A Harsh and Dreadful Love: Part 7, All the While the Lord Has Been Loving You, So Do What You Can

I expect after seven posts describing love as "harsh and dreadful" we're all a bit worried about our ability to measure up.

Who can make and sustain such an arduous journey?

After hearing about the demands of active love, as opposed to the love of dreams, the "lady of little faith" shares her despair with the elder Zosima about being able to share this love:
"But what is to be done, then? What is to be done in such a case? Should one fall into despair?"
The elder Zosima offers this consolation:
"Do what you can, and it will be reckoned to you...If you do not attain happiness, always remember that you are on a good path, and try not to leave it. Above all, avoid lies, all lies, especially the lie to yourself. Keep watch on your own lie and examine it every hour, every minute. And avoid contempt, both of others and of yourself: what seems bad to you in yourself is purified by the very fact that you have noticed it in yourself. And avoid fear, though fear is simply the consequence of every lie. Never be frightened at your own faintheartedness in attaining love, and meanwhile do not even be very frightened by your own bad acts...I predict that even in that very moment when you see with horror that despite all your efforts, you not only have not come nearer your goal but seem to have gotten farther from it, at that very moment--I predict this to you--you will suddenly reach your goal and will clearly behold over you the wonder-working power of the Lord, who all the while has been loving you, and all the while has been mysteriously guiding you."
Real love, true love, is a harsh and dreadful thing, requiring labor and perseverance. And the only way we can hope to carry this burden is if all is covered in grace.

So, avoid lying, especially to yourself.

Do not show contempt, not toward others and not toward yourself.

Your failures are purified when you notice them.

Do not be afraid of your own faintheartedness, and do not be frightened when you make mistakes.

The wonder-working power of the Lord hangs over you. God has, all the while, been loving you and guiding you.

Remember this: You are on a good path. Do not leave it.

Do what you can. It will be reckoned to you.

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