1) Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
Our spirit is saddened, everything is sorrow and suffering. You have seen for yourself: when you are in a state of peace, all is well, but here in this life, such peace does not last for long. It is disturbed very easily. For this reason we must always be in contact with the Source of Life, with God – always, without ceasing. As soon as our inner peace is troubled, we must immediately ask for His help – just like a little child who, when separated from his mother, immediately cries and calls out to her.
He is afraid to be alone. So it is with our soul: when it finds itself alone (separated from the Lord), it suffers a great deal, but when it is united with the Lord, no matter what misfortunes come upon it, all is well. The soul surmounts all difficulties because it is joyful to be with the Lord; it feels Divine joy and peace.
The soul knows that it must pass through the fire and water of this world in order to rise above the little things of this world that torment us. What torments us most are our thoughts. Thoughts make us do all kinds of things, then we lose our peace and are tormented by our conscience. These pangs of conscience are nothing but the judgment of God within us. And so, we must make peace with our Heavenly Father and turn to Him from our heart, asking Him to forgive us and give us of His Grace and His Divine strength in order that we may always remain in peace and joy, like the angels and the saints.
2) St John of Kronstadt
The greatest gift of God, which we mostly need and which we very often obtain from God, through our prayers, is peace or rest of heart. As the Lord Himself says: “Come unto Me, all ye that labors and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Therefore, having obtained this rest, rejoice and consider yourself as rich and possessing all things.
3) Abbot Tryphon
“Our life depends on the kind of thoughts we nurture. If our thoughts are peaceful, calm, meek, and kind, then that is what our life is like. If our attention is turned to the circumstances in which we live, we are drawn into a whirlpool of thoughts and can have neither peace nor tranquility (Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)”.
Saint Saraphim of Sarov said that if we “acquire peace, a thousand around us will be saved”, for having been created in the image of God, and we are part of the Divine thought that was made material in time and space. We not only influence those around us with our thoughts, but we even influence the cosmos. If we focus on the negative, those negative thoughts impact everyone around us, and even the whole world. The Elder Thaddeus tells us we can be either very good, or very bad, depending on the thoughts and desires we breed.
There is a lot that is wrong with the world, but it begins with us. If there is to be peace in our world, it must begin with me. If hatred, anger, envy, lust, and spite, are to end, it must end with me. When we allow destructive thoughts to destroy our peace, the peace around us is destroyed. We can not blame the world, or even those around us, for that which happens around us, radiates from us. Blame for all that is wrong with the world, can not be placed beyond our own hearts.
4) St John of Kronstadt
‘ “The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11: 12). If we do not daily strive to conquer the passions, which fight against us, and to gain the Kingdom of God in our heart, then the passions will tyrannically, forcibly take possession of us, will invade our soul like robbers; our attachments to earthly things will increase in proportion as our faith in heavenly blessings and love for God and our neighbour will also grow weaker and weaker; we shall enjoy rest of conscience and peace of heart more and more seldom. We must struggle in the matter of the salvation of the soul, which is more precious than anything in the world; we must count everything earthly as dross, or as a phantom, a vision, and everything heavenly, above all, the Lord Himself, as truth itself, eternal, most-blessed, and unchangeable..
5) St Paisios of Mt Athos
The soul must be constantly ready and alert and always in contact with the spiritual headquarters, that is, God. Only then it will feel secure, full of hope and joy. When I was in the army, during the war, I was a radio operator. I noticed that we felt secure only when we communicated with the Army Division on an hourly basis. When our communication was limited to every two hours, we felt a little bit insecure; sometimes, when we could only be in touch with them twice a day, we felt uncomfortable, lonely and lost. The same thing applies to our prayer. The more we pray, the more secure we feel, on a spiritual basis, of course.
6) St Seraphim of Sarov
If a man has no worries about himself at all for the sake of love toward God and the working of good deeds, knowing that God is taking care of him, this is a true and wise hope. But if a man takes care of his own business and turns to God in prayer only when misfortunes come upon him which are beyond his power, and then he begins to hope in God, such a hope is vain and false. A true hope seeks only the Kingdom of God and is sure that everything necessary for this mortal life will surely be given. The heart cannot have peace until it acquires this hope. This hope pacifies it fully and brings joy to it. The most holy lips of the Saviour spoke about this very hope: “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11:28).”
7) St Isaac the Syrian
The soul that loves God has its rest in God and in God alone. In all the paths that men walk in the world, they do not attain peace until they draw nigh to hope in God.
The less you respond to negativity, the more peaceful your life becomes.
9) St Kyrillos VI
Nothing in this world can distress or perturb me, for I take refuge in the impregnable fortress of the Church. I am reassured in the bosom of God’s mercies. Comfort and blessing continuously flows from Him. The Lord’s grace flutters its wings and casts away all sadness, and heals the heart with its indescribable balm. Oh, how sweet it is! No one can withstand the trials of this world without His care or power. Our Fathers compare this Grace with a mother teaching her child to walk. She stands at a distance and when she sees that he is about to fall she hurries to him and wipes every tear from his eyes. Such is the way that God’s Grace deals with man. Amid his struggles, God’s Grace distances itself just a little in order to train him to walk in the path of virtue. But when he is found to be saddened or discouraged, this Grace hurries to comfort and encourage him.