“There are three things which chiefly destroy peace–(1) pride…(2) anger…(3) any kind of iniquity…He who desires in this present life to have peace with God, with himself and with his neighbor, and the peace of eternity for the future, must avoid these three stumbling blocks.” –From “Sermon in a Sentence: A Treasury of Quotations on the Spiritual Life; Vol. 5: St. Thomas Aquinas”; pg 78. Selected and Arranged by John P. McClernon.
Pride destroys our peace very quickly. We become discontent with presenting ourselves as we really are and puff ourselves up into something we are not. This destroys our peace with God because pride is a sin–we lose His grace and even His friendship by being prideful. We forget our proper place before our Creator–humble, trembling, trusting. Pride destroys our proper disposition toward God and this destroys our peace with Him.
Anger very quickly destroys peace. When we are angry we forget charity very often. Typically our anger is directed towards our neighbor, which leads us to break the 2nd most important commandment–that of loving our neighbor as ourselves. Anger causes us to forget reason and lash out, whether in thought, word or deed, against our neighbor. Unless it is holy anger, this is not justified. Holy anger is when we are angry because someone or something is in place or being done which offends God, and we are able to do something about it. It was holy anger which led Our Lord to throw the money-changers out of the temple. But in most cases, our anger comes from self-love, not from love of God or neighbor. We strike out because we feel we have been wronged. This destroys our peace between our neighbor and ourselves. It puts enmity between us and causes other sins to arise.
Iniquity most obviously causes us to lose peace with God, because sin offends God and causes us to lose His graces and friendship. It also causes chaos within ourselves. Any stain on the conscience weighs on us and causes us grief and distress. But when we are in the state of grace, our conscience does not reproach us, and we are at peace with ourselves.
Each of these three stumbling blocks cause us to lose peace with God, our neighbor, and ourselves. Pray always to keep away from them and thus preserve that peace which Our Lord gives us, and that only He can give when He heals our wounds of sin!