Peace and progress. It seems the latter is dependent upon the former. If we wish to make progress in life, we must be at peace. The restless man is capable of very little because his thoughts are scattered, his attention divided. The peaceful man, on the contrary, can accomplish anything. The peaceful man can make tremendous progress with his life, and we would do well to imitate him.
How can we obtain peace? “We might have much peace if we would not busy ourselves with the sayings and doings of others and with things which belong not to us. How can he remain long in peace who entangles himself with other people’s cares…”? Thomas à Kempis, right on the mark yet again.
Another element of obtaining peace? “The whole and greatest hindrance is, that we are not free from passions and lusts…” So we must, “lay the axe to the root that, being purged from passions, we may possess a quiet mind.”
Excellent advice, but quite a daunting task. Our passions and lusts are wildly out of control, and it will take nothing less than the miracle of God’s grace to tame them. Thankfully, à Kempis provides some encouragement. “If every year we rooted out one vice we should soon become perfect men.”
Peace and progress, then, go hand in hand. We should not seek one at the expense of the other, but rather view them as a package deal. Begin to grow and make progress in our spiritual lives, and peace will come. Begin to root out vices and discover peace, and great strides of progress will follow. Start today, don’t delay. Lay the axe to the root. It’s a new year, and there has never been a better one for rooting out vices.