Peace
When the Lord said to the apostles, "My peace I give unto you". He added 'not as the world gives' (John 14:27).
He did not, that is to say, give peace in a simple, conventional manner, as people do when they greet one another
with the words 'Peace to you", or as the Shunammite woman did when she said 'Peace be with you' (cf. 2 Kgs. 4:23.
LXX). Nor did Christ mean the peace that Elisha had in mind when he told Gehazi to say to the Shunammite, 'Is
there peace with you?' (cf. 2 Kgs. 4:26. LXX)-in other words, is there peace with your husband, is there peace with
your son? No, Christ's peace is the peace which transcends every intellect (cf. Phil. 4:7), and which God gives to
those who love Him with all their soul, because of the dangers and battles they have been through. . In the same spirit
the Lord also said, 'In Me you have peace", and added, "In the world you will experience affliction; but have
courage, for I have overcome the
world' (John 16:33). By this He meant that though a person may experience many afflictions and dangers at the
hands of demons and other men, these will be as nothing if he possesses the Lord's peace. Again He said, 'Be at
peace with one another' (Mark 9:50). The Lord said all these things to them in advance because they were going to
fight and suffer for His sake.
In a similar way each of us faithful is attacked and led astray by the passions; but if he is at peace with God and
with his neighbor he overcomes them all. These passions are the 'world' which St John the Theologian told us to
hate (cf 1 John 2:15), meaning that we are to hate, not God's creatures, but worldly desires. The soul is at peace
with God when it is at peace with itself and has become wholly deifomi. It is also at peace with God when it is at
peace with all men, even if it suffers terrible things at their hands. Because of its forbearance it is not perturbed, but
bears all things (cf 1 Cor. 13:7), wishes good to .all, loves all, both for God's sake and for the sake of their own
nature. It grieves for unbelievers because they are destroying themselves, as our Lord and the apostles grieved for
them. It prays for the faithful and labors on their behalf, and in this way its own thoughts are filled with peace and it
lives in a state of noetic contemplation and pure prayer to God. To Him be glory through all the ages. Amen.


(St Peter of Damaskos)