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Putting on the New Man

"Brother, these last two months I've found myself a new man.  A new man has risen in me.  He was hidden in me, but would never come to the surface, if it hadn't been for this blow from heaven.  I am afraid! And what do I care if I spend twenty years in the mines, breaking out ore with a hammer?  I am not a bit afraid of that-it's something else I am afraid of now:  that that new man may leave me...One can not exist in prison without God; it's even more impossible than out of prison.  And then we men underground will sing from the bowels of the earth a glorious hymn to God, with Whom is joy.  Hail to God and his joy! I love him!" The Brothers Karamazov, pg. 555-556

In this moving plea Dmitri Karamazov affirms his new found peace, a peace which he has found in the most unlikeliest of places, prison  In this powerful scene Dmitri, who has been wrongfully convicted for the murder of his father comforts his saintly brother Alexei who has come to visit him on the eve of the trial.  In a way this wrongful accusation of Dmitri juxtaposes the wrongful imprisonment of Jesus Christ. Fyodor Dostoevsky ingeniously uses this dialogue to speak about the greatest attribute of God, forgiveness.

This passage moved me profoundly; besides the literary eloquence and beauty of the passage I was touched by something greater then the sublimity of the prose;  I was touched by how the power of God's mercy and forgiveness can transform a life radically and how God will sometimes use dramatic, life altering events to spawn a conversion in a person.

St. Paul also comments on this life changing quality of God's forgiveness as he states,

"Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness."  Ephesians 4: 22-24

Forgiveness for me is God's greatest attribute because it assures me that I can never be separated from the love of God. Once this beautiful process takes place then a person is ready to "put on the new nature" and to begin living as an active soldier for the kingdom of heaven in the world.  The great news is that we don't have to go to jail like Dmitri Karamazov or fall off a horse like St. Paul for this peace to be given to us.  All we need to do is ask for forgiveness with a genuine heart and the Lord will take care of the rest. We must always remember that the only thing that can separate us is our own free choice.  As long as we keep accepting the Lord and his mercy we will be OK, we will become saints in this lifetime and most importantly in the next. 

My question to you all is have you truly received the forgiveness of Christ in your lives?  Have you embraced his unlimited love and mercy?  If not what is holding you back?  Make the decision today to "put on the new man." and I guarantee you that your lives will change greatly and a new found peace will begin to take reign in your beings.

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