Peace and Serenity of the Soul

Abba Paul the Barber and his brother Timothy lived in Scetis. They often used to argue. So Abba Paul said, “How long shall we go on like this?” Abba Timothy said to him. “I suggest you take my side of the argument and in my turn I will take your side when you oppose me.” They spent the rest of their days in this practice.

The life of a man who found God is characterised by absence of anger, by meekness, humility, constant vigilance of the soul and being watchful to keep sinful movements of his soul at bay because they destroy the peaceful mood. A man sees God's Providence in his life and does his best in order to cherish this peace of Christ but as soon as he forgets God, he is in for struggle. It is impossible to have victory over sin using only our own efforts. We need God's help to do this.

If we seek human justice, we are certain to justify ourselves, to decide that we were offended and to pity ourselves in any conflict. When we hear an angry or irritated word, we are unable to forgive and to humble ourselves down before our neighbour.

We need to remember God and His love in order to quench down the sinful movements in our souls. Apostle Paul writes, “Bear ye one another's burdens” (cf. Gal. 6:2). There is no other way to fulfil the law of Christ. The path of a Christian is truly a narrow one, but it is this path that allows one's soul to acquire inner peace and to abide in God's love.

The Lord humbled himself unto death, even the death of the cross (Phil. 2:8). The Lord defeated the sin, the evil of the entire world by His humility and meekness. He teaches us to seek love instead of human righteousness. He is the source of this love. “I am the Way... I am the beginning and the end of this way.” (cf. John 14:6; Rev. 1:8). The Lord brought us His righteousness, and it is according to this righteousness that we ought to concede, to humble ourselves and never scandalize our neighbour. Even if we see that our brother or sister does or says something wrong, we ought to correct it and help that person to get rid of the lie and the sin. We can only do that if we have compassion, if we do not reject that person and do not add our own sins to his.

God's love has enlightened the whole universe. If we are patient enough to carry the burdens of the people around us, if we are humble and forgiving, our world will become brighter, our homes will become warmer because of God's love. How can we help our neighbour if we do not understand or hear him? One cannot defeat the sin with nice words and clever advice. One cannot teach another person to love if his own heart is cold and empty. This is why we all need God's forgiveness, God's blessing; this is why we all are enormously indebted to God for his love. We receive it, we survive only thanks to it but we are so quick to forget it and to lose it as we are looking for our unique place in this world.

The Lord says, “If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35). And, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1). The Lord leads us to Mount Golgotha. He stretches His holy arms out to us from the Cross, and we see wounds from the nails on His hands. The Blood of Christ that pours from these wounds washes away the sins of the entire world. We consider ourselves to be Orthodox Christians, we go to church but how often we cannot humble ourselves down before a brother. How often we forget about God who loves our offender as much as He loves us even though we humiliate, insult and ignore him because of our own understanding of truth and justice.

The world did not accept the love of Christ. Man crucified God but God who had come to save man did not take revenge on him and did not renounce His love. He drank the cup of suffering for the sake of our salvation. That is why we must reconcile with all our offenders before we take communion in church; only after reconciliation can we approach the Chalice of Life.

We follow Christ by subduing ourselves, by surmounting our personal view of the truth and justice, by learning the commandments of Christ, which are based not on human laws but on the all-forgiving and ever-winning love.

May God help us to follow the example of these holy elders who found such a simple answer to the problems in their monastic life! They decided to ignore angry words, to be patient with their brother, and thus remained peaceful and helped their neighbour.

Peace in our homes with the people around us will be easily restored and maintained if we eliminate excess words, bad looks or thoughts.