“He who knows how to suffer will enjoy much peace, and he is a conqueror of himself, the lord of the world, the friend of Christ, and an heir of heaven.” (IC 2,3,3) | “I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. The Lord GOD is my help, therefore I am not disgraced” (Is 50:6-7A)

Kempis closes chapter three of his second book with the words above.  He ties in suffering with peace to the attainment of wonderful rewards in this life and, most especially and most importantly, the next.   Inner peace comes from not being disturbed by the stubborn, perverse, undisciplined, or those who oppose us.  We are better off accusing ourselves and excusing others, thus finding true peace.

As New Testament people, we easily recognize Jesus Christ in the Suffering Servant Isaiah describes today in this last day before the Easter Triduum (Is 50:4-9a).  Why could Jesus have peace despite the mockery, harsh treatment, and torture He endured?  Because “[t]he Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced.”

Though harshly treated, he submitted

and did not open his mouth;

Like a lamb led to slaughter

or a sheep silent before shearers,

he did not open his mouth. (Is 53:7)

During His Passion and after His death, He had not a harsh word for His accusers or His brutalizers.  The Prince of Peace found perfect contentment in doing the Father’s will to the letter.

Dis-grace does not come from the outside.  Nothing anyone will do to us or has done to us can ever take away our dignity or have us lose our status as children of God.  Only we can extinguish divinity inside us by sinning gravely.  When suffering is caused by outside forces, we can be at peace because we know that “[i]f God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31).

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