Be not forgetful of prayer. Every time you pray, if your prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it that will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that prayer is an education.
Remember too, every day and whenever you can, to repeat to yourself, “Lord, have mercy on all who appear before you today.” For every hour and every moment thousands of people leave life on this earth, and their souls appear before God. And how many of them depart in solitude, unknown, sad, and dejected, so no one mourns for them or even knows whether they have lived or not. And behold, from the other end of the earth perhaps, your prayer for their rest will rise up to God, though you knew them not nor they you. How touching it must be to a soul standing in dread before the Lord to feel at that instant that for him too there is one to pray, that there is someone left on earth to love him. And God will look on you both more graciously, for if you have had so much pity on him, how much more will he have pity who is infinitely more loving and merciful than you. And he will forgive him for your sake.
Have no fear of people’s sin. Love a man even in his sin, for that is the semblance of divine love and is the highest love on earth. Love all God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.
Love the animals – God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled. Do not trouble them – don’t harass them, don’t deprive them of their happiness, don’t work against God’s intent. Do not pride yourself on superiority to the animals; they are without sin, while you with your greatness defile the earth by your appearance on it and leave the traces of your foulness after you – alas, it is true of almost every one of us!
Love children especially, for they too are sinless like the angels; they live to soften and purify our hearts and, as it were, to guide us. Woe to him who offends a child!…
At some thoughts one stands perplexed, especially at the sight of people’s sin, and asks oneself whether one should use force or love and humility. Always decide to use humble love. If you resolve on that once and for all, you may subdue the whole world. Loving humility is marvelously strong, the strongest of all things, and there is nothing else like it.
Now it’s your turn: Do you pray for everyone, even those guilty of atrocities? Is humble love really the “the strongest of all things,” or is Dostoyevsky a hopeless idealist? Leave us a comment.