Leo Tolstoy (8-28-1828 to 11-20-1910)

I admit that I am guilty, and vile, and worthy of contempt for failing to carry out Christ’s teaching.  At the same time, not to justify myself, but simply to explain my lack of consistency, I say:  “Look at my life now and compare it to my former life.  You will see that I am trying to live out the truth I proclaim.  True, I have not fulfilled a fraction of Christ’s will, and I am ashamed of this, but I have failed to fulfill his Word not because I do not wish to, but because I have been unable to.  Teach me how to escape from the net of temptations that surrounds me, help me, and I will fulfill Christ’s teachings.  Even without help I wish and hope to fulfill them.  Attack me, I do this myself, but attach me rather than the path I follow, which I point out to anyone who asks me where I think it lies.  If I know the way home and am walking along it drunkenly, is it any less the right way simply because I am staggering side to side?

“If it is not the right way, then show me another way.  But if I stagger and lose the way, you must help me and keep me on the true path, just as I am ready to support you.  Do not mislead me, do not be glad that I have gotten lost, do not gleefully shout, ‘Look at him!  He said he was going home, but there he is crawling into a bog!’  No, do not gloat, but give me your help and support.  For you are not devils in the swamp, but people like me who are seeking the way home.  For I am alone and it cannot be that I wish to go into the swamp.  Help me, my heart is breaking in despair that we have all lost our way.”

So this is my attitude to Christ’s teaching.  I try to fulfill it with all I’ve got.  I not only repent for each failure, but also beg for help in fulfilling it.  And I joyfully welcome anyone who, like me, is looking for the path; and I listen to him.

Myth

“[Myth] is the language of imaginative insight into ultimate reality, which not only reveals the truth under a symbol, but also enables those who receive the myth to participate in the experience of the poet or prophet who communicates it.”

Bede Griffiths

Disillusionment

“This was to give me one of the greatest lessons of my life. I had built up an ideal, which had very little relation to reality, and as soon as I arrived I realized that I had made a mistake. The life had none of the attraction which I had expected. It was not that there was anything wrong with the life itself, but simply that I had been beguiled by my imagination. I realized then that what I was seeking was a fantasy under which my own self-will was disguised. I realized then that the will of God was not to be found in following my own desires, however spiritual they might seem, but in seeking to adapt myself to those circumstances in which by divine providence I actually found myself.”

Bede Griffiths