Of Spiritual Peace of soul
Saint Seraphim of Sarov
Nothing is better than peace in Christ; in it is destroyed every warfare of the spirits of the air and earth: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities , against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness tn high places (Eph. 6:12).
It is the mark of a wise soul when a man plunges his mind within himself and has activity in his heart.
Then the grace of God overshadows him, and he is in a peaceful state, and by means of this also in a most peaceful state: peaceful, that is, with a good conscience; and most peaceful, for the mind beholds within itself the grace of the Holy Spirit, according to the word of God: And His place is in peace (Ps. 75:3).
Can one, seeing the sun with one’s sensuous eyes, not rejoice? But how much more joyful it is when the mind secs with its inner eye the Sun of justice, Christ! Then in truth one rejoices with angelic joy; of this the Apostle too said: Our conversation is in heaven (Philip. 3: 20).
When one walks in a peaceful state, it is as if one ladles out spiritual gifts with a spoon.
The Holy Fathers, being in a peaceful state and being over shadowed by Divine grace, lived long.
When a man enters into a peaceful state, he can give out from himself and also upon others light for the enlightenment of the mind; but before this a man must repeat these words of the prophetess (Hannah): Let not high-sounding words come out of jour mouth (1 Kings [Samuel] 2: 3), and the words of the Lord: Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see dearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye (St. Matt. 7: 5).
This peace, like some priceless treasure, our Lord Jesus Christ left to His disciples before His death, saying: Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you (St. John 14: 27). Of it the Apostle likewise speaks: And the peace of God y which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philip. 4:7).
And so we must concentrate all our thoughts, desires, and actions in order to receive the peace of God and to cry out ever with the Church: O Lord our God, give us peace! (Isaiah 26: 12). (The Orthodox Word, 1968, Vol. 4, No. 5 (22), Sep Oct, p. 207-211, St. Seraphim of Sarov (XXIV-XXVI)
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.
“Cheerfulness is not a sin. Joy drives away fatigue, and fatigue brings despondency, and there is nothing worse than despondency.” Once he said to a monk, “Oh, if you only could know what joy and what sweetness is granted to the souls of the righteous in heaven, you should agree to bear all misfortunes, persecution and slander with gratitude. If this very cell would be full of maggots eating our flesh during all the days of our life here on earth, we should agree to it gladly with the only purpose of deserving the heavenly joy that our God has prepared for those who love Him.”
You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of him who gives and kindles joy in the heart of him who receives. All condemnation is from the devil. Never condemn each other. We condemn others only because we shun knowing ourselves. When we gaze at our own failings, we see such a swamp that nothing in another can equal it. That is why we turn away, and make much of the faults of others. Instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace. Keep silent, refrain from judgement. This will raise you above the deadly arrows of slander, insult and outrage and will shield your glowing hearts against all evil.
“When the Spirit of God descends on a man, and envelops him in the fulness of His presence, the soul overflows with unspeakable joy, for the Holy Spirit fills everything he touches with joy… If the first-fruits of futire joy have already filled your soul with such sweetness, with such happiness, what shall we say of the joy in the Kingdom of Heaven, which awaits all those who weep here on earth. You also, my freind, have wept during your earthly life, but see the joy which our Lord sends to console you here below. For the present we must work, and make continual efforts to gain more and more strength to attain ‘the perfect measure of the stature of Christ…’ Then this transitory and partial joy which we now feel will be revealed in all its fulness, overwhelming our being with ineffable delights which no one will be able to take from us.”
“Ah, if you only knew what joy, what sweetness awaits the souls of the righteous in heaven, you would be determined during your life to bear any offenses, persecutions or slanders thankfully. If this entire cell were filled with worms, and if these worms ate our flesh throughout our entire lives, then with all our desire would we consent to bear it, just so that we were not excluded from the heavenly joys that God has prepared for those who love Him. There is no sickness nor sorrow, nor sighing; there is sweetness and joy unutterable, there the righteous shine like suns.… But if the Apostle Paul himself could not describe heavenly glory and joy, then what other human tongue could describe the beauty of the dwelling place wherein are established the souls of the righteous?’”
Troparion of St. Seraphim of Sarov, Tone 4
Thou didst love Christ from thy youth, O blessed one, and longing to work for Him alone thou didst struggle in the wilderness with constant prayer and labor. With penitent heart and great love for Christ thou wast favored by the Mother of God. Wherefore we cry to thee: Save us by thy prayers, O Seraphim our righteous Father.
Tone 1 (Oh, the marvelous wonder)
When you entered the Saróv wilderness, O venerable Seraphim, then, completely stripping off your own will, you showed yourself steadfast in every obedience. You endured insults and dishonor, rejoicing; you loved the blows and wounds from evil men, for whom you also prayed, O holy monk. And as we glorify your most honorable memory, we pray you, O venerable father: “Entreat the Lord to grant peace to the world, and great mercy to our souls!”
Kontakion 5 (From an Akathist)
Saint Seraphim, you did not aspire to be a spiritual father, but you were entrusted by God and His Virgin Mother to attend to all those who sought your counsel. You became a holy elder, not because you desired status and recognition, but because you were infused with the Holy Spirit and immersed in Holy Scripture. Concerning your own humanity, you humbly viewed yourself as “poor Seraphim,” and to this you said: Alleluia.