Daily Word of Grace # 244 (May 19, 2021)
One of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century is Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov (1879-1880), in which he describes the strained relationship between the dissolute father Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov and his sons. It is filled with philosophical discussions about the existence of God, free will, and morality. A particularly famous section is called “The Grand Inquisitor” in which Jesus has returned to earth during the Spanish Inquisition. The octogenarian inquisitor has imprisoned Jesus and intends to burn him at the stake as a heretic. Beforehand, the inquisitor visits Jesus in his cell and, dripping with anger, rails at him about the human condition. How does Jesus (“the Prisoner”) respond? “When the Inquisitor ceased speaking, he waited some time for his Prisoner to answer him; His silence weighed down upon him. He saw that the Prisoner had listened intently all the time, looking gently in his face and evidently not wishing to reply. The old man longed for Him to say something, however bitter and terrible. But He suddenly approached the old man in silence and softly kissed him on his bloodless, aged lips. That was all his answer.” The good news of the gospel is that the Creator and Redeemer of the world responds to an angry and guilty world suffering from the flaws of the human condition not with more anger—but with a kiss of love and absolution.
Love and Prayers,