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

The Thirty-Eighth Chapter: The Right Ordering of External Affairs; Recourse to God in Dangers

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

The Thirty-Eighth Chapter: The Right Ordering of External Affairs; Recourse to God in Dangers


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, you must strive diligently to be inwardly free, to have mastery over yourself everywhere, in every external act and occupation, that all things be subject to you and not you to them, that you be the master and director of your actions, not a slave or a mere hired servant. You should be rather a free man and a true Hebrew, arising to the status and freedom of the children of God who stand above present things to contemplate those which are eternal; who look upon passing affairs with the left eye and upon those of heaven with the right; whom temporal things do not so attract that they cling to them, but who rather put these things to such proper service as is ordained and instituted by God, the great Workmaster, Who leaves nothing unordered in His creation.

If, likewise, in every happening you are not content simply with outward appearances, if you do not regard with carnal eyes things which you see and hear, but whatever be the affair, enter with Moses into the tabernacle to ask advice of the Lord, you will sometimes hear the divine answer and return instructed in many things present and to come. For Moses always had recourse to the tabernacle for the solution of doubts and questions, and fled to prayer for support in dangers and the evil deeds of men. So you also should take refuge in the secret chamber of your heart, begging earnestly for divine aid. Continue reading

The Thirty-Seventh Chapter: Pure and Entire Resignation of Self to Obtain Freedom of Heart

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

The Thirty-Seventh Chapter: Pure and Entire Resignation of Self to Obtain Freedom of Heart


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, renounce self and you shall find Me. Give up your own self-will, your possessions, and you shall always gain. For once you resign yourself irrevocably, greater grace will be given you.

The Disciple Continue reading

The Thirty-Sixth Chapter: The Vain Judgments of Men

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

The Thirty-Sixth Chapter: The Vain Judgments of Men


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, trust firmly in the Lord, and do not fear the judgment of men when conscience tells you that you are upright and innocent. For it is good and blessed to suffer such things, and they will not weigh heavily on the humble heart that trusts in God rather than in itself. Many men say many things, and therefore little faith is to be put in them.

Likewise, it is impossible to satisfy all men. Although Paul tried to please all in the Lord, and became all things to all men, yet he made little of their opinions. He labored abundantly for the edification and salvation of others, as much as lay in him and as much as he could, but he could not escape being sometimes judged and despised by others. Therefore, he committed all to God Who knows all things, and defended himself by his patience and humility against the tongues of those who spoke unjustly or thought foolish things and lies, or made accusations against him. Sometimes, indeed, he did answer them, but only lest his silence scandalize the weak. Continue reading

The Thirty-Fifth Chapter: There is No Security from Temptation in This Life

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

The Thirty-Fifth Chapter: There is No Security from Temptation in This Life


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, in this life you are never safe, and as long as you live the weapons of the spirit will ever be necessary to you. You dwell among enemies. You are subject to attack from the right and the left. If, therefore, you do not guard yourself from every quarter with the shield of patience, you will not remain long unscathed.

Moreover, if you do not steadily set your heart on Me, with a firm will to suffer everything for My sake, you will not be able to bear the heat of this battle or to win the crown of the blessed. You ought, therefore, to pass through all these things bravely and to oppose a strong hand to whatever stands in your way. For to him who triumphs heavenly bread is given, while for him who is too lazy to fight there remains much misery. Continue reading

The Thirty-Fourth Chapter: God is Sweet Above All Things and in All Things to Those Who Love Him

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

The Thirty-Fourth Chapter: God is Sweet Above All Things and in All Things to Those Who Love Him


The Disciple

BEHOLD, my God and my all! What more do I wish for; what greater happiness can I desire? O sweet and delicious word! But sweet only to him who loves it, and not to the world or the things that are in the world.

My God and my all! These words are enough for him who understands, and for him who loves it is a joy to repeat them often. For when You are present, all things are delightful; when You are absent, all things become loathsome. It is You Who give a heart tranquillity, great peace and festive joy. It is You Who make us think well of all things, and praise You in all things. Without You nothing can give pleasure for very long, for if it is to be pleasing and tasteful, Your grace and the seasoning of Your wisdom must be in it. What is there that can displease him whose happiness is in You? And, on the contrary, what can satisfy him whose delight is not in You? Continue reading

The Thirty-Third Chapter: Restlessness of Soul–Directing Our Final Intention Toward God

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

The Thirty-Third Chapter: Restlessness of Soul–Directing Our Final Intention Toward God


The Voice of Christ

MY CHILD, do not trust in your present feeling, for it will soon give way to another. As long as you live you will be subject to changeableness in spite of yourself. You will become merry at one time and sad at another, now peaceful but again disturbed, at one moment devout and the next indevout, sometimes diligent while at other times lazy, now grave and again flippant.

But the man who is wise and whose spirit is well instructed stands superior to these changes. He pays no attention to what he feels in himself or from what quarter the wind of fickleness blows, so long as the whole intention of his mind is conducive to his proper and desired end. For thus he can stand undivided, unchanged, and unshaken, with the singleness of his intention directed unwaveringly toward Me, even in the midst of so many changing events. And the purer this singleness of intention is, with so much the more constancy does he pass through many storms. Continue reading