for all is like an ocean, all flows and connects; touch it in one place and it echoes at the other end of the world. Let it be madness to ask forgiveness of the birds, still it would be easier for the birds, and for a child, and for any animal near you, if you yourself were more gracious than you are now, if only by a drop, still it would be easier. All is like an ocean, I say to you...
Love is a teacher, but it is difficult to acquire. Love must be dearly bought. For even a wicked man can love by chance.

So learn to be more gracious, even to the birds. Learn to love men and women in their sin. Love every grain of sand. Love every leaf, every ray of light.

For if by hard labor you become more gracious than you are now, if only by a drop, it would be easier.

Easier for the birds. For the children. For broken men and women. For all of creation.

Drop by drop, it would be easier if you came to love and forgive them all.

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2 thoughts on “It Would Be Easier”

  1. I believe that my heart began to be pliable when God ceased being over there while I am over here, and became presence, became the moment. Love ceased being a sentimental idea and became the upholder of presence.

    This post has pricked and stirred my heart well. When I was eight years old I received a BB rifle for Christmas. My father asked me to promise not to shoot birds. I promised. But the pressure from a friend who also had a BB gun was too great; I shot birds. I have often asked God to forgive me; it's time to ask the birds.

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