Peace of Freedom (3/3) (8)
By: God’s House of Love
How to Obtain Inner Peace? – Peace of Freedom.
Prepared by: Servant of God’s House of Love for Expatriate Student
Three matters make us lose peace and lead us into a circle fear and frustration. Firstly, concern and worries. Secondly, feeling guilty and non-forgiven. Thirdly, attachments. Therefore, in order to get obtain peace:
*do not make your peace dependent upon a person or a thing.
*do not make your peace dependent upon a place.
*do not make your peace dependent upon a time.
Christ is the only friend whom you will find everywhere and in every moment of your life (He forgave the past; He has guaranteed the future and He sanctifies the present).
How do I free myself from people and things? How can I not make my peace depend upon a place or time? This is what you will find the answer to in this book.
If you are serious in obtaining peace then you have to try, practice and continue/maintain it.
Lord Jesus, we ask you to free us from concern and worries. Give us real peace through the intercessions of our mother St. Mary and the prayers of our father; his Holiness Pope Tawadros the Second. Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
And while I was on my way to my favorite place, I looked up to the sky and I thanked our Lord, who gave me a spiritual father like this one. However, I felt fears and chills inside of me, and a voice whispering in my head: “What if your spiritual father died? Or if you permanently became separated from him?” I felt some sadness and pain which made me want to hide. However, once my spiritual father arrived, he quickly noticed that something was wrong.
He said: “What’s going on? You seem sad!”
I said: “You promised me that inner peace is obtained by three things. We previously spoke about the peace of the morning (responsibility) and the peace of sunset (forgiveness). However, we did not talk about the third peace!” I said this as I wanted to escape from my spiritual father’s question.
He said: “Yes, we’ll continue. But you didn’t reply to my question. Why do you look sad?!”
I thought to myself: “It looks like he knows what’s going on in my mind. I‘ll be brave and tell him because he is my father. I have to tell him everything frankly.”
I said: “Father, I have a scary idea in my mind.”
He said: “What is it my son?”
I said: “If I could never see you again, what would I do ?! How could I every continue my spiritual life without you?!”
He said: “Yes, my son and this is Peace of Midnight or (Peace of Freedom).
I said: “What do you mean my father?”
He said: “One should not be dependant upon another person, thing, place or time. Do not let your peace rely upon any one of these. Your peace should be in Christ only.”
I said: “I want more clarification my father.”
Don’t put your peace in a person or a thing.”
He said: “First:
I said: “What does this mean my father?”
He said: “I remember a person whose peace was in his father. Everything in life was his father. He asked him for advice in all matters. All his financial, social and spiritual matters. He basically put his father in the position of God without realising. Suddenly, his father died. He started to isolate himself away from church. He found himself alone socially. He deteriorated and lost all his peace.
Another person took all his peace from his friends. When he had to move abroad and leave his friends, he could not find anyone to help him with his studying. Over time, he stopped studying and joined an unholy group of people who let him astray and deprived him of his peace.
Others put their peace in their mothers so they end up with a weak personality. This is most likely to happen with the youngest child or in a family when the father is absent or elderly. Similarly for those who put their peace in their brothers or spiritual fathers; when they lose these people, they lose everything.
My poor soul, what do you want?! If you want wisdom, you will find that Jesus is the source and spring of wisdom. Actually, He is wisdom itself! And if you are seeking power and strength, He is powerful! If you are in search for happiness and joyful things, He is the spring of real happiness! If you miss being drunk, His love makes the soul drunk! If you feel hungry for bread, He is the Bread of Life! If you are interested in riches, He is the One who created the whole universe! If you want rest, in Him alone will you find rest.
Accept Him. You don’t have another to make your stomach feel full.
I said: “Should there be no spiritual father to advise? Or friends, a father or a mother? For us to love and to be loved by them?”
He said: “No my son, a person should have those around.
You can have fellowship but without dependence. The secret of power and growth of the church is teaching. We will talk about it more in the reasons behind spiritual growth. We must have ones who love us like friends. We must be respectful to our parents. But what I mean is that we should not make our source of peace to be a person. The role of the spiritual father is to help me to make a relation with Christ and to put my peace in our Lord. Do not put your peace in a person, whoever he is. Your peace should be in Christ only.
All those help you to reach to Christ are showing you the road. But
No one can take the place of Jesus.
No one will stay with you forever. Nobody will be with you every place you go. No one can be with you every time you ask him to. It is important to have family, friends and advisors, but your real peace is in Christ.
Your spiritual father holds your hand to help you reach and hold the hand of Christ. Social and family relations are important, but they can’t be an alternative for spiritual matters.”
I said: “How my father?”
He said: “Our relations with our friends and our families are a necessity, but it cannot replace our relationship with our Lord Jesus.
The body needs food and social relationships can’t be a substitute. I can’t say that just because I met you today and interacted with you a lot, that you can stay without food for two days!”
I said: “That’s ridiculous!”
“For He himself is our peace.” (Ephesians 2:14)
He said: “The spirit needs Christ; food and friends can’t replace our relationship with Him.”
I said: “And how do I know whether my peace is in a person or in Christ?”
He said: “As we said before in the topic of comparisons, who do I love more? Who do I want to deepen my relationship with? Who consumes my time and attention. Who satisfies me more? Jesus said “Wherever your treasure is, there your heart is also”.
Indicators that you are beginning to depend on others are:
**When you find that you can’t do things alone.
**When you feel emotionally attached to someone more than usual, to the point of obsession.
**When you spend less on spiritual matters (whether on the level of time or on the level of emotions) due to this relationship.”
I said: “Father, whenever you speak to me about a problem, you always offer me a practical solution so that I remember and benefit from your words.”
He said: “50% of the solution is to identify the person or the thing that you put your peace in. When you feel inside you uneasy in a relationship with someone or something that is trying to control you. When you feel you are depending on someone excessively and abnormally. Know that there is something wrong that needs to be fixed. The other 50% is the treatment.”
Let Christ be everything. Whoever gets freed from everything for the sake of Christ will definitely find the One that contains all things. He shouts my share is the Lord….
I said: “And what’s the treatment my father?”
He said: “When you feel dependent on something or someone, use this treatment.
I said (with a smile): “What’s the treatment?”
He said: “Begin every morning with saying good morning to Christ – “Lord let me love you, accept your love and live with you”. Pray the prayer of freedom.”
I said: “And what’s the prayer of freedom?”
He said: “Prayer of freedom is saying – “Lord free me from (the person or thing that you feel attached to) and let me be attached to you only”
Keep praying this until you are freed. And pray this prayer not just in the morning, but also every time you see the person or thing that you are attached to.
I said: “Thank you father, do you have any other advice for me?”
He said: A last whisper
Whisper in your ears, and not only yours but also in the ears of all fathers, mothers, advisors and servants. Don’t let your children become attached to you more than necessary. Let them be attached to Jesus. Teach them to call Him for all their matters and get their daily advice from Him instead of always turning to you. This way, they will not fail in their financial, social and spiritual matters when you leave them. Help them to become wise so that they can advise and help others also”
A responsibility for you in front of God is to raise up a good generation that is independent. Don’t kill the spirit of leadership in them and don’t let them lose their inner peace that is in Christ.
I said: “And how does this concern me my father? I am young!”
He said: “You are young today but you will grow up tomorrow. You are a student today but you will be a teacher tomorrow. You are the son of today and you must be a father tomorrow. Be ready from now, and whatever mistakes you made, learn from them and help others so they do not repeat the same mistakes.”
I said: “And what about not becoming attached to things?”
He said: “There are two kinds of people: emotional personalities which form relationships with people (fathers, mothers, friends, spiritual fathers…).
And practical personalities which form relations with things (money, science, careers, sports… ). The one who puts his/her peace in money and making a fortune will become a slave of money for the rest of his/her life. Their life will be hopeless, miserable, sad and without peace. And at the end, he/she will find no eternal life.”
I said: “So does this mean that I need to live poor so I can get peace and hope from eternal life?
He said: “You always understand things wrong initially!
A man can be rich and still have peace and strong relationship with God.
Abraham, David, Job, Ibrahim El-Gohary and many other saints were extremely rich. However, they did not love money.
Make money a method, not a goal
God… I wish to know You. You who knows me. I wish to know You, You the power of my soul! Reveal Yourself to me, You are the One who gives condolences. I wish to know You, the light of my eyes. Come quickly, for You are the joy of my soul, so that I may see in You the happiness of my heart! Give me love, You are my life!
The Spiritual Elder St. John Saba
Be successful in your work. This is not against your principals or your relationship with God. On the contrary, him who has a strong relationship with God will be honest at work and successful. This is a commandment from God, to be faithful in all you do and do everything for the sake of Christ; no matter how low the salary is or how difficult the manager is. This way, Christ will congratulate you for glorifying His name and using your talents faithfully. If you are honest, trust that God will bless you in all your matters, whether sooner or later. On the other hand, the one who puts his peace in money remains tired and worried, to the point of obsession.”
I said: “How my father?”
He said: “A rich jeweler owns lots of gold. Every day at 3:00 a.m., he wakes up and shouts: “Weigh the gold, weigh the gold…” All the people in his home wake up and ask what is going on? He replies asking them to weigh the gold because he feels some has been stolen. They reassure him that they already weighed the gold before going to bed but he insists that the gold must be weighed again. He never rests until they weigh the gold again and make sure its weight is correct. This jeweler was like this for many years. Every night, he would shout “Weight the gold”. He put his peace in gold which cannot provide peace. Real peace is in Christ.
Our value equals what is paid to buy us.
When I buy a pen for one pound, its value equals one pound, and when I buy a cell phone for a thousand pounds, its value equals a thousand pounds. When I buy a car with one hundred thousand pounds, its value is one hundred thousand pounds. And so on. Our value is in the one who to buy us. For example, he who has a piaster is equal to a piaster, but the book says: “You were bought with blood of Christ”.
It is like when someone says: “I bought it with my blood.”
You are of great value in the eyes of God
You are equal to Christ’s blood in front God
But we devalue ourselves. We make our value in the clothes that we wear, our beauty that we show to others, the education we achieve, the money we own, the friends we know …we devalue ourselves. Your value is high and it is equal to the blood of Christ. Trust in that. Live that. Free yourself from financial matters that don’t satisfy and don’t give peace.”
It is good for a person, if possible, from childhood to be trained to how to know the value of him/herself which is a position of pride to God and astonishment to the heavenly.
St. Jacob of Serugh
I said: “Is there any harm with financial success my father?”
He said: “Success for God’s children is honesty. It is not as important to succeed as it is to struggle to get the achievements you are capable of so that you glorify the name of Christ. Do not let success be the goal and forget God and your spiritual life. I have to work with God. i.e. I ask God to be with me during my studies, my exams and all my matters. This way, I will achieve both earthly and heavenly success.
I said: “My father, you have enlightened my mind and helped advice me about overcoming lots of distractions in my mind.
I was thinking that it was impossible for someone to combine both financial success and spiritual success.
Whether in money or in study, I am sure that whoever walks with Christ must be successful in all matters. But suppose I persevered and was not successful. If I could not become rich, will God be unsatisfied with my performance and look down on me?”
He said: “Definitely no. Our peace is not in success or money. Success is about performing to the best of my abilities and not becoming lazy. Real peace is in Christ. Doing well for the sake of Jesus is the secret of happiness and satisfaction.
And now, the only thing we have not covered is not being attached to time or place. By discussing this, freedom of peace will be complete.”
I said: “How is that done my father?”
He said: “Don’t make your peace attached to a place.
God… Wherever I am, I find You in front of me because You are everywhere. With the grace of Your presence, I meet You wherever I am. Without You, I will perish and will not have a presence.
Otherwise, if this place changes, you become distracted and the system of your life will be turned upside down. Him who has his peace from his house cannot pray if he left his room. Whoever puts his peace in his church building may not attend the Liturgy or serve if he has to move to another church as he may feel like a self-conscious as everyone will be looking at him because he is new and he will feel uncomfortable and shy.
I said: “I am like that my father.”
He said: “All of us are like this my son at the beginning. When you settle down in a new place, wait till you are adapted to it, then start your spiritual life little by little until you reach regularity and commitment. It should be that in any place, you find it possible to feel God’s presence. Some people believe that it’s only in monasteries when we take a quiet period of retreat away from others that we can have a deep relationship with God. However, when they go back to the world, they forget everything and do not make use of any of the spiritual benefits they gained from the monastery.
In their homes and with their families, they behave differently to the way they behave outside of their home. This should not be the case. Everywhere you go, ask for the Lord and you will find Him. It may take time to get used to a place my son, but you will soon become comfortable in it and feel peaceful because of God’s presence in it. This gives us freedom because it means that in any place we live, study or work, we will always feel peace.
One of the brothers told us that when he left to join the army, he struggled to pray. Everything about the army life was different; waking up early, physical training, different food, standing in the sun all day. He said: “I didn’t even know how to pray a single word, not even Lord Jesus help me. But I waited and I was hopeful that the situation would change… After a while, I got used to the new situation and the army felt like the monastery for me. I would pray constantly, meditate every night, read the Bible a lot, and sometimes even write to make use of my time.”
I said: “All of this during the army service?!”
He said: “Yes. Because he waited. If he had complained and said: “This will be a year lost from life, where are the days of service and praying in the church?” he would have never achieved anything. But because he waited and had hope, he obtained.
There are so many people who were put in new circumstances, but they benefited despite the change. On the other hand, unfortunately, there are also many who became lost when they left their home country and immigrated, or left the homes of the their parents when they got married. They did not manage to live in harmony with the new place, with the new church, with the new system of living, they got lost in the middle of life’s whirlpool.
I said: “What should I do to be in harmony with the new place so as not to get lost?”
He said: “Firstly: be patient and know that at the beginning there must be distraction, wait and have hope.
Secondly: don’t look backwards and make comparisons between your old and new life. Every place has its own circumstances.
Thirdly: take care of your spiritual life. Join (if possible) any service in your new church, even if it is something simple like cleaning the benches.”
I said: “What about time?”
He said: “This is the last thing concerning the peace of freedom.
Don’t put your peace in a time
God…. I wish I know you. You who knows me I wish I know you from the power of my soul! Reveal to me yourself you the comforter of soul! I wish I examine you you the light of my eyes! Get fast to me you the joy of my soul to see the happiness of my heart! Your loved inspired me you are my life! …
The Spiritual elder St. Yohanna Saba
Some people are stuck in the past. Every time you talk with them, they tell you: “Those were the days… The days of childhood. The days of innocence. I wish they could come back…” After graduation, they say: “Where are the days of school?” Others are the opposite, being concerned more with the future. “I can’t wait to graduate and rest from studying”… They never find rest because after graduating they say: “I can’t wait to find a good job and rest… I can’t wait to marry and rest… I can’t wait for the children to grow up so I can rest…” These people never rest.
Your peace is in Christ at the moment you live now. And this point is revealed when we move from a stage to another; from high school to university, from studying to joining the army or working. Many say: “Where are the old days, those were the days, we played, we served, we prayed”… They are only memories.”
I said: “And isn’t this true?”
He said: “Every stage has its own characters and circumstances. It is not right that an elder runs like young children because he likes childhood, or for a child to draw a moustache and beard on his face every day because he wants to grow up quickly.
Live every stage with its norm.
And be happy because God is with you and He loves you just as you are in every stage.
During childhood, He loves your playfulness and innocence.
And during adulthood, He loves you and you are fight against desires of adulthood- because it is the nature of this stage. If you fall, cry to God and repent. Trust fully in His unlimited forgiveness. He loves you and you are at the start of your practical life. God prepares your work and future and takes away any concerns (just throw your concerns on Him and turn your thinking into prayer).
And during your elderly years, He loves you and makes you a reason for blessing. He utilizes your experience to benefit everyone around you. God also makes you trust in Him for your acceptance and wait for eternal life in peace. He went to prepare a place for you and is waiting for you there.
Live this moment full of happiness. Offer gratitude and repentance for the past and trust in God’s full forgiveness. Ask God to bless the future. Be happy in Christ because He is with you and will stay with you. He’ll give you peace as He is the King of Peace.
We have to be related to Christ, my son. Don’t be tripped by anyone. Because some servants or officials might act in way that is not acceptable. Our relationship with Christ must be strong and persistent. It shouldn’t get influenced by anyone.”
I said: “How, my father?”
He said: “A 28-year-old young man was diagnosed with cancer and his condition became worse. The doctors said that there were only a few weeks left for him and he’ll die. His family felt sad and their sadness wasn’t only because he’ll die, but also because he was away from church and God. And every time they tried to bring him a priest to give him Holy Communion, he would shout and say “No”. Whenever a servant from church came to talk to him about Jesus, he would shout saying: “I don’t want to listen”. His refusal was not a normal refusal, it was unusually strong. There was something inside him that he never shared with anyone. Then, one day, he asked his parents to bring him one of his servants which he mentioned by name.
They felt extremely happy and called this servant. The servant was happy and took the Holy Bible with him. He went in the evening to the patient, greeted him and asked if they could read the Bible together. The patient replied by saying: “Yes, but I’d like to tell you something at the beginning… Do you remember 7 years ago, you came to our church and preached to us about repentance?” The servant said: “Forgive me, I don’t recall exactly. I visit many churches and this sermon was a long time ago so I cannot particularly recall it.” The patient said: “But I remember it well. It was a magnificent sermon about repentance. After that, I decided to repent and start with Christ a new start”.
The servant replied: “Thank God” and here the patient shouted saying: “Shut up! Shut up! Don’t thank God till I finish the story!” The servant was frightened and hesitated, saying: “Go ahead, go ahead. Continue I’m sorry. I’m sorry”. With bitterness, the patient continued: “After the sermon, I told myself to get you a taxi to help you and maybe on our way, you will give me more advice about repenting. With us in the taxi was a third person; a friend of yours. You started saying words which were not appropriate, bad words, and misleading stories.
I felt sad and I thought to myself: “Repentance is an act, God is an act, a service is an act”, and I decided to stay away from the Church and not return until I die!” And here he shouted: “My blood is in your hands! My blood is in your hands, go out, take him out!” This young man’s soul left his body whilst he was shouting: “My blood is in your hands!”
I said: “How is this story influential my father?!”
He said: “Indeed my son it’s a painful story that warns us to be attached to Christ only. We should not put anyone, whoever they may be, between us and Christ. Whether he is a servant or a priest, we do not let anyone make us stay away from Christ or the Church.
One time, a young man won the USA immigration lottery and left for America. He had a dear friend in Egypt. He talked to him every week, or every two weeks. One time his friend told him: “Today your voice sounds different”. He said: “No there is nothing”. His friend was not convinced and said: “I know you well. There must be something.” So the man said: “Yesterday I saw in one of the streets of New York Professor Mina, the chairman of service. The one who taught us in primary school”. His friend replied with great joy: “That is good news, how is he? Convey my regards to him.” And here the man shouted: “Good thing?! No, not at all. I wish I hadn’t seen him!” His friend confused asked: “Why do you say that?” The man replied: “I saw him in an unholy scene and since seeing him, I can’t sleep.”
Your relation is with Jesus only my son, don’t let anyone mislead you.”
I said: “Why my father are you particularly emphasising this point?”
He said: “Because many people left the Church and stayed away from God because of some servants or priests.
One of the fathers said this story: “One time, a 17 year old boy who was a worker was noticed to not have taken Holy Communion for three years. They tried with him many times, and every time he entered the church, he would not stay for five minutes. The situation was not normal. They asked and inquired, and then knew that when he was at primary school, he was running and playing in the Church.
One of the servants held him and beat him aggressively on the face saying: “Won’t you stay quiet?” The child left the church and never entered it, nor any other church. He hadn’t taken Holy Communion since the age of ten as he had a psychological trauma from Church.
And there are many more stories. I will tell you one last story. A petrol engineer took his Jeep car and went to the site where he worked. On his way, he got lost. The weather was very hot and his car fuel ran out. He spotted homes nearby so he went towards them and the people there welcomed him because they knew him. He explained that he got lost on the way. They thanked God for his safety.
When he asked them for a drink, they pointed to a nearby canal as this was their only water source. There was an ox at the canal, moving in a circular fashion to move clear water up from the canal. The ox was wounded and dirty. Do you think the engineer drank from the water or was disgusted from the look of the ox and chose to die from dehydration?!”
I said: “Of course he drank the water! The water is good, it is not affected by the ox.”
He said: “This is how our relationship with Christ should be my son. It is a special relationship and very personal. Don’t allow any person to affect this relationship. We go to Church not for a person but for Christ, to receive Holy Communion of His Body and His Blood. No one should prevent us from going to Church. Servants and priests are human beings and they have their weaknesses and mistakes. No person makes no mistakes. We all have weaknesses. You can be tripped by one of the servants and stay away from God and the Church and don’t go to heaven. When you meet the Lord and see the servant in heaven, you will ask: “Oh Lord! How did he enter heaven?” God will tell you: “He repented”. You will feel regretful and say: “He made me lose my way and he repented!” Don’t make anyone trip you, whoever he/she is.
Pray for us my fathers and servants my son. Our responsibility is huge and difficult. It needs special grace from the Holy Spirit so that we don’t trip anyone up and Ezekiel chapter 34 applies to us. Please when you pray, pray for me like this: “Sanctify him, fill him, use him”
I said: “I pray for you?!”
He said: “Yes my son. We must pray for each other. St. Paul himself asked for prayers for his soul. And these words won’t take much from you, but they’ll benefit me a lot.”
I said: “And what do these words mean?”
He said: “Sanctify his body, his soul and his spirit and fill him with the Holy Spirit and use him in service. (I wish everyone prays for the sake of his spiritual father and his servants every day this prayer- and for myself too).”
Three things threaten our peace and make us enter a circle of fear and frustration. First of all; concern and worries. Secondly, feeling guilty and doubting God’s forgiveness. Thirdly, abnormal attachments to people or places. To enjoy full peace; don’t make your peace depend upon a person, thing, place nor time.
Christ is the only friend that you will find everywhere and anytime. He forgave the past, He has guaranteed the future and He sanctifies the present.
How do I free myself from being attached to people and things? How can I not put my peace in a place or time? This is what you’ll find in this book, if you are indeed serious in obtaining peace. You need to try, practise and continue.
In this series, we’ll talk about controlling our thoughts, repetitive falling, inner peace, how to get rid of the feeling of guilt, the dead mouse and indicators of the true Christian ….