Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Of the small number of the lovers of the cross. The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis. Book 2, Chapter 11

Chapter 11: Of the small number of the lovers of the cross
Jesus hath many lovers of His heavenly kingdom, but few bearers of
His Cross. He hath many seekers of comfort, but few of
tribulation. He findeth many companions of His table, but few of
His fasting. All desire to rejoice with Him, few are willing to
undergo anything for His sake. Many follow Jesus that they may
eat of His loaves, but few that they may drink of the cup of His
passion. Many are astonished at His Miracles, few follow after
the shame of His Cross. Many love Jesus so long as no
adversities happen to them. Many praise Him and bless Him, so
long as they receive any comforts from Him. But if Jesus hide
Himself and withdraw from them a little while, they fall either
into complaining or into too great dejection of mind.
But they who love Jesus for Jesus’ sake, and not for any
consolation of their own, bless Him in all tribulation and
anguish of heart as in the highest consolation. And if He should
never give them consolation, nevertheless they would always
praise Him and always give Him thanks.
Oh what power hath the pure love of Jesus, unmixed with any
gain or love of self! Should not all they be called mercenary
who are always seeking consolations? Do they not prove
themselves lovers of self more than of Christ who are always
seeking their own gain and advantage? Where shall be found one
who is willing to serve God altogether for nought?
Rarely is any one found so spiritual as to be stripped of all
selfish thoughts, for who shall find a man truly poor in spirit
and free of all created things? “His value is from afar, yea
from the ends of the earth.” A man may give away all his goods,
yet that is nothing; and if he do many deeds of penitence, yet
that is a small thing; and though he understand all knowledge,
yet that is afar off; and if he have great virtue and zealous
devotion, yet much is lacking unto him, yea, one thing which is
the most necessary to him of all. What is it then? That having
given up all things besides, he give up himself and go forth from
himself utterly, and retain nothing of self-love; and having done
all things which he knoweth to be his duty to do, that he feel
that he hath done nothing. Let him not reckon that much which
might be much esteemed, but let him pronounce himself to be in
truth an unprofitable servant, as the Truth Himself saith, When
ye have done all things that are commanded you, say, we are
unprofitable servants.[Luke 17:10] Then may he be truly poor and naked in
spirit, and be able to say with the Prophet, As for me, I am poor
and needy.[Psalm 25:16] Nevertheless, no man is richer than he, no man
stronger, no man freer. For he knoweth both how to give up
himself and all things, and how to be lowly in his own eyes.

No comments:

Post a Comment