Part III in the series of excerpts from Dom Lorenzo Scupoli’s “Treatise on Peace of Soul”.
Chapter Three: THE NECESSITY OF BUILDING THIS PEACEFUL HABITATION BY DEGREES
Banish from your mind whatever tends to depress and disconcert you, striving always with great mildness to acquire or persevere serenity of soul. For Christ Himself has said: “Blessed are the peacemakers…Learn of me for I am meek and humble of heart.” Never doubt that God will crown your labor and make your soul a dwelling of delight; all He asks of you is a sincere attempt to disperse the clouds and storms whenever you are molested by disturbances of the senses and passions, that the sun of peace may shine on all your actions.
Doesn’t that first sentence make you want to roll your eyes and say, “Yeah, good luck with that! Have you seen my life lately?” I’m sure each of us could write a lengthy list of the things that depress and disconcert us – legitimate, real-life things. But that’s not the point. We all suffer and struggle, and no one is exempt. Not even our Savior and blessed mother. What God asks of us is not to pretend nothing ever disturbs us, but to make a sincere effort to “disperse the clouds and storms” by having recourse to Him.
As a house cannot be built in a day, neither can the mansion of inner peace be built within our souls in a fleeting instant. Rather, our success is a gradual attainment; it is the culmination of the primary work of the divine architect in predisposing our souls for the edifice to be built therein, and the firm establishment of humility which must be the foundation of that edifice.
The first steps of attaining peace of soul are two-fold: aligning our souls to the will of God, and becoming humble, realizing that we are powerless to do it on our own. We can’t create the peace we desire; we can only cooperate with Him who is peace. He will complete the work He has started in us, if we practice humility and allow Him to do so.
All this takes time and patience. And the acceptance that suffering will be involved. We’ll discuss that paradox next time.
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