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Peace and Joy

“Of all the blessings of God, peace is one of the most sought-after. We begin our litanies in the Liturgy with the invitation, “In peace let us pray to the Lord”…And we follow with the petition for “peace from above.” However, we pray not only for heavenly peace but for peace in our world. So we pray for “peaceful times”…And later we pray for those in government that they enjoy “peaceful times.” Thus in their “tranquility,” we may live a “calm and peaceful life”…Peace is necessary for good order, cooperation, and happiness in our communities, work, families, and our churches. Without it, nothing constructive may be achieved, and no one can reach good and lasting goals.” (Fr. Basil)

“Alas, people today, particularly the young, are living in desperate individualism, far removed from any association with their Creator and other people. Without ideals and visions, they’re trying to be joyful in a milieu of the empty pleasures of consumerism, drugs and satisfaction of the passions. But joy, what Basil the Great calls ‘a skipping of the soul’, is an existential fact of life. And this fact is the fruit of the Holy Spirit: ‘for the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace and patience…’ (Gal. 5. 22). If we understand this eternal truth, we’ll really be joyful.” (Archimandrite Kyrillos Kostopoulos) 

“Though peace is desirable, many do not do what is necessary to pursue it. They do not realize how peace is attained. The apostle [St. James] states, “Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:18 18). We must actively make peace. This insight is an echo of the teaching of the Lord: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). Fostering peace means sowing peace, planting peace, and nurturing peace. None of this is done by wishing for it. The Lord and the apostle teach that peace starts with the human heart. This is true even for our rulers. In the Liturgy of St. Basil we pray “Remember…all civil authorities, grant them a secure and lasting peace; speak good things in their hearts concerning Thy Church and all Thy people, that we, in their tranquility may lead a calm and peaceful life…”…Putting these thoughts together, “tranquility,” that is, the peacefulness of heart, creates the climate of peace for the Church and for all.” (Fr. Basil)

“As God and human person, the Lord is the source of joy…His resurrection and passion are also an occasion for great joy. ‘And they quickly left the tomb with fear and great joy’ (Matth. 28, 8). And also ‘saying this, he showed them his hands and his side. And the disciples rejoiced at seeing the Lord’ (John 20:20). This is precisely why the existential imitation of the pain and suffering of Christ is completed with existential joy. ‘Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds’ (James 1, 2)…This is because the struggle ‘in Christ’ and ‘for Christ’ involves trials and sorrows. As Saint Peter aptly remarks, ‘In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith, of greater worth than gold refined by fire,…’ ( 1Peter 1: 6). Joy in Christ is inalienable. Nothing in this world can take it away from us. In any case, Christ himself has promised ‘… and no-one shall take away your joy from you’ (John 16, 23).” (Archimandrite Kyrillos Kostopoulos) 

“…the reasons for us to rejoice are obvious: a) because we came into being from non-being; b) because through word and the mind we can understand the beauty of creation; c) because we’re able to distinguish good from bad; d) because, having been estranged from God through sin we have been recalled to intimacy with him through repentance; e) because we have hope of resurrection, of the enjoyment of angelic blessings, the kingdom in heaven.” (St. Basil the Great)


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