To be illuminated by the Holy Spirit is to feel the sunlight permeating through one’s skin and into one’s core. Nevertheless, experiencing God’s touch through a sun’s ray is exclusive to a few individuals on Earth, for in order to be basked in the Holy light, a person must be one with God. Humanity shares a natural inclination to believe in a preordained world where purpose unveils itself through love therefore, a meaningful life is often lived believing in a greater power and to see life as meaningless is an act of rebellion. As mentioned in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov, God is love, and the feeling of love is where most find meaning in a world where there is no apparent rhyme or reason. Human beings are in a battle between religion which offers the existence of a meaningful life and nihilism which asserts that life is capricious and insignificant. This juxtaposition of belief systems has traversed into the twenty-first century, where the younger generation facing overall dissatisfaction with life tends to lean toward a more secular lifestyle.
An individual truly possesses freedom upon successfully escaping the chains that attach themselves with every mishap one executes. The way of a monk which entails obedience, fasting, and prayer offers solace in a meaningful life because an individual loves their life when they are close to God. Therefore, accepting the call and becoming a Russian monk as Zosima does can be interpreted through the Christian ecopoetic tradition of identity as relational to others and ultimately to God as Christ in the Christian Trinity. Acting as a true monk, Elder Zosima’s identity becomes tied with God, as he acts with good faith and is characterized as a holy man. Zosima is considered a saint with great influence among the monks, for he is known for being irrevocably devoted in aiding his followers. In addition, Zosima is characterized as a moral compass who never wavers from his homilies himself. The monk consistently preaches about love, even claiming that hell is the inability to love. This idea of hell is an original idea, for he sets it up as, “man’s own choice against love” and later apologizes for the dim nature of conversation (Van Den Bercken). His homilies instruct, “Love animals, love plants, love each thing. If you love each thing, you will perceive the mystery of God in things. Once you have perceived it, you will begin tirelessly to perceive more and more of it every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an entire, universal love” (Dostoevsky, 319). Thus, a religious perspective focused on love is outlined where meaning is found in faith. In addition, contrary to popular belief the seclusion that comes with being a monk, “no one attains such loving attention, such sensitive understanding of another’s life, such breath of the world-embracing universal life as a hermit” (Frank, 91).