The Peace of God is a Great Treasure

    

When we have the peace of God within us, then our soul is convinced that God truly is our Father, and we the children of this Omnipotent God Who supports and governs creation. Then we feel that we’re not in danger and that we need not fear anything.

When we are at peace with God, we are at peace with others too. We stop seeing others as enemies, instead seeing our God within them: “If you’ve seen your brother or sister, you’ve seen the Lord your God.” For the people of God, every man is “very good,” inasmuch as God the Creator made everyone, and they don’t think evil in their hearts, because evil doesn’t exist for them. Of course, they’re not naïve, but they don’t confess that His creation, created in the image of our Good God, is evil and wishes us evil. This doesn’t mean the people of God are foolish and gullible, and they don’t think that nothing threatens them at all, and therefore they can’t have bad relations with other people.

The people of God, who are certain of the existence of God, aren’t afraid of anyone or anything. The peace of God has incredible social consequences. When envy, suspicion, and fear disappear, then why don’t we unite in love for one another in the family and in everyday life?

But if we don’t have the peace of God, then we are jealous and fearful of each other, and we act in a spirit of suspicion and loss of the peace of God. We’re under the pressure of the evil that dwells within us, because, deprived of God’s grace, we haven’t risen through the veil of evil that covers this world. And then it’s only natural that we fear not just our brothers, sisters, and other people, but even our immediate surroundings. Then we feel threatened by everything. We often feel that we don’t want to be unprotected before others, because we don’t know what can happen in such a case, and we have no peace in our souls.

    

But peace, the source of which is God, spreads everywhere throughout the surrounding environment. Thus, the people of God can live anywhere, make friends with the whole of creation, and live in peace with it. Many saints lived with wild animals. St. Gerasim lived with a lion by the River Jordan, and St. Paisios lived with wild animals because, like other saints, he was reconciled to God. St. Paisios lived in a ravine, in a terrible place; and all the sketes on the Holy Mountain are the same. But he didn’t feel any fear there. Everything around him was so safe and wonderful that he felt like he was living in the most pleasant place on earth. Today, we can live in a city with many other people and still be afraid, because we’ve lost the peace of God.

Thus, this peace, given to men through a certain process, then influences our whole life and is concrete, real, and absolute. This experience is given by the Church. But how does it happen in practice? Can people living in our world and living their daily lives, with all their problems and dangers, experience the peace of God and His gifts if all of this is only available to one specific group? But Christ called us all to Himself and offers Himself to us all in the Church.

    

We are all children of the Church, our Mother, which God created and enriched with the gifts that He brought with His incarnation and the descent of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we all can share in the experience of the peace of God. Thus, the hymn of the angels, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace…” was confirmed and became a reality in our hearts and remains so. Christ doesn’t look at people as a mass. He sees every person as unique, heals every one of us separately, and preserves the personality of every one of us. He doesn’t make us all the same. The guarantee of our freedom and respect for it demonstrate that the peace of God is achieved in each of us individually, and gives us the path to meeting Christ. The saints themselves have shown us that this peace exists on earth and is offered and given to us. When our hearts are open for grace, they communicate with it and rise above the events of this world. When people truly enter into the sphere of their relationship with God, an unshakable hope in God’s love is slowly born in them. They don’t pay any attention to the fact of their sins, falls, or sicknesses, but experience the joy of hope.

The peace of God is offered to every one of us, and we can enjoy it. Come and see (Jn. 1:46), says Christ. O taste and see that the Lord is good (Ps. 33:9)—the Church has always spoken about this with full confidence and authority, because it had this experience in its hands. It’s offered to every one of us, and everyone can and must find it and implant it in ourselves and in our environment. God has saved the whole man, and for us it’s a great mistake to think that there can be any circumstances under which He can’t save us; or that our own depravity, evil, and the power of other forces can ever bewilder Him or obstruct His work and His providence. The victory belongs to God: And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith (1 Jn. 5:4).

    

Do everything in your power, without worry and anxiety, and your conscience will testify that you did all you could. And then put your problems, the problem of your child, your health, finances—in a word: everything that weighs on you—into the hands of God. And then He will truly appear. Christ has overcome the world, fear, and anxiety, and has given Himself to us so we would know our true peace. Therefore, we’re joyful and peaceful. We’re not afraid of anything, but we go our own way, having that deep peace in our hearts, of which the angels sang and which all the saints experienced, and which our Church keeps to this day as a precious treasure.

Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol
Translation by Jesse Dominick

Sretensky Monastery

1/25/2022

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