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

The Forty-Seventh Chapter: Every Trial Must Be Borne for the Sake of Eternal Life

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

The Forty-Seventh Chapter: Every Trial Must Be Borne for the Sake of Eternal Life


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, do not let the labors which you have taken up for My sake break you, and do not let troubles, from whatever source, cast you down; but in everything let My promise strengthen and console you. I am able to reward you beyond all means and measure.

You will not labor here long, nor will you always be oppressed by sorrows. Wait a little while and you will see a speedy end of evils. The hour will come when all labor and trouble shall be no more. All that passes away with time is trivial. Continue reading

The Forty-Sixth Chapter: Trust in God Against Slander

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

The Forty-Sixth Chapter: Trust in God Against Slander


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, stand firm and trust in Me. For what are words but words? They fly through the air but hurt not a stone. If you are guilty, consider how you would gladly amend. If you are not conscious of any fault, think that you wish to bear this for the sake of God. It is little enough for you occasionally to endure words, since you are not yet strong enough to bear hard blows.

And why do such small matters pierce you to the heart, unless because you are still carnal and pay more heed to men than you ought? You do not wish to be reproved for your faults and you seek shelter in excuses because you are afraid of being despised. But look into yourself more thoroughly and you will learn that the world is still alive in you, in a vain desire to please men. For when you shrink from being abased and confounded for your failings, it is plain indeed that you are not truly humble or truly dead to the world, and that the world is not crucified in you. Continue reading

The Forty-Fifth Chapter: All Men Are Not to Be Believed, for It Is Easy to Err in Speech

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

The Forty-Fifth Chapter: All Men Are Not to Be Believed, for It Is Easy to Err in Speech


The Disciple

GRANT me help in my needs, O Lord, for the aid of man is useless. How often have I failed to find faithfulness in places where I thought I possessed it! And how many times I have found it where I least expected it! Vain, therefore, is hope in men, but the salvation of the just is in You, O God. Blessed be Your name, O Lord my God, in everything that befalls us.

We are weak and unstable, quickly deceived and changed. Who is the man that is able to guard himself with such caution and care as not sometimes to fall into deception or perplexity? He who confides in You, O Lord, and seeks You with a simple heart does not fall so easily. And if some trouble should come upon him, no matter how entangled in it he may be, he will be more quickly delivered and comforted by You. For You will not forsake him who trusts in You to the very end. Continue reading

The Forty-Fourth Chapter: Do Not Be Concerned About Outward Things

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

The Forty-Fourth Chapter: Do Not Be Concerned About Outward Things


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, there are many matters of which it is well for you to be ignorant, and to consider yourself as one who is dead upon the earth and to whom the whole world is crucified. There are many things, too, which it is well to pass by with a deaf ear, thinking, instead, of what is more to your peace. It is more profitable to turn away from things which displease you and to leave to every man his own opinion than to take part in quarrelsome talk. If you stand well with God and look to His judgment, you will more easily bear being worsted.

The Disciple Continue reading

The Forty-Third Chapter: Beware Vain and Worldly Knowledge

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

The Forty-Third Chapter: Beware Vain and Worldly Knowledge


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, do not let the fine-sounding and subtle words of men deceive you. For the kingdom of heaven consists not in talk but in virtue. Attend, rather, to My words which enkindle the heart and enlighten the mind, which excite contrition and abound in manifold consolations. Never read them for the purpose of appearing more learned or more wise. Apply yourself to mortifying your vices, for this will benefit you more than your understanding of many difficult questions.

Though you shall have read and learned many things, it will always be necessary for you to return to this one principle: I am He who teaches man knowledge, and to the little ones I give a clearer understanding than can be taught by man. He to whom I speak will soon be wise and his soul will profit. But woe to those who inquire of men about many curious things, and care very little about the way they serve Me. Continue reading

The Forty-Second Chapter: Peace is Not to Be Placed in Men

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

The Forty-Second Chapter: Peace is Not to Be Placed in Men


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, if you place your peace in any creature because of your own feeling or for the sake of his company, you will be unsettled and entangled. But if you have recourse to the ever-living and abiding Truth, you will not grieve if a friend should die or forsake you. Your love for your friend should be grounded in Me, and for My sake you should love whoever seems to be good and is very dear to you in this life. Without Me friendship has no strength and cannot endure. Love which I do not bind is neither true nor pure.

You ought, therefore, to be so dead to such human affections as to wish as far as lies within you to be without the fellowship of men. Man draws nearer to God in proportion as he withdraws farther from all earthly comfort. And he ascends higher to God as he descends lower into himself and grows more vile in his own eyes. He who attributes any good to himself hinders God’s grace from coming into his heart, for the grace of the Holy Spirit seeks always the humble heart. Continue reading

The Forty-First Chapter: Contempt for All Earthly Honor

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

The Forty-First Chapter: Contempt for All Earthly Honor


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, do not take it to heart if you see others honored and advanced, while you yourself are despised and humbled. Lift up your heart to Me in heaven and the contempt of men on earth will not grieve you.

The Disciple Continue reading

The Fortieth Chapter: Man Has No Good in Himself and Can Glory in Nothing

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

The Fortieth Chapter: Man Has No Good in Himself and Can Glory in Nothing


The Disciple

LORD, what is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You visit him? What has man deserved that You should give him Your grace? What cause have I, Lord, to complain if You desert me, or what objection can I have if You do not do what I ask? This I may think and say in all truth: “Lord, I am nothing, of myself I have nothing that is good; I am lacking in all things, and I am ever tending toward nothing. And unless I have Your help and am inwardly strengthened by You, I become quite lukewarm and lax.”

But You, Lord, are always the same. You remain forever, always good, just, and holy; doing all things rightly, justly, and holily, disposing them wisely. I, however, who am more ready to go backward than forward, do not remain always in one state, for I change with the seasons. Yet my condition quickly improves when it pleases You and when You reach forth Your helping hand. For You alone, without human aid, can help me and strengthen me so greatly that my heart shall no more change but be converted and rest solely in You. Hence, if I knew well how to cast aside all earthly consolation, either to attain devotion or because of the necessity which, in the absence of human solace, compels me to seek You alone, then I could deservedly hope for Your grace and rejoice in the gift of new consolation. Continue reading

The Thirty-Ninth Chapter: A Man Should Not Be Unduly Solicitous About His Affairs

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

The Thirty-Ninth Chapter: A Man Should Not Be Unduly Solicitous About His Affairs


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, always commit your cause to Me. I will dispose of it rightly in good time. Await My ordering of it and it will be to your advantage.

The Disciple Continue reading