We must maintain great stillness of mind, even in the midst of our struggles. We shall then be able to distinguish between the different types of thoughts that come to us: those that are good, those sent by God, we will treasure in our memory; those that are evil and inspired by the devil we will reject. A comparison with the sea may help us. A tranquil sea allows the fisherman to gaze right to its depths. No fish can hide there and escape his sight. The stormy sea, however, becomes murky when it is agitated by the winds. The very depths that it revealed in its placidness, the sea now hides. The skills of the fisherman are useless.

Only the Holy Spirit can purify the mind: unless the strong man enters and robs the thief, the booty will not be recovered. So by every means, but especially by peace of soul, we must try to provide the Holy Spirit with a resting place. Then we shall have the light of knowledge shining within us at all times, and it will show up for what they are all the dark temptations that come from demons, and not only will it show them up: exposure to this holy and glorious light will also greatly diminish their power.

Diadochus of Photice, Treatise on Spiritual Perfection

I am not a naturally peaceful person. My mind and soul are not, on their own, still waters. Ask anyone who knows me (and some who don’t).

So when I read this passage the other day as part of the Office of Readings, I tucked it away. Then, almost by accident (but we all know better), I shared it with someone who needed it, I think, as much as I did. I came back to it the next day, because I forgot which passage was up next* – this last week, I’ve been doing good to get through Morning Prayer and haven’t made it to the Office each day. When I got started reading it, I recognized it, and also knew that I needed to read it again. In fact, I read it again the next day. If you’re counting, that means I read it three times this week.

I needed it every single time. And then again today, so that I could share it here.

Peace isn’t optional. Stillness (and silence?) help the Holy Spirit do his important work. I have found that Adoration is my weekly fix, and maybe it’s because it injects peace and stillness into my haphazard and crazy approach to life. During Lent, I discovered that Evening Prayer also helps me immensely (though I have since fallen off the wagon a bit as far as that goes).

Peace. Stillness. Calm water.

These are images I’m going to carry with me for a while, as a reminder. Maybe this passage is a post-it note from God.

Sarah – SLOW DOWN. Don’t worry; I’ll take care of everything. Love you!
– God

*If you’re not familiar with the Office, the section I’m referring to usually has a psalm split up into three sections, with a prayer, and then a non-psalm scripture passage, followed by a selection from the Church Fathers. The psalm is by day; the scripture passages and selections can be read in any order (and sometimes vary, depending on whether it’s a special solemnity or feast).