The spiritual world is gained by sorrows. The
scriptures say: "We went through fire and through water: but thou
broughtest us out into a wealthy place" (Ps. 66:12). For those who
desire to serve God the path lies through many sorrows. How can we praise the
holy martyrs for the sufferings which they bore for God, when we cannot even
bear a fever?
Nothing so aids the acquiring of internal peace as
silence, and as much as is possible, continual discussion with oneself and
rarely with others.
A sign of spiritual life is the immersion of a
person within himself and the hidden workings within his heart.
This peace, as some priceless treasure, did our
Lord Jesus Christ leave his followers before His death, saying, "Peace
I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I
unto you" (John 14:27). The apostle also spoke this about it: "And
the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and
minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:7); "Follow peace with
all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Heb.
In this way, we must direct all our thoughts,
desires and actions toward obtaining Godís peace, and always cry out with the
Church: "Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us" (Is. 26:12).
It is necessary by all means to try to keep oneís
spiritual peace, and not to become provoked by insults from others. To do this,
it is necessary always to restrain oneself from anger, and by careful watch to
guard the mind and heart from unclean waverings.
Insults from others must be borne without
disturbance; one must train oneself to be of such a nature, that one can react
to insults as if they did not refer to oneself. Such an exercise can bring
serenity to our heart and make it a dwelling of God Himself.
We see an example of such a lack of malice in the
life of St. Gregory the Miracle-Worker. A certain immoral woman demanded
payment from him, purportedly for a sin committed with her. He, not in the
least angry with her, humbly said to one of his friends: pay her the price
which she demands, quickly. The woman became possessed as soon as she accepted
the unrighteous payment. The bishop then prayed and exorcised the evil spirit
If it is impossible not to become indignant, then
at least restrain your tongue according to the words of the Psalmist: "I
am so troubled that I cannot speak" (Ps. 77:4).
In this instance we can take as examples for
ourselves St. Spyridon of Tremifunt and St. Ephraim the Syrian. The first bore
an insult when he entered the palace by the demand of the Greek emperor: one of
the servants present in the emperorís chamber, taking him for a beggar, laughed
at him, did not allow him to enter the chamber and even struck him on the
cheek. St. Spyridon, being without malice, turned the other cheek to him,
according the word of the Lord (see Mt. 5:39). The Blessed Ephraim, living in
the desert, was once deprived of food in the following fashion. His pupil,
carrying the food, accidentally broke the vessel on the way. Blessed Ephraim,
seeing the pupil downcast, said to him: "Do not grieve, brother. If the
food did not want to come to us, then we will go to it." And so the monk
went, sat next to the broken vessel, and, gathering the food together, ate it.
He was thus without malice!
In order to keep spiritual peace, it is necessary
to chase dejection away from oneself, and to try to have a joyful spirit,
according to the words of the most wise Sirach: "Sorrow has killed
many, but there is no good in it" (Sir. 30:25).
In order to keep spiritual peace it is also
necessary to avoid judging others in any way. Condescension towards your
neighbor and silence protect spiritual peace. When a person is in such an
state, then he receives Godly revelations.
In order not to lapse into judgment of others, it
is necessary to be mindful of oneself, to refuse to receive any bad information
from anyone and to be as if dead to others.
For the protection of spiritual peace it is
necessary to enter into oneself more often and ask: Where am I? In addition, it
is necessary to watch that the physical senses, especially sight, serve the
inner person, not diverting the soul with mortal items, because the gifts of
grace are received only by those who have inner workings and keep watch over
Return to the first page