Obtaining Peace, and Zealous Desire for Progress in Grace
“Abba Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from Heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high pries. But God said to him,
“You are my Son; today I have become your Father.
Do not open your heart to everyone, but discuss your personal affairs with those who are wise and fear God
We might enjoy much peace if we would not busy ourselves with the words and deeds of other people — with those things that are not our concern.
How can we live long in peace when we thrust ourselves into the concern of others, even looking around for chances to do so, and too little or infrequently concentrate on our own thoughts?
Blessed are those hearts are fixed (on spiritual matters), for they shall enjoy much peace.
Why were some of the saints so perfect and given to meditation?
Because they labored to rid themselves of all earthy desires, and so were able to fix themselves wholeheartedly upon God and be free for spiritual meditation.,We are too much led by our passions, and too concerned about temporary things.
We also seldom overcome any one vice perfectly, are not inflamed with a fervent desire to grow better every day, and so we remain cold and lukewarm.
If we were perfectly dead to ourselves and not entangled within our own hearts, then we would be able to taste divine things, and have some experience of heavenly meditation.
The greatest, and indeed the whole obstruction, is that we are not disentangled from our passions and lust, we do not endeavor to enter into that path of perfection that saints have walked before us, and when we encounter any small adversity we are too quickly depressed and turn to human comforts.
If we would be courageous people and endeavor to stand in the (spiritual) battle we would surely receive God’s favorable comforts.
For He gives us opportunity to fight so that we will be victorious, and is ready to bring relief to those who fight courageously and trust in His Grace.
If we consider our progress in religious life to consist only in keeping external things, our devotion will quickly come to an end.
Therefore, let us lay the ax to the root so that we may be freed from our passions and find rest for our souls.
If every year we would root out one vice, we would soon become perfect people.
But often it is contrary to that, and we realize that we were better and purer at the beginning of our conversions than we are after many years of professing our faith.
Our (spiritual) fervor and progress should increase daily, but now it is regarded as something great it we retain even some part of our first zeal.
If we would force ourselves forward even a little at the beginning, we would be able to do all things after that with ease and delight.
It is hard to lay aside those things to which we are accustomed, but it is harder to go against our own wills.
But if we do not overcome small and easy things, how will we overcome harder things?
In the very beginning, resist those things you still want to do and unlearn evil habits, otherwise they will draw you little by little into greater difficulty.
Oh, if you thought carefully about how much inward peace you would bring to yourself and joy to others, I think you would be more careful of your spiritual progress.