Sunday, November 15, 2015

Met Antonios (el-Souri): The Peacemakers

Arabic original here.

The Peacemakers

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God" (Matthew 5:9).

Can a person make peace!? And what do you think peace is...?!

The Lord says, " Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27). No one makes peace-- that is, no one gives peace-- apart from those who have peace, Christ's peace. One who has Christ's peace is not troubled and is not afraid existentially, because he entrusts himself to Christ...

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What is the peace that the Lord has given us? It is an intrinsic and substantial peace. That is, it is within us and from us in our nature that has been renewed through Christ in the Holy Spirit by the will of the Father. Christ's peace is, in reality, Christ's dwelling within us by divine grace. Wherever Christ rests and settles, there is the fullness of grace. This is an experience that one lives in the heart, where one enters into the company and the knowledge of God. 

He who has not made peace with himself-- that is, who has not repented-- cannot attain peace and so is unable to be a peacemaker. Therefore, one who does not know himself in repentance only knows God according to his passions. That is, he is immersed in himself and incapable of reaching outside himself in the pure love that is from above, from the Father of Lights. He cannot be a peacemaker.

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The peace of the world that we hear about is security, a limited reigning-in of evil, as represented by wars, killing, destruction and what results from that. This is what the world calls peace. We do not disparage the importance of this for all human life. But what do we do with the evil lying within souls, such as selfishness, pride, hatred, enslavement to the pleasures of the flesh, love of possessions, vainglory, seeking praise and domination....?! These are the roots of evil in all human life. These are what destroys relationships between humans and sows division, strife and enmity among them. Here is the hiding-place of evil: the human heart "for from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within..." (Mark 7:21-23). 

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From divine love springs forth every good thing, joy and peace. In Christ, we are a "new creation." Through the Holy Spirit, the Lord "who is good and the maker of peace" we live in newness of life. We have been granted the grace of the renewal of our existence through the incarnate Son of God and the grace to share with Him the power to create spiritually, since divine grace has become hypostasized within us. Through the breath of the Holy Spirit that is within us, the spirit of peace overflows into the world and we become peacemakers... So let us ask for the indwelling of the Spirit of the Lord within us through the obedience of the Word, loving in God the Father, along the path of true repentance and our abiding in God through our surrendering ourselves completely to Him, so that God may be "all in all"...

Archimandrite Younan al-Souri
Abbot of the Monastery of the Dormition of the Theotokos-- Bkaftin
[And as of this week, Metropolitan of Zahleh]

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