Есть три силы, единственные три силы на земле, могущие навеки победить и пленить совесть этих слабосильных бунтовщиков, для их счастия, — эти силы: чудо, тайна и авторитет.
“There are three powers,” wrote our dancing saint Dostoyevsky. “Three unique Forces upon earth, capable of conquering forever by charming the conscience of these weak rebels—human beings—for their own good; and these Forces are: Miracle, Mystery and Authority.”
Dostoyevsky wrote these words coming from the lips of the Grand Inquisitor, a character in The Brothers Karamazov who speaks to none other than Christ himself, come back to earth in 15th century Spain, during the Spanish Inquisition. And the Inquisitor, an agent of the Church, describes these three powers as part of his argument that Jesus was wrong, and that he should have said yes to the Devil’s temptations; that Christ could have used these three temptations, and the power held within them, to rule all of humanity for the sake of their own good and well-being.
To the inquisitor, the choice to not turn stones into bread was to refuse to miraculously fill the stomachs of all hungry people, which would immediately win their allegiance; the choice to not cast himself off the heights of the temple was to refuse to use his mysterious divine powers to gain fame and worldly power; and the choice to turn away from serving the Devil was to refuse to have himself be put in authority over all the nations of the earth.
But in refusing to follow through with the Devil’s temptations, Jesus offers us something else: the gift of freedom. He refuses to use his power to set up a kingdom here on this earth, that would take away our freedom to decide for ourselves how to live, even at the enormous cost that that freedom comes with. It is this freedom that Christ gives to us, and that we who would follow him are called to give to others. This remains true even when it becomes clear how costly this freedom truly is; even when the cost of this freedom is death and destruction. It is this freedom that Ukrainians are paying for dearly, right now.Read more