Challoner’s Reflection on The Imitation of Christ1
BOOK THREE: INTERNAL CONSULTATION
CHAPTER LIV.: The Different Motions of Nature and Grace
According to the doctrine of the great apostle, St. Paul, we have in us two laws which oppose each other: the law of the flesh which puts us under the bondage of sin, and the law of the spirit, which keeps us in subjection by the aid of the grace which Jesus Christ has merited for us. Divided between those two laws, we are, on this earth, floating, as it were, between good and evil, between God and the world; urged on towards the one by nature, attracted towards the other by grace, which never entirely abandons even the greatest sinners. What will become of our poor souls when subjected to this terrible struggle? How much must they tremble when looking forward to the results of this terrible warfare! St. Paul says: this is the reason that every creature groaneth and is in labour, even till now; and we also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption of the sons of God, he redemption of our body (Romans 8:22, 23). Happy day! And when will it dawn? When shall we taste the delicious peace of an unchangeable love?
I beseech Thee, O my God, through Jesus Christ, thy Son, to send me thy Holy Spirit, if 1 am not so happy as to possess Him; or else to preserve Him, if I have received Him; to the end that his grace may accomplish the work which it has begun; that it may change me from a carnal into a spiritual man; that it may divest me of the old, in order to clothe me with the new man; that it may be the rule and principle of all my thoughts, my desires, my words, and my actions; that it may surmount corrupt nature; that its visits, its lights, its impulses, may enlighten, inflame, animate, and actuate me; that the interior man may be daily more and more reformed, until he conform, as far as possible, to thy divine image; and that he may be found pure, spotless, and without reproach, when Thou shalt think proper to call him before Thee. Amen.
- Right Rev. R. Challoner, D.D., V.A., Imitation of Christ, Dublin: McGlashan and Gill, 1873 ↩