Combat by Humble Love

“At some thoughts one stands perplexed, above all at the sight of human sin, and wonders whether to combat it by force or by humble love. Always decide ‘I will combat it by humble love.’  If you resolve on that once and for all, you can conquer the whole world. Loving humility is a terrible force: it is the strongest of all things, and there is nothing else like it.”

(Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, “Conversations And Exhortations of Father Zosima”)


8 thoughts on “Combat by Humble Love

  1. Pingback: Orthodox Collective

  2. Father Ted,

    This quote definitely inspires me to try and read The Brothers again. But i have to say, when i gave it a go before, it was an incredibly difficult read (even for a grad student). There were so many characters mentioned right away that i was fairly lost throughout despite trying to read slowly. So i stopped at the grand inquisitor chapter and never read beyond that. Is there any sort of pre-chewed version to read just so i could get all these awesome quotes? (i suppose i should say that i also have a terrible time reading fiction at all–not sure why.)


  3. Father Ted,
    i definitely enjoy reading Dostoevsky! -i just stick to his non-fiction work and avoid the fiction. :) Thanks for the book referral.
    Also, my understanding is that Dostoevsky was deemed a heretic by the clergy in his time and place. Yet i also encounter lots of Orthodox blogs that have high praise for things he said. How is it that he enjoys this sort of dual status?


    1. Fr. Ted

      I don’t know, but I’m not an expert on Dostoyevsky. I guess the Orthodox that I know that read him admire him greatly and many think he is the greatest Orthodox writer ever. I don’t remember anyone calling him a heretic,but maybe he was in his day – a prophet is not without honor except in his own country. When I was at Fordham university after seminary, I was surprised to learn that some thought him to be an atheist. I don’t get that from his writings.

  4. Fr. Ted. Your blog has helped me tremendously. Such quotes inspire one to realize that love, humility is not exclusive for monks, but should be practiced by each one of us. You might be interested in this newspaper article which describes the christian act of a NYPD officer. Wouldn’t it be inspiring if we could see an Orthodox bishop do something like this (not for publicity, but from the heart)? What else is Orthodox Christianity? Is it not imitating Christ in His extreme humility.

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