Tuesday, November 18, 2014

That the desires of the heart are to be examined and governed. The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis. Book 3, Chapter 11


Chapter 11: That the desures of the heart are to be examined and governed.

“My Son, thou hast still many things to learn, which thou hast
not well learned yet.”
What are they, Lord?
“To place thy desire altogether in subjection to My good
pleasure, and not to be a lover of thyself, but an earnest seeker
of My will. Thy desires often excite and urge thee forward; but
consider with thyself whether thou art not more moved for thine
own objects than for My honour. If it is Myself that thou
seekest, thou shalt be well content with whatsoever I shall
ordain; but if any pursuit of thine own lieth hidden within thee,
behold it is this which hindereth and weigheth thee down.
“Beware, therefore, lest thou strive too earnestly after some
desire which thou hast conceived, without taking counsel of Me;
lest haply it repent thee afterwards, and that displease thee
which before pleased, and for which thou didst long as for a
great good. For not every affection which seemeth good is to be
forthwith followed; neither is every opposite affection to be
immediately avoided. Sometimes it is expedient to use restraint
even in good desires and wishes, lest through importunity thou
fall into distraction of mind, lest through want of discipline
thou become a stumbling-block to others, or lest by the
resistance of others thou be suddenly disturbed and brought to
“Sometimes, indeed, it is needful to use violence, and
manfully to strive against the sensual appetite, and not to
consider what the flesh may or not will; but rather to strive
after this, that it may become subject, however unwillingly, to
the spirit. And for so long it ought to be chastised and
compelled to undergo slavery, even until it be ready for all
things, and learn to be contented with little, to be delighted
with things simple, and never to murmur at any inconvenience.”

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