Sunday, August 3, 2008

Rest in Peace

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn died today at the age of 89. A man who endured torture in forced labor camps in his native country all for making remarks about "the man with the mustache", (Stalin) in a letter to a friend. I know little about him save that he has influenced countless writers in the west, and that he stood as a conscience of his nation against the raging evil of communism.

In the wake of his death, much will be covered about him, his stamina, his literary genius, and his far reaching effect on other writers. Solzhenitsyn's Christian faith may be overlooked by some media outlets, but it would be hard to miss if they did their research. Time magazine published a prayer of his recently. Read it and marvel that a man whose life included such dire events could exclaim how easy it is to believe in God. May we consider this the next time our American hang-nails of traffic jams, high oil prices, and our team losing the penant again send us into a frenzy.

Rest in peace dear Aleksandr.

How easy it is to live with You, O Lord.
How easy to believe in You.

When my spirit is overwhelmed
within me, When even the keenest see no
further than the night, And know not what to do —
tomorrow, You bestow on me the certitude that
You exist and are mindful of me.
That all the paths of righteousness
are not barred. As I ascend into
the hill of earthly glory, I turn back and gaze,
astonished, on the road that led me here beyond despair,
Where I too may reflect Your radiance upon mankind.

All that I may yet reflect, You shall
accord me, And appoint others where I shall fail.

–a prayer of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s;
* Translation © 1 972 by Patricia Blake

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