Those who regularly follow my book reviews have probably noticed that I read very few fiction books. If I do read fiction, I want it still to be something that engages my brain as well as my heart. Leo Tolstoy’s Father Sergius definitely hit those marks!
This is a story about a spiritual journey that started out anything but spiritual. Stepan Kasatsky becomes a monk not because he wanted to pursue God, but because he wanted to run away from carnal heartache.
Kasatsky’s journey started out just as escapism from the world. In fact, Tolstoy describes it as, “Our feet have reached the holy places, but our hearts may not have done so.” Yet somewhere along the way, Father Sergius (as Kasatsky now called himself) discovered true piety.
Father Sergius’ spiritual “success”—if it can be called that—resulted in carnal pride. His journey that had become spiritual now became corrupted by pride. Sergius realized he had lost his way, and yet he struggled with giving up the popularity and acclaim he had now acquired.
The book closes with Sergius rediscovering humility and true spirituality from a peasant woman he had mocked and belittled when they were both children.
There is something in Kasatsky’s journey that can both warn and encourage all of us spiritual people on our journeys.
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