Why there is no peace in the soul?
In the first weekend of Lent the college “Heritage” held a seminar. The theme was the world – that world, which is called in the Old Testament "shalom", the world in the soul, the world coming from God.
Three days we spent outside the city. Lectures, conversations, prayers, reading the Scriptures … I was with the children almost all the time and could not grab the program, but I definitely received some fruit from the seminar. It was an unprecedented experience of the absence of peace in my soul. I have not experienced such rage, such anxiety, such insecurity as with this post for a long time.
"World! Peace! ”- but there is no peace
I suspect that this happens not only for me. I pray, receive communion, go to church, do good deeds, but I don’t see any changes. At each confession, I say the same thing, no progress. All the less joy and inspiration, the church life turns into an obligation.
In the soul grows resentment. I do everything I can – why does God not support me? Where is the world, where is peace of mind, where is joy?
Maybe it's in my motives? I often notice that I am not driven by the desire to do what is pleasing to God, but by something else, mine is “human, too human”: the search for support, the habit of obeying the rules, the desire to maintain good relations, the expectation of some kind of benefit. While the Lord says: “Son, give me a heart” (Prov. 23:26); He does not need my good deeds on their own, he needs me to change.
On the other hand, what can I do with motives? How can I rebuild my heart so that it deeply and genuinely desires to love God and neighbors, and not all the innumerable things that it desires now? It turns out a vicious circle: the heart is not sufficiently cleansed, since there are no truly good deeds, and there will be none until the heart has reached the right motives.
Rest only in our dreams
Or maybe it is an illusion that the soul should calm down? Perhaps this should be the life of a Christian — in constant overcoming of oneself, in an unsatisfied pursuit of perfection, in constant failures and failures? Maybe this is what the words of the Savior mean: “The kingdom of heaven is taken by force” (Matt.11: 12)?
Or perhaps these are growing pains. Something new is sprouting in the soul, some new forces and opportunities are being released, I am entering a new level of relations with God, and you just have to endure some time, and the peace of the Lord will come to me.
But when, Lord, when? No answer.
It was worth two days to walk with this question, and the answer came by itself. “I do everything right, but I feel bad” – this is the logic of a 5-year-old child! I see only my “right” actions and “unfair” state, and I do not see the whole world around. It is necessary to shift the focus: to look at the goal to which I aspire, to see how I approached it, what hinders me on the way to it …
The goal is set by the Gospel: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and thy neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22: 37-39). Obviously, looking at his misery is not what the Lord wants from me. There is a double mistake here: 1) love is an active thing, it is necessary to do it and not look at it; 2) The Gospel prescribes directing it outward — toward God and your neighbor, and not toward yourself.
"Light is my mirror, say …"
Perhaps it was this focusing on themselves that the holy fathers called the sin of pride. Then the turn of consciousness from oneself to others will be nothing more than repentance — a change of view, a change of approach.
"Love your neighbor as yourself"
I will try to feel the condition of another person as my own. I will try to pity him as much as I felt sorry for myself. I will try with the same power to desire liberation, peace and joy for him, just as desperately to find a way out of his impasse as from my own.
No deeds, you can start with humanity; no need to take for the first time beggars in the subway or personal enemies – no, let it be the closest people. I will try to feel into their state, to hear, to understand, to love.
In my opinion, a great ascetic exercise on the Great Post ?
And what task do you put on Lent? What do you do when your hands are lowered, and hope is lost to change anything? Tell us about it in the comments!
(The author of the photo at the beginning of the article – Alain Laboile, taken from the site pravmir.ru)
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