Back in the USSR!

After which I also read her Flame in the Snow: A Life of Saint Serafim of Sarov.

So while I may not be able to quote you chapter and verse of Russia's political history, I know their long history of solitary pilgrimage: St. Serafim, the anonymous wandering monk who wrote The Way of a Pilgrim, Catherine de Hueck Doherty. I know their long history of loving and seeking Christ. I know that they have suffered, unbelievably.

I know (because I'm reading French philosopher René Girard's The Scapegoat) that Kierkegaard said "The mob is a lie" and that [Swiss literary critic Jean] "Starobinski notes that evil in the Gospels is always on the side of plurality and the crowd," to which I would add the collective, the bloc, the movement, the ideology. I know that the people who rail against religion cannot have looked too closely at what happens when those in power try to stamp it out. I know that simply converting from communism to capitalism isn't going to sate Russia's spiritual hunger, because look at us.

I know that estimates for the number of people who died in Stalin's purges, deportations, exiles, famines, and prison camps are estimated to be between 4 and 10 million.

I know the way I purge, deport, and exile in my own heart and that is why my plea, all day, every day, is the Jesus Prayer from The Way of a Pilgrim:"Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner."

I know this line from Solzhenitsyn's Cancer Ward: "There is great satisfaction in remaining faithful; perhaps it is the greatest satisfaction of all. Even if no one knows about your faithfulness, even if no one values it."

I know that Dostoevsky said: "Humble charity is a terrible force; it is the greatest force in the world." I know that Christ, nailed to the cross, is humble charity incarnate, and that the Resurrection is eternal.

But hunh. Wow. I'll be darned. 1991. You learn something new every day.

3/29/2011 4:00:00 AM
  • Catholic
  • A Book of Sparks
  • Capitalism
  • Communism
  • History
  • literature
  • politics
  • Russia
  • USSR
  • Christianity
  • Roman Catholicism
  • Heather King
    About Heather King
    Heather King is an ex-lawyer, ex-drunk Catholic convert with three memoirs: Parched (the dark years); Redeemed (crawling toward the light); and Shirt of Flame (forthcoming - her year of wandering around Koreatown, L.A. "with" St. Thérèse of Lisieux). You can find Heather on Facebook. She blogs at
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