FIRST keep peace
with yourself; then you will be able to bring peace to others. A peaceful man does more good than a learned
man. Whereas a passionate
man turns even good to evil
and is quick to believe evil, the peaceful man, being good himself, turns all things to good.
The man who is at perfect ease is never suspicious
, but the disturbed and discontented
spirit is upset by many a suspicion. He neither rests himself nor permits others to do so. He often says what ought not to be said and leaves undone what ought to be done. He is concerned
with the duties of others but neglects his own.
Direct your zeal
, therefore, first upon yourself; then you may with justice
exercise it upon those about you. You are well versed in coloring
your own actions with excuses
which you will not accept from others, though it would be more just to accuse yourself and excuse your brother
. If you wish men to bear with you, you must bear with them. Behold, how far you are from true charity
which does not know how to be angry with anyone, or to be indignant save only against self!
It is no great thing to associate with the good and gentle, for such association is naturally pleasing
. Everyone enjoys a peaceful life and prefers persons of congenial
habits. But to be able to live at peace with harsh
men, or with the undisciplined
and those who irritate us, is a great grace, a praiseworthy and manly
Some people live at peace with themselves and with their fellow men, but others are never at peace with themselves nor do they bring it to anyone else. These latter are a burden
to everyone, but they are more of a burden to themselves. A few, finally, live at peace with themselves and try to restore it to others.
Now, all our peace in this miserable
life is found in humbly enduring suffering rather than in being free from it. He who knows best how to suffer will enjoy the greater peace, because he is the conqueror
of himself, the master of the world, a friend of Christ
, and an heir of heaven
From "The Imitation of Christ" by Thomas A Kempis