For an Orthodox Christian to be ready for the reception of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the elements of Communion we must be at peace with humanity. Jesus tells us that we must “Love our neighbor,” and again in the Liturgy we pray for those who love us and those who hate us. But what is this peace that we are praying for here exterior or interior?
In my way of thinking, and I could be all wet here, but the entire life of the Christian has to do with the interior and not the exterior of our life. In a series of sermons I preached and a Lenten retreat I led, I spoke about prayer and how prayer needs to be less about the words and more about what is going on inside.
The father’s and mother’s of the Church teach that our prayer should be interior, should come from the depths of our being, from the heart. The ancients believed that the heart was the center of our person and we need to move our prayer from the mind, where most of us exist, to the heart. But in order to get there we have to travel through a lot of stuff.
Each of us has within us all the memories of our life, good and bad and we have deal with each of these as we travel from the head to the heart. Inner peace begins with inner stillness and in order to be still inside all of the noise has to stop. Just as we switch off the radio to acquire outer stillness we need to switch off the inner radio and we do this by dealing with the memories as the come up in our prayer.
As we tackle these memories one by one we will start to quiet our inner being and our prayer will become deep and rich and will come from that place where the spirit dwells in each of us.
The 18th Century monk St. Seraphim of Sarov said, “Acquire the spirit of peace, and a thousand souls will be converted around you!” We cannot work to bring the Gospel to others until we ourselves have found this spirit of peace. Mahatma Gandhi said one time, “Be the change you want to see in the world” so if we hope to see a world of peace then we ourselves need to be at peace.
Start today and bring a sense of peace to your own world and you will be amazed at how it will transform the world around you.