‘Here is the task I give you: seek for happiness in pain’

‘- Please allow me to stay here, – Alesa murmured in a begging tone.

– Your presence is more necessary there. There is no peace, there. You will serve the table and make yourself useful. The demons will rise: pray. And know, my son (the starec fondly referred to him this way), that also in the future your place will not be here. Remember this, boy. As soon as God will deem me worthy of presenting myself to Him, leave the convent. Leave for good. Alesa started.

– Why do you react like this? Your place is not here, now. I consecrate you to a high divine service in the world. Much you will have to travel, still. And you will also have to marry, you absolutely must. You will have to experiment, before you return here. Hard will be your task. But of you I do not doubt, and so I send you in the world. Christ is with you. Take care of preserving Him, and he will preserve you. Immense shall be the pain which will appear before your eyes, and in this pain you will be happy. Here is the task I give you: seek for happiness in pain. Work, work tirelessly. Keep in your mind the word I have just said, as even if I shall speak to you again, not only my days, but my hours are numbered.

An intense emotion had again coloured Alesa’s face. The corner of his lips trembled.

Why do you still react like this? – the starec weakly smiled. – Let the world accompany his own dead with tears: here we cheer when a father departs.’

F. Dostoevskij, The Brothers Karamazov


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