"No other path to peace"
A priest or religious is obligated to pray the Liturgy of the Hours or “the Office” several times every day – morning, daytime, evening, and at night. It consists mostly of psalms, prayers, and readings. The following is from today's Office of Readings and is a timely reflection for us, especially with regard to the comments under Saturday's post. It is taken from the teachings of St. Dorotheus, abbot:
“Let us examine, my brothers, how it happens that many times a person hears something unpleasant and goes away untroubled, as if he had not heard it; and yet on some occasions he is disturbed and troubled as soon as he hears such words. What is the cause of this inconsistency? Is there one reason for it or many? I recognize a number of them, and one in particular is the source of all the others. As someone has put it: Occasionally this results from the condition in which the person happens to be.
If a person is engaged in prayer or contemplation, he can easily take a rebuke from his brother and be unmoved by it. On other occasions affection toward a brother is a strong reason; love bears all things with the most patience. Another reason may be contempt; if a person despises the one who is trying to trouble him and acts as if he is the viliest of all creatures and considers it beneath his dignity even to look at him, or to answer him, or to mention the affront and insults to anyone else, he will not be moved by his words.
The result of this, as I have said, that no one is disturbed or troubled if he scorns and disregards what is said. But on the other hand, it is also possible that a person will be disturbed and troubled by his brother’s words, either because he is not in a good frame of mind, or because he hates his brother. There are a great number of other reasons as well. Yet the reason for all disturbance, if we look to its roots, is that no one finds fault with himself.
This is the source of all annoyance and distress. This is why we sometimes have no rest. We must not be surprised when we are rebuked by holy men. We have no other path to peace but this.
We have seen that this is true in many cases, and, in our laziness and desire for rest, we hope or believe that we have entered upon a straight path when we are impatient with everyone, and yet cannot bear to blame ourselves.
This is the way we are. It does not matter how many virtues a man may have, even if they are beyond number and limit. If he has turned from the path of self-accusation, he will never find peace. He will always be troubled himself, or else he will be a source of trouble for others and all his labors will be wasted."