09 June 2007

"Inordinate Affections" -- Wisdom Sunday

This week's installment of Wisdom Sunday comes from Book One, Chapter Six of Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

When a man desires a thing too much, he at once becomes ill at ease. A proud and avaricious man never rests, whereas he who is poor and humble of heart lives in a world of peace. An unmortified man is quickly tempted and overcome in small, trifling evils; his spirit is weak, in a measure carnal and inclined to sensual things; he can hardly abstain from earthly desires. Hence it makes him sad to forego them; he is quick to anger if reproved. Yet if he satisfies his desires, remorse of conscience overwhelms him because he followed his passions and they did not lead to the peace he sought.

True peace of heart, then, is found in resisting passions, not in satisfying them. There is no peace in the carnal man, in the man given to vain attractions, but there is peace in the fervent and spiritual man.

It is necessary in this day and age to be sure to point out that Brother à Kempis did not say the poor live in a world of peace. He said the "poor and humble" live in a world of peace. He is contrasting the "poor and humble" with the "proud and avaricious". The lives of the economically poor are not, by virtue of their poverty, filled with peace.


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James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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