The Fifty-Seventh Chapter: A Man Should Not Be Too Downcast When He Falls Into Defects

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
BOOK THREE: INTERNAL CONSOLATION

The Fifty-Seventh Chapter: A Man Should Not Be Too Downcast When He Falls Into Defects


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, patience and humility in adversity are more pleasing to Me than much consolation and devotion when things are going well.

Why are you saddened by some little thing said against you? Even if it had been more you ought not to have been affected. But now let it pass. It is not the first, nor is it anything new, and if you live long it will not be the last. Continue reading

The Fifty-Sixth Chapter: We Ought to Deny Ourselves and Imitate Christ Through Bearing the Cross

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
BOOK THREE: INTERNAL CONSOLATION

The Fifty-Sixth Chapter: We Ought to Deny Ourselves and Imitate Christ Through Bearing the Cross


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, the more you depart from yourself, the more you will be able to enter into Me. As the giving up of exterior things brings interior peace, so the forsaking of self unites you to God. I will have you learn perfect surrender to My will, without contradiction or complaint.

Follow Me. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Without the Way, there is no going. Without the Truth, there is no knowing. Without the Life, there is no living. I am the Way which you must follow, the Truth which you must believe, the Life for which you must hope. I am the inviolable Way, the infallible Truth, the unending Life. I am the Way that is straight, the supreme Truth, the Life that is true, the blessed, the uncreated Life. If you abide in My Way you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free, and you shall attain life everlasting. Continue reading

The Fifty-Fifth Chapter: The Corruption of Nature and the Efficacy of Divine Grace

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
BOOK THREE: INTERNAL CONSOLATION

The Fifty-Fifth Chapter: The Corruption of Nature and the Efficacy of Divine Grace


The Disciple

O LORD, my God, Who created me to Your own image and likeness, grant me this grace which You have shown to be so great and necessary for salvation, that I may overcome my very evil nature that is drawing me to sin and perdition. For I feel in my flesh the law of sin contradicting the law of my mind and leading me captive to serve sensuality in many things. I cannot resist the passions thereof unless Your most holy grace warmly infused into my heart assist me.

There is need of Your grace, and of great grace, in order to overcome a nature prone to evil from youth. For through the first man, Adam, nature is fallen and weakened by sin, and the punishment of that stain has fallen upon all mankind. Thus nature itself, which You created good and right, is considered a symbol of vice and the weakness of corrupted nature, because when left to itself it tends toward evil and to baser things. The little strength remaining in it is like a spark hidden in ashes. That strength is natural reason which, surrounded by thick darkness, still has the power of judging good and evil, of seeing the difference between true and false, though it is not able to fulfill all that it approves and does not enjoy the full light of truth or soundness of affection. Continue reading

The Fifty-Fourth Chapter: The Different Motions of Nature and Grace

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
BOOK THREE: INTERNAL CONSOLATION

The Fifty-Fourth Chapter: The Different Motions of Nature and Grace


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, pay careful attention to the movements of nature and of grace, for they move in very contrary and subtle ways, and can scarcely be distinguished by anyone except a man who is spiritual and inwardly enlightened. All men, indeed, desire what is good, and strive for what is good in their words and deeds. For this reason the appearance of good deceives many.

Nature is crafty and attracts many, ensnaring and deceiving them while ever seeking itself. But grace walks in simplicity, turns away from all appearance of evil, offers no deceits, and does all purely for God in whom she rests as her last end. Continue reading

The Fifty-Third Chapter: God’s Grace Is Not Given to the Earthly Minded

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
BOOK THREE: INTERNAL CONSOLATION

The Fifty-Third Chapter: God’s Grace Is Not Given to the Earthly Minded


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, my grace is precious. It does not allow itself to be mixed with external things or with earthly consolations. Cast away all obstacles to grace, therefore, if you wish to receive its infusion.

Seek to retire within yourself. Love to dwell alone with yourself. Seek no man’s conversation, but rather pour forth devout prayer to God that you may keep your mind contrite and your heart pure. Continue reading

The Fifty-Second Chapter: A Man Ought Not to Consider Himself Worthy of Consolation, But Rather Deserving of Chastisement

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
BOOK THREE: INTERNAL CONSOLATION

The Fifty-Second Chapter: A Man Ought Not to Consider Himself Worthy of Consolation, But Rather Deserving of Chastisement


The Disciple

LORD, I am not worthy of Your consolation or of any spiritual visitation. Therefore, You treat me justly when You leave me poor and desolate. For though I could shed a sea of tears, yet I should not be worthy of Your consolation. Hence, I deserve only to be scourged and punished because I have offended You often and grievously, and have sinned greatly in many things. In all justice, therefore, I am not worthy of any consolation.

But You, O gracious and merciful God, Who do not will that Your works should perish, deign to console Your servant beyond all his merit and above human measure, to show the riches of Your goodness toward the vessels of mercy. For Your consolations are not like the words of men. Continue reading

The Fifty-First Chapter: When We Cannot Attain to the Highest, We Must Practice the Humble Works

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
BOOK THREE: INTERNAL CONSOLATION

The Fifty-First Chapter: When We Cannot Attain to the Highest, We Must Practice the Humble Works


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, you cannot always continue in the more fervent desire of virtue, or remain in the higher stage of contemplation, but because of humanity’s sin you must sometimes descend to lower things and bear the burden of this corruptible life, albeit unwillingly and wearily. As long as you wear a mortal body you will suffer weariness and heaviness of heart. You ought, therefore, to bewail in the flesh the burden of the flesh which keeps you from giving yourself unceasingly to spiritual exercises and divine contemplation.

In such condition, it is well for you to apply yourself to humble, outward works and to refresh yourself in good deeds, to await with unshaken confidence My heavenly visitation, patiently to bear your exile and dryness of mind until you are again visited by Me and freed of all anxieties. For I will cause you to forget your labors and to enjoy inward quiet. I will spread before you the open fields of the Scriptures, so that with an open heart you may begin to advance in the way of My commandments. And you will say: the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the future glory which shall be revealed to us. Continue reading

The Fiftieth Chapter: How a Desolate Person Ought to Commit Himself Into the Hands of God

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
BOOK THREE: INTERNAL CONSOLATION

The Fiftieth Chapter: How a Desolate Person Ought to Commit Himself Into the Hands of God


The Disciple

LORD God, Holy Father, may You be blessed now and in eternity. For as You will, so is it done; and what You do is good. Let Your servant rejoice in You–not in himself or in any other, for You alone are true joy. You are my hope and my crown. You, O Lord, are my joy and my honor.

What does Your servant possess that he has not received from You, and that without any merit of his own? Yours are all the things which You have given, all the things which You have made. Continue reading

The Forty-Ninth Chapter: The Desire of Eternal Life; the Great Rewards Promised to Those Who Struggle

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
BOOK THREE: INTERNAL CONSOLATION

The Forty-Ninth Chapter: The Desire of Eternal Life; the Great Rewards Promised to Those Who Struggle


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, when you feel the desire for everlasting happiness poured out upon you from above, and when you long to depart out of the tabernacle of the body that you may contemplate My glory without threat of change, open wide your heart and receive this holy inspiration with all eagerness. Give deepest thanks to the heavenly Goodness which deals with you so understandingly, visits you so mercifully, stirs you so fervently, and sustains you so powerfully lest under your own weight you sink down to earthly things. For you obtain this not by your own thought or effort, but simply by the condescension of heavenly grace and divine regard. And the purpose of it is that you may advance in virtue and in greater humility, that you may prepare yourself for future trials, that you may strive to cling to Me with all the affection of your heart, and may serve Me with a fervent will.

My child, often, when the fire is burning the flame does not ascend without smoke. Likewise, the desires of some burn toward heavenly things, and yet they are not free from temptations of carnal affection. Therefore, it is not altogether for the pure honor of God that they act when they petition Him so earnestly. Such, too, is often your desire which you profess to be so strong. For that which is alloyed with self-interest is not pure and perfect. Continue reading

The Forty-Eighth Chapter: The Day of Eternity and the Distresses of This Life

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
BOOK THREE: INTERNAL CONSOLATION

The Forty-Eighth Chapter: The Day of Eternity and the Distresses of This Life


The Disciple

O MOST happy mansion of the city above! O most bright day of eternity, which night does not darken, but which the highest truth ever enlightens! O day, ever joyful and ever secure, which never changes its state to the opposite! Oh, that this day shine forth, that all these temporal things come to an end! It envelops the saints all resplendent with heavenly brightness, but it appears far off as through a glass to us wanderers on the earth. The citizens of heaven know how joyful that day is, but the exiled sons of Eve mourn that this one is bitter and tedious.

The days of this life are short and evil, full of grief and distress. Here man is defiled by many sins, ensnared in many passions, enslaved by many fears, and burdened with many cares. He is distracted by many curiosities and entangled in many vanities, surrounded by many errors and worn by many labors, oppressed by temptations, weakened by pleasures, and tortured by want. Continue reading