Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
Here on earth we are given the chance to conquer all evil with peace and stillness. We can have peace when we live in surroundings that are peaceful and quiet, but that peace is not as stable and as permanent as the peace we acquire while living in chaotic conditions. When you move from quiet surroundings to chaotic ones, your mood changes instantly and you become irritable—all of a sudden evil thoughts assail you, and your mind is in hell. That is the end of our peace. This is why the Lord guides us through sufferings and sorrows—so that we may, through them, acquire real peace. Without Him we would not have the strength to overcome these things. There is the example of the holy martyr Catherine, who suffered for Christ when she was very young, only eighteen years old. Her tormentors threw her into a dungeon all tortured and broken, and the Lord appeared to her. When she asked Him, “Lord, where have You been all this time?” He answered, “I was here all the time, in your heart.” “How can that be, O Lord, when my heart is impure, and full of evil and pride?” “Yes,” said the Lord, “but you have left room in it for Me. Had I not been with you, you would not have been able to bear all these tortures. I will give you strength so that you can endure until the end.” The Holy Fathers say, “We know that God loves us when He takes us through many sufferings and misfortunes.” Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27), says the Lord, Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (cf. John 14:6).
You have seen for yourself: when you are in a state of peace, all is well, but here in this life, such peace does not last for long. It is disturbed very easily. For this reason we must always be in contact with the Source of life, with God—always, without ceasing.
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
Draw nigh, O God, to my help. 2 Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek my soul: let them be turned backward and put to shame, that wish me evil. 3 Let them that say to me, Aha, aha, be turned back and put to shame immediately. 4 Let all that seek thee exult and be glad in thee: and let those that love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified. 5 But I am poor and needy; O God, help me: thou art my helper and deliverer, O Lord, delay not.