Monday, March 9, 2015

That the Grace of God doth not join itself to those who mind earthly things. The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis. Book 3, Chapter 53


Chapter 53: That the Grace of God doth not join itself to those who mind earthly things.

“My Son, precious is My grace, it suffereth not itself to be
joined with outward things, nor with earthly consolations.
Therefore thou oughtest to cast away all things which hinder
grace, if thou longest to receive the inpouring thereof. Seek a
secret place for thyself, love to dwell alone with thyself,
desire the conversation of no one; but rather pour out thy devout
prayer to God, that thou mayest possess a contrite mind and a
pure conscience. Count the whole world as nought; seek to be
alone with God before all outward things. For thou canst not be
alone with Me, and at the same time be delighted with transitory
things. Thou oughtest to be separated from thy acquaintances and
dear friends, and keep thy mind free from all worldly comfort.
So the blessed Apostle Peter beseecheth, that Christ’s faithful
ones bear themselves in this world as strangers and pilgrims.[1 Peter 2:11]
“Oh how great a confidence shall there be to the dying man
whom no affection to anything detaineth in the world? But to
have a heart so separated from all things, a sickly soul doth not
yet comprehend, nor doth the carnal man know the liberty of the
spiritual man. But if indeed he desire to be spiritually minded,
he must renounce both those who are far off, and those who are
near, and to beware of no man more than himself. If thou
perfectly conquer thyself, very easily shalt thou subdue all
things besides. Perfect victory is the triumph over oneself.
For whoso keepeth himself in subjection, in such manner that the
sensual affections obey the reason, and the reason in all things
obeyeth Me, he truly is conqueror of himself, and lord of the
“If thou desire to climb to this height, thou oughtest to
start bravely, and to lay the axe to the root, to the end that
thou mayest pull up and destroy the hidden inordinate inclination
towards thyself, and towards all selfish and earthly good. From
this sin, that a man loveth himself too inordinately, almost
everything hangeth which needeth to be utterly overcome: when
that evil is conquered and put under foot, there shall be great
peace and tranquillity continually. But because few strive
earnestly to die perfectly to themselves, and do not heartily go
forth from themselves, therefore do they remain entangled in
themselves, and cannot be raised in spirit above themselves. But
he who desireth to walk at liberty with Me must of necessity
mortify all his evil and inordinate affections, and must cling to
no creature with selfish love.”

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