“The kingdom of God… peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17)
Peace transcends all feeling and guards the hearts and minds of the saints. This is the clarity and tranquility of a peaceful soul, removing it from all anxieties and turmoil. Love with faith leads to such clarity, which is also given by God the Father and the Son, so that we love God and our neighbors as ourselves from the bottom of our hearts and pray for our enemies. Such peace and such love, which the apostle prayerfully sends to believers, have only those who have the right to be called brothers: “Peace to the brethren and love with faith” (Eph. 6:23). Blessed Jerome.
Creations, part 17, Kyiv, 1903, p. 388-389. The peace of God is both the beginning and the immediate consequence of humility; it is the action of humility and the cause of this action (108, 306).
The peace of Christ is a kind of subtle spiritual coldness—when it overflows in the soul, it abides in high silence, in sacred deadness (111, 520).
The World of God is the spiritual place of God, the spiritual Heaven. People who have ascended into this Heaven become equal in angels. Bishop Ignatius (Bryanchaninov) (108, 275).
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts” (Col. 3:15).
Peace to you! O sweetest word! O sweetest word! O precious union of the human race and the foundation of its well-being! Without it, no good can exist or be established. Where there is no peace, there is nothing good, there is confusion. And therefore the Church, with all her prayers and actions, considers it necessary.
Firstly, this world happens when people live in love with each other, and such loving treatment between people is called friendship. A friend is, as it were, “a different me”, and friends are two Souls living in unity. And about such and such friends Christ said:
The word “peace” has three main meanings: 1) peace-consent, peace; 2) the world – the totality of God’s creation (Greek – space); 3) the ascetic concept of the same Greek word “cosmos”. In the topic “Peace (1)” the word “peace” is considered in the meaning of harmony, peace, a good spiritual and moral state.-Ed. “There is no greater love than if a man lays down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Secondly, peace means living together in the love of relatives, such as husband and wife. There is nothing holier and more necessary for human well-being than this union, and therefore it strictly obliges the spouses to maintain harmony and fidelity among themselves. The prudent management of the house, the good upbringing of children, order in relations with the household depend on this, it pleases and eases worldly worries. And without this, everything is corrupted and the foundations of the blessed monastery are shaken.
Thirdly, it is the peaceful life of the people of any one place, village or city, or an entire region, which is under one government. And this is called peaceful cohabitation and common peace. This peace especially consists in striving for the common good as for one’s own. Where there is no such peace, rich villages become impoverished, merchants go bankrupt, the best cities fall, and entire states are destroyed. Where there is harmony and peace, everything flourishes there.
Fourthly, there is the most necessary and precious world, which can be considered the source and foundation of the manifestations of the world we have named. This world is the world of conscience when it has nothing to reproach itself with, when passions are pacified and do not fight. The apostle calls this state the peace of God, “which is beyond all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). Calls “peace”, for such a person is calm and joyful; “the peace of God”, for no worldly benefits and amusements can bring such peace of mind to the spirit, but only God alone; the world “beyond any mind”, for a person can feel the sweetness of this Divine world in his heart, but he cannot completely embrace it with his mind, much less express it in a word. David asks God for this peace: “Create in me a clean heart. O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Ps. 50:12). Whoever has acquired this inner treasure is always complacent and joyful. In happiness he is not puffed up, in misfortune he does not weaken, he is not afraid of death, for he is reconciled with God. He awaits His judgment without fear, for he feels the favor of God in himself. Such the sweetest state of the soul of a single property and being with heavenly heavenly comforts, for it is their beginning and anticipation. And that is why Paul calls this world-world “beyond all understanding”: no matter how much they talk about it, no one can understand it with the mind, you can only feel and feel it in yourself.
I zealously wish this peace to all, willingly and joyfully exclaim: peace be with you, peace with you! Peace to parents with children and household members; peace to spouses; peace to rulers and subordinates; peace to old people and babies; peace to men and women; peace to every age, rank and condition. May we be united with each other in the sacred union of peace, let us hate all disagreement, strife and hatred as coming not from God, but from the enemy of the human race. Let us preserve precious peace among ourselves, so that we may be able to offer up holy offerings in the world. And the God of peace will be with us (Philippians 4:9). Platon, Metropolitan of Moscow (105, 400-404),
God is the source of the world
Unanimity originates from the Trinity, since unity and inner peace are inherent in Her by nature. It has been assimilated by the angelic and divine Forces, who are at peace with God and among themselves. It extends to the whole of creation, for serenity serves as an adornment for it. It settles conveniently in us, both according to the soul, when in it the virtues pass one into another and communicate with each other, and in the body, when both the members and the elements have mutual agreement in it, which is why in the first case it happens that is and is called beauty, and in the second – health. Saint Gregory the Theologian (12, 243).
God in the highest, who is in the bosom of the Father, by good will towards people, enters into communion with flesh and blood, so that peace may take place on earth. Saint Gregory of Nyssa (19, 384).
The world is the Son of God, who came to earth and became human. Through Him came good will, or the presence of God in people, because God the Father, through the incarnation of the Son, was satisfied and rested in people, and was pleased through His Son to be reconciled again with a person who became an enemy of God through sin, and again fill him with divine life, which he was deprived through transgression, as the apostle also says: “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). “For He is our peace” (Eph. 2:14). “And you, who were once estranged and enemies, in a disposition to evil deeds, now reconciled in the body of His Flesh, by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and blameless before Him, if only you remain steadfast and unshakable in faith and do not fall away from hope. the gospel which you have heard, which is proclaimed to all the creation under heaven, of which I, Paul, have become a minister” (Col. 1:21-23). Saint Simeon the New Theologian (60, 254).
… Forgive one another, if anyone has grief for anyone, just as Christ forgave you, so that you become sons of the world, and this is the same as saying sons of God. For “He is our peace, who made both one and destroyed the barrier that stood in the middle” (Eph. 2:14) on His Cross. He Himself said to his disciples, and through them to us, that we, entering any city or house, proclaim peace to them. And reconciliation is the whole Work of His coming, and it was for this reason that He bowed Heaven and descended to earth, which is why David foretold about Him. “In his days the righteous will prosper, and there will be an abundance of peace” (Ps. 71, 7), and in another psalm he again says this about Him: “He will speak peace to His people and His chosen ones” (Ps. 84, 9). And the praise of the Angels during His Nativity shows that in order to bring peace, He came down to us from Heaven: “glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards men” (Luke 2:14). And having already accomplished the salvific Dispensation, He left the world as a heritage for those who were devoted to Him. “Peace I leave you, My peace I give you” don. 14, 27). And again: “Have peace among yourselves” (Mark 9:50), and “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). And the last prayer (blessing), which He gave us, ascending to His Father, affirms love for one another: “Let them all be one” (John 17:21). Saint Gregory Palamas (65, 19).
Without the Blood of the Lord Jesus, no one will draw near to God, for He Himself is our Peace, as He says: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give you” (John 14:27). For just as wisdom creates wise men, righteousness the righteous, sanctification the saints, and life the living, so the world itself makes us reconciled… And if Christ is the world of believers, then whoever lives without the world does not have Christ. Blessed Jerome.
Creations, book. 17, Kyiv, 1903, p. 263.
The sufferings of Christ were before your eyes. In this way, deep and beautiful peace and an insatiable desire to do good were given to all, and there was a full outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all. Saint Clement of Rome (1, 74).
True laborers of Christ, by faith and labor in virtue, reap with unspeakable pleasure, as the fruit of the grace of the Spirit, the blessings that are most natural to them, without difficulty perfect in themselves unfalse and unchanging faith and unshakable peace, true goodness and everything else, as a result of which the soul, becoming better than itself and stronger than the malice of the enemy, prepares from itself a pure abode for the revered and Holy Spirit, having received from Whom the immortal peace of Christ, unites with the Lord and clings to Him. Saint Macarius the Great (33, 341-342).
The peace of Christ is sown in the soul by the Word of God, is born from cultivating the cornfield of the heart with the commandments of Christ, is nourished by this invisible, but not effortless achievement, grows from it. Bishop Ignatius (Bryanchaninov) (111, 5).
Dispenser of Peace-Church
Try to gather more often for the Eucharist and praise of God. For if you gather together often, the powers of Satan are cast down, and by the unanimity of your faith, disastrous works are destroyed. There is nothing better than peace, for it destroys all warfare between heavenly and earthly spirits. Saint Ignatius the God-bearer (1, 275).
Rebuke one another, but not in anger, but in peace, as the Gospel teaches, and with everyone who acts insultingly towards another, let no one speak and no one among you listen to him until he repents. Didakhi (Cited in ZhMP, 1975, No. 11, p. 72).
The Lord says: “Peace I leave with you” (John 14:27), saying, as it were, what harm is it to you from the turmoil of the world, while you are at peace with Me? For My world is not like the world is. This world is often harmful or useless, but I give such a world that will unite you into one body. And that will make you the strongest. Although many will rise up against you, but with unanimity and mutual peace, you will not suffer in the least. Blessed Theophylact of Bulgaria.
The evangelist, or the interpretation of the Holy Gospel. Ed. 2nd, Kazan, 1875, p. 368.
In the doctrine of the Deity, we are of one mind and agree as much as the Deity Itself is with Itself. Saint Gregory the Theologian (12, 216).
If the tsar cares about the church world … then let … a church council be formed far from the palace, where the tsar would not be present, her committee would appear *, the judge would not threaten, but it would be enough only the fear of God and the apostolic decrees, so that in this way it would be better the faith of the Church was preserved in all. Saint Liberius, Pope of Rome (3, 133).
Turn to the path of the Gospel of Christ and hold fast to it, so that your mutual unanimity will forever flourish and be worthy, and the Lord will again turn His face to you, and together with the world the grace of God’s Spirit will descend upon you. Saint Gregory Palamas (65, 18).
If we do good, peace will be established in us
“The fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace…” (Gal. 5:22). ; Therefore, if, leaving the images, we perceive the truth and spirit of Scripture, love will immediately be revealed to us first of all, and, passing from it to joy, we will find peace …
… Let us not think that peace consists only in not quarreling with another person: the peace of Christ, that is, our heritage, is with us when a calm thought is not disturbed by any passions. Blessed Jerome. Creations, book. 17, Kyiv, 1903, p. 163, 182-183.
If a person does not put in his heart that there is no one else in the world besides himself and God, then he will not be able to find peace in his soul. Saint Anthony the Great (82, 68).
Until a person loves God with all his strength, until he clings to God with all his heart, until then peace is not granted to him from God (82, 141).
The peace of the soul comes from the obedience of its forces to the mind. Rev. Abba Isaiah (82, 216).
Renounce your will, reject everything that leads to the cares of this world and distraction, and you will find peace. Venerable Sieoy the Great (82, 350).
Let us fulfill the will of the Father, who called us to life, let us strive more for virtue, leaving behind the evil inclinations that precede sins, let us avoid impiety, so that evil does not overtake us. For if we strive to do good, then peace will be established in us. For this reason, it cannot be found by those who bring human fear, preferring the present pleasure to the future promise. Saint Clement of Rome (1, 124-125).
Reject excuses and you will be calm in the short days of your earthly journey (82, 335).
If we seek peace, it will run away from us; if we run away from peace, it will chase after us. Venerable Pimen the Great (82, 334-335).
There is no world of thought in the prayerful doing of slaves; there are no children of rebellious confusion in freedom. Rev. Isaac the Syrian (82, 268).
Whoever, having the fear of God, completely curbs passions, stifles various vicious thoughts and does not allow them to hide inside, he will enjoy the purest and deepest peace. This world was given to us by Christ (John 14, 27), this world and the apostle Paul wished believers, repeating in each epistle: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father” (1 Cor. 1, 3; Gal. 1, 3 and etc.). Whoever has this world is more complacent than all people, is not burdened by poverty, is not exhausted by ailments and illnesses, and is not embarrassed by any other unexpected disasters, because he has a soul capable of enduring all this courageously and very easily, a strong and healthy soul (39, 33).
Depending on the disposition of the recipients, the world can both come to them and again leave. Saint John Chrysostom (41, 357).
The heart can only enjoy blessed peace when it abides in the Gospel commandments, when it abides in them with self-denial (111, 504).
With reverent obedience, give praise to the judgment of God and justify the instruments God has chosen for your punishment. The peace of Christ will descend into your heart (108, 176).
From a living faith in God, complete obedience to God is born, and from obedience to God, peace of thoughts and peace of mind (111, 533).
Only then can sacred peace be found when the mind and heart are immersed in the humility of Christ and His meekness, having learned them from the Gospel (111, 505).
Humility is born from obedience and maintained by obedience. Humility brings the peace of God into the soul. Bishop Ignatius (Bryanchaninov) (108, 275).
Action of Christ’s Peace
The world is the result of a good order, and from the world light is born in the soul, from the light and the world the mind is clarified. To the extent that the heart, after being removed from this world, approaches spiritual wisdom, it receives joy from God and feels the difference between spiritual wisdom and worldly wisdom, because in spiritual wisdom silence takes possession of the soul, and in worldly wisdom it is the source of soaring thoughts. Rev. Isaac the Syrian (55, 401).
In the world of Christ there lives such a spiritual power that it tramples down every earthly sorrow and misfortune (109, 221).
Holy peace enters the heart… behind the words of humility! He… brings a cup of spiritual consolation both to the sickbed and to the prison… to the persecuted by people… and demons (108, 540).
The holy world, with its abundant action, brings silence to the mind and attracts both soul and body to blissful tasting. Then any movement of blood stops, all its influence on the state of the soul – there is a great silence (109, 221-222).
The peace of Christ is the source of unceasing intelligent, heartfelt, soulful, spiritual prayer, prayer brought from the whole human being by the action of the Holy Spirit; the peace of Christ is a constant source of the grace-filled … humility of Christ (109, 226).
Humility is an incomprehensible action … of God’s peace, incomprehensibly comprehended by one blessed experience (109, 226-227).
By means of holy peace, a Christian, having completed the field of repentance, is reconciled with God, with all circumstances, with all his neighbors, with himself; he becomes a son of God by grace (108, 522).
When your heart is overshadowed by holy, grace-filled peace to all mankind, then you are at the very doors of love. Bishop Ignatius (Bryanchaninov) (108, 130).
The world is true and the world is false
Let some people not think that I am saying that every world should be valued. For I know that there is a beautiful disagreement and the most pernicious unanimity. But one must love the good world, which has a good purpose and unites with God. In short, it is not good to be both too sluggish and excessively ardent, so that you either agree with everyone out of gentleness of disposition, or disagree with everyone out of stubbornness. Just as lethargy is inactive, so the readiness to agree with everyone is not useful. But when it comes to obvious wickedness, it is better to go to fire and sword, not to look at the demands of the times and rulers, and in general at nothing, than to partake of the leaven of wickedness and join those infected with lies. The most terrible thing is to be afraid of something more than God, and because of this fear, the servant of truth becomes a traitor to the teachings of faith and truth. But if we are grieved by suspicion and afraid without examining the matter, then patience is preferable to haste and indulgence is better than perseverance. It is much better and more useful, without separating from the common body, as members of a common body, to correct each other and correct oneself, than, having prematurely condemned by one’s excommunication and thereby destroying the power of attorney, then imperatively demand correction, as is characteristic of rulers, and not brethren. Saint Gregory the Theologian (11, 237-238).
It would be ridiculous to conclude the good of the world in the mere naming of the world… If, however, agreement with harmful people makes those who enter it under the guise of the world act hostilely, then… do they not belong to those who do not have [church] communion with me? (10, 182).
A peacemaker, pleased by the Lord (Matt. 5, 9) – a companion of the Lord, according to the apostle: “We are messengers on behalf of Christ, and as if God Himself admonishes through us; on behalf of Christ we ask:” be reconciled to God “(2 Cor. 5:20), and again: “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God” (Rom. 5:1). not as the world gives, I give” (John 14, 27). St. Basil the Great (8, 267).
The Lord Himself commanded us to seek peace in order to acquire it. Let us thoroughly understand the meaning of God’s peace and strive for it, just as the Lord said: “Peace I leave you, My peace I give you” (John 14:27), so that no one can reproach us that our peace is the peace of sinners. Saint Anthony the Great (82, 18).
Peace, mixed with truth, is a divine work. If one is without the other, it will damage virtue, because both robbers and wolves have peace among themselves, some to harm people, others to the death of sheep. But such a world, not adorned with truth, I will not call a world; only if it agrees with the truth, it will in the true sense be called the world. Why did Christ say: “Do not think that I came to bring peace to the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt. 10, 34). And what forbids not every world, but associated with vice, speaks of this in another place: “My peace I give you” (Jn. 14, 27). For in the true sense the world is one that is adorned with righteousness and piety (51, 272).
There is holy warfare, and there is a world worse than any irreconcilable warfare, according to what is said: “I envied the foolish, seeing the prosperity of the wicked” (Ps. 72, 3). For even robbers make agreements among themselves, arming themselves against those who have done them no harm, and wolves gather in a pack when they thirst for blood, and an adulterer with an adulteress, and a fornicator with a harlot live in peace. Therefore, do not think that peace is good everywhere; it is often worse than any war. When someone puts up with slandering Providence and concludes agreements with people of an unworthy life, who build intrigues and harm the common life, then he lives somewhere outside and far from the limits of the world. Therefore, [the apostle] Paul said: “If it is possible for you, be at peace with all people” (Rom. 12, 18), for he clearly knew that sometimes this is impossible (51, 424).
Unanimity is the beginning and foundation of all good things for a person, and no one should give rise to strife and quarrel. But if you see that piety has been harmed or the weak offended, do not prefer peace to truth; on the contrary, become courageous and fight to the point of bloodshed, “struggling against sin” (Heb. 12:4). That is why the apostle said: “If it is possible for you, be at peace with all people” (Rom. 12:18). For sometimes this happens and is impossible when, as was said above, piety is at stake, or when it is necessary to stand up for the offended. And what is surprising if this is not always possible in relation to other people, when the apostle even allows to break the necessary connection between husband and wife, who are one flesh, saying: “If an unbeliever wants to get divorced, let him get divorced” (1 Cor. 7, 15 )? Rev. Isidore Pelusiot (51, 304).
“Do not think that I came to bring peace to the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). How then did He Himself command them, entering every house, to greet them with peace? And why did the Angels sing: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace” (Luke 2:14)? Why did all the prophets preach the same thing? Because then, especially, peace is established when that which is infected is cut off, when the hostile is separated. Only in this way is it possible for Heaven to connect with the earth. After all, the doctor then saves the body when he cuts off an incurable member, and the military leader restores peace when he destroys the agreement between the conspirators. So it was with the pandemonium. The bad world is destroyed by good disagreement, and peace is established. So [the apostle] Paul sowed discord among those who agreed against him (Ac. 23, 6). And agreement against Naboth was worse than any war (1 Kings ch.21). Like-mindedness is not always good: even robbers sometimes agree. So, the scolding was not a consequence of Christ’s determination, but a matter of the will of the people themselves. Christ Himself wanted everyone to be of one mind in the matter of piety, but people were divided among themselves and there was a fight. However, He did not say so. But what does he say? “I did not come to bring peace,” which consoles them. Do not think, says that you are to blame for this; I do it because people have such dispositions. So, do not be embarrassed as if this scolding arose unexpectedly. That is why I have come, to make war; this is my will. Therefore, do not be dismayed that there will be warfare and slander on earth. When the worst is cut off, then Heaven will be united with the best. So Christ speaks in order to strengthen the disciples Against the bad opinion of them among the people. Moreover, he did not say “scold”, in, which is much more terrible, – “sword”. If what is said is too heavy and menacing, do not be surprised. He wanted to accustom people’s ears to cruel words so that they would not hesitate in difficult circumstances…
But if some find this painful, let them remember ancient history. And in ancient times it was the same – and this is especially shown both as the unity of the Old Testament with the New, and what the same one says here. Who then gave the commandments. And among the Jews, it was precisely when they poured out the calf and when they joined Baal-Peor (Ex. 32, 8; Numbers 25, 2), as soon as each one killed his neighbor, God stopped anger against them. So, where are those who claim that that God was evil, and this one is good? So this God filled the universe with the blood of relatives. However, we say that this is also a work of great mercy. Therefore, showing that He Himself approved of what was in the Old Testament, He also recalls the prophecy, uttered, although not on this occasion, but explaining the same thing. What is this prophecy? “The enemies of a man are his household” (Mt. 10:36). Something similar happened to the Jews. And they had prophets and false prophets; there were also disagreements among the people, and houses were divided. Some believed in one, others in another. Therefore, the prophet admonishes: “Do not believe a friend, do not rely on a friend; from the door of your mouth lying on your bosom … the enemies of a man are his household” (Micah 7, 5-6). And he said this in order to put those who accept the teaching above everything else. Not death is evil, but a bad death is evil. That is why he said: “I have come to bring fire down on the earth” (Luke 12:49). Saying it. He showed the strength and ardor of the love that he demanded. Since He Himself loved us so much, He wants us to love Him just as much. And such words strengthened the apostles and uplifted the spirit. If your disciples, He said, will leave their relatives, children and parents, then what, think, should you teachers be like! These calamities will not end on you, but will be transferred to others. Since I came to bestow great blessings, I demand great obedience and diligence. “Whoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10) , 37-38).
What? Doesn’t this contradict the ancient law? No, on the contrary, I agree with him very much. And there God commands not only to hate idolaters, but also to stone them, and in Deuteronomy he praises such a zealot, “who says of his father and mother:” I do not look at them, “and does not recognize his brothers, and does not recognize his sons knows” (Deut. 33:9), keeping the words of God. But if [the apostle] Paul commands many things about parents and commands to obey them in everything, do not be surprised. He commands to obey them only in that which is not contrary to piety. It is a holy thing to give them any other respect. When they demand something more proper, they should not be obeyed. Therefore, the Evangelist Luke says: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, and, moreover, his own life, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14, 26). He commands not only to hate, because this is completely illegal, but: if one of them wants you to love him more than Me, then hate him for this, for such love destroys both the beloved and the one who loves …
“He who saves his life will lose it; but he who loses his life for My sake will save it” (Matthew 10:39). Do you see how harmful it is to love a more proper soul, and how beneficial it is to hate it? Since Christ’s demands were heavy, since He commanded them to rise up against parents and children, against nature and kinship, against the universe, and even against their own souls, He promises the greatest reward for this. Saint John Chrysostom (41, 384-387).
Acquire peace in yourself, and heaven and earth will have peace with you. Rev. Isaac the Syrian (82, 280).
If your brother is angry with you, then the Lord is angry with you. And if you were reconciled to your brother on earth, then you were also reconciled to your Lord in Heaven. If you receive your brother, you will also receive your Lord. Therefore, be reconciled to Him in the face of the offended; rejoice in Him in the face of the hungry. In the face of a weary traveler, prepare a soft bed for Him, wash His feet, seat Him in the first place at the meal, break your bread and give Him, give Him your cup as well. He showed you much greater love: He scooped up water, sanctified it and washed your iniquity with it, crushed His Body for you and gave you His Blood to drink. Rev. Ephraim the Syrian (28, 212).
To the words “if … you remember that your brother has something against you” (Matt. 5:23), the Savior did not add anything, that is, he has it justly or not, reconcile. At the same time, it is not said: if you have something against it, but: if he “has something against you”, try to reconcile him with yourself. “Leave your gift there before the altar, and go first Be reconciled…” (Matthew 5:24). God also renounces his own honor, if only we keep love … And he commands to leave the gift in order to put you before the need for reconciliation, because if you still want to bring your gift, you will have to reconcile. But at the same time, He shows that love is the true sacrifice. Blessed Theophylact (115, 553).
The Lord commands that worship of Him should be abandoned for the sake of love for one’s neighbor (Matt. 5:23-24). …Let, He says, the service to Me be interrupted, if only your love is preserved, because this is also a sacrifice when someone reconciles with his brother. That is why He does not say: be reconciled after the offering or before the offering of the gift, but sends to be reconciled with the brother when the gift lies before the altar and the sacrifice has already begun. He does not order to take with him the gift brought, he does not say: reconcile before you bring it, but he commands you to run to your brother, leaving the gift before the altar (41, 184).
If you bring a prayer with a hostile disposition, then it is better for you to leave it and go to reconcile with your brother and then already make a sacrifice (Matt. 5, 23-24). For this, after all, everything was arranged, for this, too, God became a man and completed the entire Work of Redemption in order to gather us together. Here is Christ. sends the offender to the offended, and teaching prayer, leads the offended to the offender and reconciles them; here he says: if “your brother has something against you” (Matt. 5:23), go to him, but there he says: forgive “people their sins” (Matt. 6:14). However, here, I think. He sends the offended, because he does not say: ask your brother to be reconciled to you, but simply: “be reconciled” (Mt. 5, 24). And although the speech here, apparently, is addressed to the offender, but everything refers to the offended. If you, He says, reconcile with him out of love for him, then I will also be merciful to you, and you can offer sacrifice with full boldness. If anger still burns in you, then imagine that I Myself willingly agree that you leave the sacrifice for a while, if only you become friends. May it subdue your anger. Moreover, He did not say: reconcile when you are greatly offended, but: do this even when the insult is of little importance – if “it has something against you.” And he also did not say: when you are angry justly or unjustly, but simply: if “he has something against you,” even if your anger was just, and then there should not be enmity. So Christ, despite the fact that His anger against us was righteous, gave Himself up for us to the slaughter, not imputing our sins to us (41, 184-185).
How much evil comes from irritation and anger! And what is especially difficult: when we are at enmity, we ourselves do not want to initiate reconciliation, but we expect others; each is ashamed to come to the other and be reconciled. Look: to disperse and be divided is not ashamed, but he himself initiates this evil, and to come and unite what is divided is ashamed … Haven’t you yourself caused a great offense and been the cause of enmity? Justice requires that you yourself come first and reconcile as the cause of enmity. But if the other offended … in this case, you should begin reconciliation for you, so that you are more surprised, so that you have primacy both in one and in the other: just as you were not the cause of enmity, so it is not for you to be the cause of its continuation; perhaps even he, realizing his guilt, will be ashamed and come to his senses. But is he arrogant? Moreover, do not hesitate to come to him. He suffers from two illnesses: pride and anger… You are healthy, you can see, and he is in the dark – such is anger and pride. You are free from them and healthy; come to him, as a doctor to a sick person… isn’t pride and anger worse than any illness? Is not anger like a strong fever, and pride like a developed tumor? Go, put out his fire, you can do it with the help of God. Stop his swelling like a lotion. But what, you say, if he becomes even more proud of this? You don’t need it before; You do your job and let him take care of himself. If only our conscience would not reproach us that this happened from the omission on our part of something due… trembled and feared these blessings more than insults. For the enemy, the enemy who has harmed him is not so dangerous as the benefactor who does good to him, because the vindictive one harms both himself and him, and the one who does good gathers coals of fire on his head. Therefore, you say, and should not do him good, so as not to collect coals on him? But do you really want to collect them on your own head? .. And what if I further intensify the enmity? No, you will not be guilty of this, but he, if he is like a beast; if and when you do good and do him honor and desire to reconcile, he stubbornly continues the enmity, then he gathers fire on himself, burns his own head, and you are not at all guilty (43, 435).
“Let not the sun go down on your anger” (Eph. 4:26). In the course of the day, many can both distract and tear us away from anger, but at night, when a person is left alone and indulges in his thoughts, the waves rise stronger and the storm rages with greater fury. Warning this, Paul also wants us to meet the night reconciled, so that the devil does not take advantage of our solitude and kindle the furnace of anger more strongly (41, 185).
Do not say: what should I do if they offend me, if they take away my property and drag me to court? Even in this case, Christ forbids hostility, taking away every reason and pretext for it. Since this command was especially important, the Lord convinces to fulfill it by pointing not to future blessings, but to present benefits, which can rather curb rude people than promises of the future. You say: he is stronger than me and hurts me? But won’t he hurt you even more if you don’t reconcile with him? and not a consequence of coercion (41, 186).
If we sincerely want to reconcile, then we will not retreat (from the enemy) until we defeat him with our intensified requests, until we attract him to ourselves and force him to stop hostility against us. Are we doing him a favour? No, the fruits of a good deed pass on to us; by this we attract the favor of God upon ourselves, we acquire the forgiveness of sins, we receive great boldness before the Lord (38, 283).
The more someone sinned against us, the more we should hasten to reconcile with him, because for this we will be forgiven more sins. Saint John Chrysostom (36, 239).
If the brother opposed the first time, be generously patient; if the second time, do not lose hope, there is still time for healing; if the third time, be a philanthropic farmer, still beg the master not to cut down and not subject the barren and useless fig tree to anger, but take care about her and to fertilize the soil around her (Luke 13:8), that is, to heal a brother by confessing his shameful deeds and disgraced life. Who knows if this fig tree will bear fruit and nourish Jesus returning from Bethany? Endure the real or apparent bad smell of your brother’s deeds, you who are anointed with the spiritual world, composed according to the art of chrismation, in order to convey your fragrance to your brother. Sin is not the poison of a viper, from which excruciating pain or death immediately befalls, so that you would be excused to run away from the snake or kill it. On the contrary, if you can, heal your brother, and if not, at least you yourself will not be in danger of any Participation in his depravity (116, 155).
For a lasting peace, the haste of reconciliation alone is not enough if it is not backed up by reason and God Himself does not assist reason, from Whom every good thing receives a beginning and comes to perfection, therefore, by prayer and reflection, let us try to confirm our reconciliation in strength. Saint Gregory the Theologian (11, 229).
And we, as the doers of their [apostles’] teaching, have just come to you, proclaiming peace, and together with Paul we say to you:
“Strive to have peace with everyone and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). If, without having peace with everyone, no one will see God, then will he see God in the Age to Come, who does not even live in peace with his fellow citizens? On the contrary, will he not then hear: “If the wicked be shown mercy, he will not learn the truth” (Isaiah 26:10)?! Saint Gregory Palamas (65:20).
And with enemies, when they ask for peace, one must reconcile. For whoever does not reconcile, but torments, without curbing anger with mercy, even those who ask for reconciliation … he will lose the advantage of victory, will suffer reproach from everyone, like one who has become like a beast, and will not escape punishment from God (50, 320).
It is impossible to be irreconcilable with those who are reconciled, but even as far as it depends on us, we must be reconciled with the irreconcilable, if only piety does not suffer harm. St. Isidore Pelusiot (51, 425.)
One brother was in grief against another brother, who, having learned about this, came for reconciliation. The first did not open the door for him. The second went to the elder and told him about it. The elder answered: “Look, is there a reason in your heart? Don’t you admit that you are right? Don’t you have the intention to accuse your brother and justify yourself? For this reason, God did not touch his heart and he did not open the doors for you. I’ll tell you right: even if he was guilty before you, put in your heart that you are guilty before him, and justify your brother, then God will put in his heart the desire to be reconciled with you. He acted according to the word of the elder and again went to his brother. He immediately opened the door and, before the visitor asked for forgiveness, embraced him heartily, and the greatest peace settled between them. Fatherman (82, 517-518).
There was a nobleman in Alexandria who, despite all the admonitions of St. John the Merciful, did not even want to hear about reconciliation with his enemy. Once the saint invited him to his house church for the Divine Liturgy. The nobleman has come. There were no pilgrims in the church; the patriarch himself served, and there was only one singer on the kliros, whom the nobleman began to help in singing. When they began to sing the Lord’s Prayer, the saint also sang it, but at the words: “Give us our daily bread today,” Saint John suddenly fell silent himself and stopped the singer, so that the nobleman alone sang the words of the prayer: “And forgive us our debts, as if we leave our debtors.” Then the saint said to him: “Look, my son, at what a terrible hour and what you are saying to God: leave it to me, just as I leave it! Are you telling the truth? Are you leaving it?” These words struck the grandee so much that he, covered in tears, threw himself at the feet of the archpastor and exclaimed: “Whatever you command, master, your servant will do.” And he did: on the same day he made peace with his enemy and from the bottom of his heart forgave him all his offenses. Prologue in the Teachings (81, 588-589).
Photo by Julia Volk: