Monday, September 28, 2015

There's a sly self-reflexive tone to it, The Grand Inquisitor scene.  Here's Dostoevsky getting through the culminating work of his career.   The observational rational mind, played by the Inquisitor, is surveying that part of a mind that would trouble itself, on gut instinct, with literary effort and spiritual questioning, played here by a hypothetical Christ jailed by the Inquisitor authority.  The Inquisitor is the only one speaking, and Christ is mute, not a single word in self-defense.   Here he is, a man, a writer, a human being, at the top of his game.  He is writing The Brothers Karamazov, in installment form, the finest synthesis of his work and all his juggled themes, bringing home the proof of the nobility of his long strange idiosyncratic individual endeavor here in uncertain health.  And at the core, the inner struggle, the self-questioning, the rational observing mind asking of that habit of a deeper subconscious and all its own processes that only reveal themselves through the doing, why.  Why?  What are you doing?  What's your point?  Why did you have to come along and ruin anything?  We'd be just fine without you.  You are the bad habit just as we are trying to get our thinking right and practical.  Leave us alone, writing mind.

It is a well-observed scene.  One might suspect it had been one he'd studied many times in his musings and in his notebooks.  He too had a self-questioning mind, his own frustrations, fears, gambling addictions, anxieties.  Somehow it seems to have helped him here in his later life to visit the monastery and meet the original real life model of Father Zossima, however real life events might somehow gel in a creative mind like that of FMD.

Writing is the only way some of us to figure things out, to lend some shape to chaos.  The rational mind asks why, what's the point, but the writing part of the mind seems to know what it's doing as it finds its own voice.

As there is the Grand Inquisitor scene, there is the other great scene, the dream of the Wedding at Cana and the first miracle, of water made into wine for the sake of human joy which God loves and wants for people.  If there is a balance between the dark and the light, it finds resolution in the quiet end of the long story of the three brothers and the mad father who is murdered.  "Hurrah for Karamazov," the schoolboys say, symbolizing fallible humanity.

But it was a long life enduring that task of writing.  It is traceable back to the nobleman attempting to fit in with the prisoners of the penal colony he'd been shipped off to.  Why are you here?  And to one's own self,  what can I do with this experience but try to make some meaning out of it, which Dostoevksy did because he had to.  And it helped that he had the perfect talent and calling for it.

And then Francis came to town and touched upon all our lives.

His light, of humility, shown upon us and the truer nature of our work.  Confidence replaced my sense of the company in which I shared beer and wine was unfocussed, unaware of their true task of serving the gospel to the real poor and to the confused.

There is faith in wine, and wine indeed can give us the courage to lead the brave life of the spiritual, as there is an obvious link between spiritual communities and vineyard.  Wine calls us to the life of Christ, as much as bread does.  Wine carries the reassurance of Christ.  Wine carries the Christian community, and this is often misinterpreted by society for its color and colorfulness.

If wine is understood for its spirituality it is enjoyed in the right way...

These hands have served.  They've opened countless bottles, like a musician has played his instrument.  And there has been warm talk to accompany, not some fake wine salesman over-talking the merits of a material thing, but sharing the struggle of work and sweat of earning the daily bread...   Let the wine speak for itself.

And there is great woe in the world, and great questions, and not much reassurance that any of it has any meaning beyond achieving economic security and the power to express an opinion.

Woe unto the world.  Giveth wine unto the poor and let them come too to the feast.  Dostoyevksy had that right.  "Come, my shy one... " (the voice of the old monk Zossima)  He had it right.  Come, Alyosha, to the feast, be not afraid.

And wine gives us to say the right thing, to appreciate what we all go through.

And then the town seemed to revert back upon itself after the Holy Father, representative of Christ and Peter, went back to Rome.  The frequency changed back.

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