Challoner’s Reflection on The Imitation of Christ1
BOOK THREE: INTERNAL CONSULTATION
CHAPTER LIII.: God’s Grace Is Not Given to the Earthly Minded
We cannot serve at the same time God and the world: and the Christian life consists in freeing ourselves from the slavery of the world, in order to acquire the liberty of the glory of the children of God (Romans 8:21). Now, grace combats in us for God, against corrupt nature, which draws us towards the world; a terrible conflict, from which one never comes forth a victor except by dying to himself, to his thoughts, to his tastes, to his inclinations; and the death of the body, which for ever terminates the struggle between nature and grace, is the final victory of the Christian; which made St. Paul cry out: who shall deliver me from the body of this death (Romans 7:24). Let us practise ourselves therefore in dying; let us detach ourselves entirely from the earth and from all the things of the earth; let us detach ourselves from ourselves, and live only in God, of God, and for God. What do we seek for outside of Him? Does He not contain all good in Himself?
Thou, O Lord, alone canst change me from an exterior and sensual into an interior and spiritual man; Thou alone canst pour down on the objects I love, a salutary bitterness, in order to detach me from them; Thou alone canst make me adhere entirely to Thee, by making me see and relish how sweet Thou art to such as fear, and still more to such as love Thee. Grant me this favour, O my Lord and my God, and I will quietly wait in profound peace for that most happy moment, which will unite and attach me entirely to Thee for all eternity. Amen.
- Right Rev. R. Challoner, D.D., V.A., Imitation of Christ, Dublin: McGlashan and Gill, 1873 ↩