The peace of the virtuous in contrast with the torment and anxiety of the wicked

November 14, 2021 • 3 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 200

The condition of the wicked which we have been considering will enable us by contrast to set a true value on the peace of the just.

Knowing how to moderate their appetites and passions, they do not seek their happiness in the pleasures of this life, but in God alone.

The end of their labors is not to acquire the perishable goods of this world, but the enduring treasures of eternity.

They wage unceasing war upon their sensual appetites, and thus keep them entirely subdued.

They are resigned to God’s will in all the events of their lives, and, therefore, experience no rebellion of their will or appetites to disturb their interior peace.

This is one of the principal rewards which God has promised to virtue. “Much peace have they that love Thy law, and to them there is no stumbling-block.” [Ps. cxviii. 165.]

“Oh! that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments; thy peace had been as a river, and thy justice as the waves of the sea.” [Isaias. xlviii. 18.]

Peace is here represented by the prophet under the figure of a river, because it extinguishes the fire of concupiscence, moderates the ardor of our desires, fertilizes the soil of our heart, and refreshes our soul.

Solomon no less clearly asserts this same truth: “When the ways of man shall please the Lord, He will convert even his enemies to peace.” [Prov. xvi. 7.]

He will convert his enemies, the sensual appetites and passions, to peace, and by the power of grace and habit He will subject them to the spirit.

Virtue meets with much opposition in its first efforts against the passions, but as it begins to be perfected this opposition ceases and its course becomes calm and peaceful.

The truth of this is most keenly realized by the just in their practices of piety. They cannot but contrast their present peace with the restless fears and jealousies to which they were a prey when they served the world.

Now that they have given themselves to God and placed all their confidence in Him, none of these alarms can reach them. Their calm resignation to His will has wrought such a change in them that they can hardly believe themselves the same beings. In truth, grace has transformed them by creating in them new hearts.

Can we, then, be surprised that such souls enjoy a peace which, the Apostle says, surpasses all understanding?

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