Timidly a young girl made her way through the crowd. Strange was her appearance, in the midst of death and despair. She was in rags, gutter finery. Sonia stopped in the doorway. She forgot her gaudy silk dress, her immense crinoline, her bright shoes, the parasol, and the absurd straw hat with its flaring feather. Under the hat was a pale, frightened little face with lips parted and eyes staring in terror. Sonia was a small thin girl of eighteen, fair hair, rather pretty, wonderful blue eyes.
I perceived something mystical in Dostoevsky’s description of Sonia, the young prostitute Raskolnikov, a disastrous example of self-will run riot, falls in love with. Amidst the stark reality of life, a poor creature of pitiful upraising, abandoned to the extremes of sin in regards to survival, she dresses herself fancifully and beautifully. She possesses hope of greater things. Her innocence will not give into despair. However, confronted with a greater reality, her costume, her mask, proves lacking. Fear dominates, yet still an openness, a malleability, the ability to surrender self-will shines through. Ridiculously, naively, Sonia is beautiful. She yearns for love, while experiencing fear.
God, I imagine, observes Sonia in her finery lovingly, adoring her faith in hope. Seeing the heart, knowing the willingness to love, He sees her desire for goodness. All-knowing, benevolent, God sees the child within. Broken experiences, pain, suffering, all the things that drove this sweet child He created in His image and likeness to a desperate life of selling her temple, her body, for the sensual pleasure of men are acknowledged. Absolute love, God is wise beyond measure.
Emotional in nature, Sonia is a precious symbol. Yet intention and a pure heart are not enough. The sensual life must be addressed, brought to healing, in order to provide God with a vessel capable of receiving His truth. The youthful hope of Sonia will be crushed, hardening her heart, if the promptings of God are not followed toward a greater understanding of God. Sonia is beautiful, inside and out adorned in a fine outfit and expressing fear, vulnerability, however there is an adversary roaming about, roaring like a lion, seeking to feast upon the hope of the weak. The malicious liar who dines with passion upon the faith, hope, and charity of earth bound misfits exists for more than sensual pleasure with Sonia. He corrupts upon the dramatics of eternity.
The choice is fear or love. Principalities and forces of darkness promote the fear. God oversees all, tendering mercy through the dispenser of grace Mary, salvation through his only begotten son Jesus Christ, accessible divinity through the Holy Spirit, wisdom and examples through the saints, an army in the Church Militant, cleansing and nutrition through the sacraments, a purging through the church of Purgatory, and glory through life everlasting in the company of all that is pure and holy within the ultimate church of heaven.