St. Seraphim of Sarov
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. 12:14).
In this way, we must direct all our thoughts, desires and actions toward obtaining God’s 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 one’s 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 from her.
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).
From the Teachings of St. Seraphim of Sarov, Little Russian Philokalia, Vol. 1: St. Seraphim of Sarov: Spiritual Instructions, Seraphim Rose (Editor, Translator) published by the St. Herman of Alaska Press
The ascetic life of St Gregory the Wonderworker, Bishop of Neocaesarea, his continence, purity and lack of covetousness aroused envy among his conceited and sin-loving peers, pagans that they were, and they decided to slander St Gregory. Once, when he was conversing with philosophers and teachers in the city square, a notorious harlot came up to him and demanded payment for the sin he had supposedly committed with her. At first St Gregory gently remonstrated with her, saying that she perhaps mistook him for someone else. But the profligate woman would not be quieted. He then asked a friend to give her the money. Just as the woman took the unjust payment, she immediately fell to the ground in a demonic fit, and the fraud became evident. St Gregory said a prayer over her, and the devil left her. This was the beginning of St Gregory’s miracles.
Having returned to Neocaesarea, the saint fled from the worldly affairs into which influential townsmen persistently sought to push him. He went into the desert, where by fasting and prayer he attained to high spiritual accomplishment and the gifts of clairvoyance and prophecy. St Gregory loved life in the wilderness and wanted to remain in solitude until the end of his days, but the Lord willed otherwise.
Kontakion of St. Seraphim, Tone 2
Having left the beauty of the world and what is corrupt in it, O saint, thou didst settle in Sarov Monastery. And having lived there an angelic life, thou wast for many the way to salvation. Wherefore Christ has glorified thee, O Father Seraphim, and has enriched thee with the gift of healing and miracles. And so we cry to thee: Rejoice, O Seraphim, our righteous Father.