How may we preserve peace of soul among the temptations of our times?
Judging by the Scriptures and the temper of folk today, we are living through the final period. Yet must we still preserve our souls’ peace, without which – as St. Seraphim said, who upheld Russia by his prayer – we cannot be saved. During his lifetime the Lord preserved Russia because of his prayer; and after St. Seraphim another pillar reached up from earth to heaven – Father John of Kronstadt. Let us pause and consider Father John of Krondstadt, for he was of our day, we witnessed his prayers, whereas the others we did not know.
We remember how when his carriage was brought round after the Liturgy, and he stepped into it to take his seat, people surged about him, seeking his blessing; and in all the hurly-burly his soul remained wrapt in God. His attention was not distracted in the midst of the crowd and he did not lose his peace of soul. How did he manage this? That is our question.
He achieved this and was not distracted because he loved the people and never ceased praying to the Lord for them….
Just as Father John of Kronstadt preserved his peace of soul by praying for the people without ceasing, so we lose our peace because we do not love the people of God. The Holy Apostles and Saints desired the salvation of the world, and dwelling among men they prayed ardently for them. The Holy Spirit gave them the strength to love mankind. As for us, if we love not our brother we cannot have peace.
Let every man think on this.
Piercing words, indeed. Kind of like a double-edged sword.
While reading your post I rememebered a saying by Elder Paisios the New (and one I actually just read a few minutes ago):
“Those who do not put themselves in the place of their suffering fellow man are deserted by God, experience a terrible fall, and learn to feel pain. Those, on the other hand, who feel compassion, care for other people, and ignore their own selves, are protected by God and are looked after both by God and by men.”
It so hard to do this in today’s egocentric world, may the Lord have mercy on us the great Cloud of Witnesses pray that we can learn to do this!
Again I find myself amazed and thankful that the Lord has allowed me to be a mother. The selflessness and ignoring of my own needs while I care for others happens, in my life, through mothering of children. I am saddened at the thought that I have not put myself aside more for my husband and family before children. I pray that I will take the lessons I am learning with my children and treat with love and humility my husband, family, neighbors and all I meet during the rest of my life here.
My awareness of this situation is brought to my mind and heart daily as I often find myself growing protective of my feelings and selfish with myself as my children age and no longer need me.
However, having begun a good work in me, I know My Lord will carry it through as I seek Him.
Along with His Spirit, the Word of God, the Church fathers, this blog and the encouragement of fellow Christians will help me. God be praised! He is surely the Lover of Mankind!
Thank you for this posting, Fr. Stephen.
There are so many nations yet to be evangelized, surely the “final period” must be still far in the future. In which case, we need Christ’s peace all the more.
The final period was a quote from St. Silouan. Orthodox could say that and mean still a very long time.